LEXINGTON, Ohio – It took Austin Cindric 54 attempts to win his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race, but it only took him one attempt to win his second.
Cindric, fresh off his first Xfinity Series victory last weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Int’l, dominated Saturday’s B&L Transport 170 for his second series victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Cindric started the race from the pole in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang and led a race-high 47 laps, but had to battle his way back into the lead after a late-race caution period and subsequent pit stop.
With 19 laps left Scott Heckert spun into a tire barrier in turn nine, forcing officials to call for a full-course caution period while Cindric was the leader. Cindric led most of the field down pit road in search of fresh tires.
Cindric was the first competitor off pit road, but he lined up fourth for the subsequent restart behind the cars of Regan Smith, Will Rodgers and Chase Briscoe, all of whom didn’t pit.
During the restart Briscoe was quickly able to take the lead while Christopher Bell, who had chased Cindric most of the day, managed to get by him on the restart. Bell and Cindric quickly dispatched Smith and Rodgers and they began their pursuit of Briscoe.
With 14 laps left Cindric was able to get past Bell for second and he quickly turned his attention to dispatching Briscoe. He did so with 13 laps left, driving around the outside of Briscoe in turn two to take the lead at the exit of the corner.
Once out front Cindric proceeded to check out from the field, pulling away to a more than three second victory ahead of Bell at the checkered flag.
The victory carried extra significance for the 20-year-old, whose grandparents on his mother’s side purchased the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1982. The track remained in Cindric’s family for nearly 30 years before being sold in 2011.
“It feels so good,” Cindric said in victory lane. “This is awesome for PPG, this is an important event for those guys. Thank you to Ford Performance, everybody at the shop. These guys are the best, thank you for bringing me a great car again this year. I’m having so much fun. Hell of a job to Christopher Bell. He did a great job keeping me honest all day.”
Bell, who does not consider himself much of a road course racer, has now finished second in the last two road course events at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio.
“I’m just really thankful to be able to drive for this Rheem group. They bring really, really fast Supras to the race track every single time,” Bell said. “They make me look good, that’s for sure.”
A.J. Allmendinger finished third, followed by Tyler Reddick and Noah Gragson.
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