Cindric earns overtime victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Shady Rays 200 at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday night, July 9th.
Austin Cindric won a two-lap overtime duel at Kentucky Speedway racing door-to-door with his good friend and former teammate Chase Briscoe to earn his career-first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory on an oval track.
Cindric, who led 41 laps on the night, ultimately finished 0.952-seconds ahead of rookie Riley Herbst and Ross Chastain to take the victory in Saturday’s Shady Rays 200, the first of a doubleheader week that includes a second Xfinity Series Kentucky race, the Alsco 300 on Friday night.
Championship Leader Challenges for the Win
Briscoe, who started on the inside of Cindric on a restart in overtime, pulled ahead briefly, but Cindric’s No. 22 Penske Racing Ford rallied back by, and he rode off to his first victory of 2020, securing a ticket to the Xfinity Series Playoffs. The win marks a record eighth time, in the 14 races this season that the pass for victory came in the final two laps.
“Thank you, FINALLY,” an exuberant Cindric screamed into his team radio after passing under the checkered flag.
“We’ve come so close all year, these guys have given me so many awesome cars,” Cindric told the FS1 broadcast.
“I’m pumped. This is awesome. I’d love to be able to come back and enjoy another performance like that tomorrow night. All the credit to my guys for getting me here.”
The Top Ten
Briscoe, a five-race winner, and the Xfinity Series championship leader, finished fourth, followed by Michael Annett, Anthony Alfredo finished sixth, followed by Justin Haley, Kyle Weatherman, Ryan Sieg, and Brett Moffitt. It was a career-best finish for Weatherman.
JR Motorsports Gragson and Allgaier
Noah Gragson, who led a race-best 88 of the 136 laps and for the first time in his career, swept the opening two stage wins, finished 11th. He and JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier were running among the top-five on the restart and were poised to challenge for the trophy, but they made contact racing hard on the 1.5-mile high-banked oval, and it cost them both better finishes. Allgaier was involved in an accident on the last lap and finished 20th.
Briscoe, who led five laps and ran among the top-five for most of the night, solidified his championship lead but insisted the race was a true challenge for his No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing team.
“Thought we were gonna have a chance [to win] on both restarts but that last one just got real loose, but overall felt like this was our worst night of the year from the speed and balance standpoint and we were still able to race Austin for the win and end up fourth,” Briscoe said.
Cindric, who was elated with the victory – dramatically planting the checkered flag in the infield – joked about having to hold off Briscoe.
“I love the guy but he’s won enough, geez” Cindric joked of Briscoe, who passed him last weekend for victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
“Those restarts were a lot tougher than I was thinking they would be,” he said, adding, “I’m just so happy. Thank you to [team owner] Roger [Penske]. I believe this is a championship team.”
Xfinity Series Kentucky Doubleheader
Friday night’s race will feature a partial inversion of Thursday night’s finishing order. The top-15 finishers will start in reverse order, which puts rookie Myatt Snider on the pole for the Alsco 300.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Shady Rays 200
Thursday, July 9, 2020
1. (12) Austin Cindric, Ford, 136.
2. (23) Riley Herbst #, Toyota, 136.
3. (2) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 136.
4. (7) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 136.
5. (4) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 136.
6. (11) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 136.
7. (9) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 136.
8. (30) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 136.
9. (8) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 136.
10. (13) Brett Moffitt(i), Chevrolet, 136.
11. (1) Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 136.
12. (20) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 136.
13. (31) Joe Graf Jr #, Chevrolet, 136.
14. (14) Jesse Little #, Chevrolet, 136.
15. (28) Myatt Snider #, Chevrolet, 136.
16. (32) Chad Finchum, Toyota, 136.
17. (5) Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 136.
18. (17) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 136.
19. (22) Ronnie Bassett Jr, Chevrolet, Accident, 135.
20. (10) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 135.
21. (33) Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, Accident, 135.
22. (27) Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, 135.
23. (34) Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 134.
24. (16) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 134.
25. (25) Kody Vanderwal #, Chevrolet, 134.
26. (18) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 133.
27. (19) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 132.
28. (26) Mason Massey, Toyota, 130.
29. (24) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, Suspension, 129.
30. (35) Matt Mills, Toyota, 122.
31. (15) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, Brakes, 120.
32. (21) Colby Howard, Chevrolet, Accident, 119.
33. (36) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 54.
34. (3) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, Accident, 45.
35. (29) Stephen Leicht, Toyota, Electrical, 21.
36. (6) Brandon Jones, Toyota, Accident, 0.
The Shady Rays 200 Stats
Average Speed of Race Winner: 109.759 mph.
Time of Race: One Hr, 51 Mins, 31 Secs. The Margin of Victory: Under Caution Seconds.
Caution Flags: Nine for 40 laps.
Lead Changes: Six among four drivers.
Lap Leaders: N. Gragson 1-33;C. Briscoe 34-37;N. Gragson 38-91;J. Haley 92-94;A. Cindric 95-133;C. Briscoe 134;A. Cindric 135-136.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Noah Gragson two times for 87 laps; Austin Cindric two times for 41 laps; Chase Briscoe two times for five laps; Justin Haley one time for three laps.
Stage 1 Top-Ten: 9,20,22,10,21,1,11,7,39,02
Stage 2 Top-Ten: 9,22,98,10,18,7,1,39,68,21