BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Austin Cindric celebrated his birthday in style by winning Sunday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Cindric, who turned 19 on Saturday, started from the pole in the No. 19 Ford fielded by Brad Keselowski Racing and clearly had the fastest truck all day.
He led every lap of the first stage and led most of the second stage, but he was penalized for removing equipment from his pit box during a green flag pit stop on lap 32 when he left the pit box with his gas can still attached to the truck.
That forced Cindric to work his way back through the field during the final stage, which began with 20 laps left in the 64-lap event. Cindric restarted the race in 16th while at the front Kaz Grala was able to use a phenomenal restart to go from fourth to first in the first few corners.
The caution flag waved shortly thereafter when the Toyota engine in Christopher Bell’s truck expired. By then Cindric had already moved up to ninth as Grala held the race lead.
Racing resumed with 15 laps left and Grala held the lead during the restart as Justin Haley moved into second. Behind them there was mayhem as Noah Gragson, John Hunter Nemechek, Johnny Sauter and Parker Kligerman went four-wide in a battle for third, with Gragson emerging with the position.
That four-wide battle allowed Cindric to go from ninth on the restart all the way up to fifth as Grala pulled out to a comfortable lead. That comfortable lead was quickly erased with 13 laps left when the No. 13 truck of Cody Coughlin came to a stop in the mud just off the track on the Mario Andretti Straight, forcing NASCAR officials to call for a caution flag.
That set up the final restart with nine laps left. Grala was the race leader ahead of Haley and Gragson, with Cindric moving up to fourth just prior to the caution flag.
When the green flag waved Grala got a great restart as Gragson moved around Haley to take second. Cindric faded briefly to fifth, but was able to get back to fourth at turn five before setting his sights on Grala, Gragson and Haley.
Cindric soon caught and dispatched Haley as Grala began to inch away from Gragson in second. With six laps left Cindric was closing rapidly on Gragson and caught him through the final corners. Cindric used his bumper to get under Gragson out of the final corner and get a run down the frontstretch. The two banged wheels, but Cindric was able to clear Gragson for second entering turn one.
Now Cindric had a new target, the leading Chevrolet piloted by Grala. Cindric went to work with five laps left in an effort to make up the second difference between them. Each lap Cindric was faster than Grala and he slowly made up ground, finally catching him as they passed under the white flag.
At turn three Cindric looked to make a move on Grala, but Grala held serve and kept the lead. Cindric wasn’t going to be denied and as the pair raced towards turn five Cindric made contact with the bumper of Grala’s Chevrolet, sending Grala’s truck spinning as Cindric drove by and into the lead.