Austin Cindric Captures First Oval Victory at Kentucky Speedway Featured

Thursday, Jul 09 351
Austin Cindric Captures First Oval Victory at Kentucky Speedway Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

On Thursday night, the drivers of the NASCAR Xfinity Series kicked off a packed weekend of racing at Kentucky Speedway. After 134 laps and one NASCAR Overtime, it was Austin Cindric winning his first race of the year in the Shady Rays 200. 

The field was set by random draw and Noah Gragson drew the pole position for the fourth time since NASCAR returned from the COVID-19 break.

Before the cars rolled off the grid, Anthony Alfredo had steering problems in his Richard Childress Racing entry; he was able to fix the problem and keep his starting position of 11th.

Lap one brought the first caution out as Jeb Burton lost control of his car in turn two, collecting Brandon Jones. For the second time in the last three races, Jones’ day was done on the opening lap.

When they went back green, Gragson and Austin Cindric put a three second gap on third place before the competition caution on lap 15.

After an aggressive move for the lead by Cindric with seven laps to go in the first stage went wrong, he fell back to third. Gragson used Cindric’s mistake to his advantage and led every lap in the stage leading to his sixth stage win of the season

Stage One:

  1. Noah Gragson
  2. Harrison Burton
  3. Austin Cindric
  4. Ross Chastain
  5. Anthony Alfredo
  6. Michael Annett
  7. Justin Haley
  8. Justin Allgaier
  9. Ryan Sieg
  10. Brett Moffitt

 

Chase Briscoe, who pitted under the competition caution, stayed out during the stage break and led the field to green in the second stage. 

Gragson got the jump on the restart, passing Briscoe using the inside lane and leading all the way to a Stage Two victory.

Stage Two:

  1. Noah Gragson
  2. Austin Cindric
  3. Chase Briscoe
  4. Ross Chastain
  5. Riley Herbst
  6. Justin Allgaier
  7. Michael Annett
  8. Ryan Sieg
  9. Brandon Brown
  10. Anthony Alfredo

 

What started as a three car battle for the lead, turned into a two car battle when Gragson and Cindric were able to pull away from Briscoe.

In the midst of the intense battle for the lead, Justin Haley got loose underneath the No. 68 of Brandon Brown, ultimately putting Brown into the wall bringing out the fifth caution of the race. Strategy on pit road was played during this caution as Haley and Jeremy Clements took two tires while the rest of the leaders took four.

By restarting fourth, Cindric was able to start on the outside line and quickly take the lead from Haley with 39 laps to go.

On lap 102, Ross Chastain drove his car hard into turn three, getting into the side of Brett Moffitt, putting an end to the solid run Moffitt was having.

Colby Howard was the reason for the seventh caution when he lost control of his car and hit the tire barrier in turn one.

After clearing Briscoe off of turn two on the restart, Cindric looked as though he would win the race until Harrison Burton spun his No. 18 Toyota Camry around, bringing out the caution with 2 to go. This led to NASCAR Overtime.

Cindric got a big push from Justin Allgaier on the final restart which allowed him to pass Chase Briscoe and capture his first oval win of his Xfinity Series career.

When talking about his first win on an oval with FOX Sports’ Jamie Little, Cindric said, “I don't care Jamie! I don’t care what shape the track is. I don't care if it's dirt, oval, I don't care. I'm just happy this Snap-On Ford Mustang went to victory lane.”

“We've been so close all year. These guys have given me so many race winning cars.”

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is back in action tomorrow night at Kentucky Speedway again for the running of the Alsco 300. Catch all the action from Kentucky on Friday, July 10th at 8:00 EST on Fox Sports 1.

Josh Slate

Hello, my name is Josh Slate and I'm from Richmond, Virginia. I'm currently a student at Randolph-Macon College studying Communications with a minor in Journalism. I am following my dream of pursuing a career in the media side of the NASCAR industry. In my free time, I love to spend time with my family, watch sports and explore the outdoors.