Austin Cindric claims Xfinity victory at Indianapolis
Austin Cindric claims victory for Team Penske in Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Indianapolis Road Course.
The final stage of the race went completely green with Ty Gibbs in control for the final restart. However, Austin Cindric was quickly able to overtake him and never looked back.
Sam Mayer was battling teammate Elliott for position inside the top-five when the two came together. Mayer spun and slammed the tire barrier, but he was able to get the car off track and avoid a caution.
Allmendinger moved up to second-place as Gibbs faded, but he could not run down Cindric for the race lead.
For Cindric, it was his fifth win of the 2021 season and the 13th of his career. He led 29 of 62 laps en route to the checkered flag.
“Unbelievable," he said. "First of all, I have to thank Roger Penske for every opportunity I have had in my career and every opportunity he has given you race fans to enjoy this beautiful weekend with three race series'. How awesome is this facility now guys? It is amazing. I am so proud to be a part of this Penske family with PPG and Ford and everyone that has put so much into my career. This racetrack is so much deeper than just that with my family history and what this place means to me. I can’t even put into words what it means to win at Indianapolis.”
A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Haley, Chase Elliott, and Noah Gragson rounded out the top-five.
Austin Dillon, Myatt Snider, Riley Herbst, Harrison Burton, and Andy Lally filled out the remainder of the top-ten.
The race initially got underway with Allmendinger on pole. His time out front did not last long though as he ran wide in Turn 1, handing the race lead to teammate Haley.
The opening lap was a chaotic one as several drivers went airborne after running over the curb at the exit of Turn 6. Kevin Harvick, Brandon Jones and Harrison Burton were among those who sustained damage. Both Jones and Harvick were unable to continue.
The caution flag was then displayed as Preston Pardus stalled on track. Brandon Brown also retired from the race early, putting his playoff hopes in serious doubt.
“We all knew it (the curb) was there all weekend long, none of us hit it,” said Jones . “It’s the fact that when we just cannot see anything, you have to go off what the guy in front of you is doing. My idea and thought process was that I need to get set up to the left for that turn 7 left-hander. So we were kind of using that runoff room there. At least when I go back and look at the replay, I’m not the only one who did it. A lot of really fast race cars got destroyed in that."
NASCAR has since removed the outside orange curbing ahead of Sunday's race.
Haley continued to lead the way until Lap 15 when Cindric was able to overtake him down into Turn 1.
Late in the stage, Ryan Sieg cut down a left rear tire and forced another caution for debris. Most of the field pits, but Herbst and debutant Sage Karam led a small contingent of drivers that stayed out.
Haley quickly charged through the field in a two-lap dash to claim the stage victory ahead of Herbst, J. Burton, Cindric and Karam. Gragson, Clements, Martins, Elliott and Gibbs rounded out the top-ten.
Cindric took the lead at the start of the second stage. Gibbs and Elliott both went spinning in separate incidents in the first lap back green. Kris Wright also went airborne in a spectacular incident over the inside curbing at Turn 6.
The fourth yellow of the race flew for Austin Hill stalled on track. Gragson moved into the race lead on the restart, but only briefly as Allmendinger moved past.
Cindric and several other frontrunners chose to pit before the stage-end for better track position, which was interrupted by a caution for Will Rodgers. The yellow flag was bad timing for Justin Allgaier, who did not make it to the commitment line in time and was penalized for entering a closed pit.
The second stage ended under caution with Allmendinger taking the green and white checkered flag. He was followed by Haley, Gragson, Gibbs, Lally, Burton, Hemric, Clements, Herbst and Williams.
|21||44||Tommy Joe Martins||Chevrolet||62||2:03'57.077||1'02.274||1.515|
|24||0||Spencer Pumpelly||Chevrolet||60||2:00'43.263||2 Laps||2 Laps|
|25||07||Josh Bilicki||Chevrolet||60||2:03'02.186||2 Laps||2'18.923|
|26||31||Sage Karam||Chevrolet||59||1:59'17.868||3 Laps||1 Lap|
|27||8||Sam Mayer||Chevrolet||44||1:34'56.605||18 Laps||15 Laps|
|28||24||Will Rodgers||Toyota||37||1:16'37.114||25 Laps||7 Laps|
|29||61||Austin Hill||Toyota||27||56'02.603||35 Laps||10 Laps|
|30||26||Kris Wright||Toyota||23||49'33.591||39 Laps||4 Laps|
|31||02||Brett Moffitt||Chevrolet||21||43'25.046||41 Laps||2 Laps|
|32||39||Ryan Sieg||Chevrolet||14||31'07.958||48 Laps||7 Laps|
|33||99||Kevin Harvick||Toyota||1||2'08.516||61 Laps||13 Laps|
|34||68||Brandon Brown||Chevrolet||1||3'29.528||61 Laps||1'21.012|
|35||90||Preston Pardus||Chevrolet||1||7'10.111||61 Laps||3'40.583|
|36||19||Brandon Jones||Toyota||0||1.630||62 Laps||1 Lap|
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