Austin Cindric Breakdown
A late-race bump and traffic jam robbed Austin Cindric of a top-10 finish in the Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park.
As the 160-lap event entered its closing stages, Cindric, who started fifth, was in position to score a well-deserved top-10 finish. The driver of the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150 lined up in the eighth position for the final restart on lap 152 with the benefit of fresher tires than his fellow competitors.
Cindric had made his final scheduled stop of the race under green on lap 135 and crew chief Doug Randolph made the strategic decision to change four tires. All they needed now was one more caution to bunch up the field and give Cindric a chance to utilize his tire advantage.
They got their wish on lap 149 when the third and final caution slowed the pace. Cindric lined up eighth for the final restart on lap 153, but contact with another competitor one lap later moved him up the track and shuffled him back to 13th place. Cindric immediately recovered and rallied back up to the eighth position by the final lap of the race. Unfortunately, he came up on the short end of a three-wide battle for position within sight of the checkered flag, crossing the finish line in 11th place.
Chase Briscoe Breakdown
Chase Briscoe did everything but take home the trophy in Saturday night’s Drivin’ For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Briscoe won the pole (his second of the 2017 season), led the most laps (88 of 160) and scored his first stage win of the season. The driver of Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation Ford F-150 came up just short once again, scoring a second-place finish and earning Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors for the third time this season.
After taking the green flag from the point position, Briscoe quickly settled into second for the duration of the first 35-lap stage. Briscoe reported to interim crew chief Buddy Sisco that his No. 29 Ford F-150 was really good in Turns 1 and 2, but free in and tight center off in Turns 3 and 4. Sisco called his rookie driver to pit road, and a fast stop for two tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment put Briscoe back in the lead for the start of Stage 2. Briscoe led the second stage from flag to flag (laps 40-73) in dominating fashion, earning his first stage win of the season and a valuable playoff point.
Briscoe said his truck had fired off loose in Turns 3 and 4, but had tightened up by the end of the run. Sisco called for four tires, fuel and another minor adjustment, and Briscoe returned to the track in the fourth position on lap 78. It was not long before Briscoe reclaimed the lead on lap 81, and the rookie driver led the next 54 circuits, until he made a green-flag, fuel-only pit stop. Briscoe returned to the track in second place, and slipped to third before the final yellow flag of the night was displayed on lap 149. Briscoe told his crew chief that he didn’t know if he could beat the two trucks in front of him on old tires, so the team made a bold decision to pit for four tires. He lined up 13th for the final eight-lap dash to the finish. The fresh tires allowed Briscoe to work his way all the way up to second place, but he was unable to claim the final position needed to visit Victory Lane.