Austin Cindric Makes History with Victory at Daytona Road Course

Austin Cindric makes history in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, UNOH 188 on Saturday afternoon on the Daytona Road Course.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 15: Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series UNOH 188 at Daytona International Speedway on August 15, 2020, in Daytona Beach, Florida. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Austin Cindric makes history in the NASCAR Xfinity Series UNOH 188 on Saturday afternoon on the Daytona Road Course.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Austin Cindric’s summer of dominance continued Saturday afternoon in the inaugural UNOH 188 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course.

The Top-Ten

Cindric, 22, of Mooresville, N.C., earned his fifth victory in the last six races. His No. 22 Team Penske Ford was pulling away to a hefty 7.108-second win over Brandon Jones’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. That impressive ultimate margin of victory, however, is not indicative of the action-packed debut on Daytona’s famed road course.

Noah Gragson recovered from an off-course excursion early in the race while leading the field to finish third. He was able to maintain a perfect record of top-ten finishes in every Xfinity Series road course event he’s competed in. AJ Allmendinger and Andy Lally, both road course experts, finished fourth and fifth.

Jeremy Clements, Sunoco rookies Riley Herbst and Harrison Burton, veteran Justin Allgaier and rookie Myatt Snider round out the top-ten in well-earned, masterful drives to the finish.

Allgaier versus Allmendinger

Allgaier and Allmendinger had words on pit road after the race. Allmendinger spun Allgaier out of a top-five finish in the closing laps and was apologetic. Allgaier, one of the series-best road course racers, approached Allmendinger after the race and shared his displeasure.

With no practice or qualifying and most of the competitors in the race completely new to the 3.61-mile, 14-turn course, the race was a steady dose of high-speed how-do-you-do. From over-ambitious restarts to simply missing corners figuring out this brand-new competitive experience, there was action from green to checkered flags.

Austin Cindric Makes History

“I’m not sure anyone was really all that happy with their race cars you know, unfortunately, I have the perspective of driving really fast race cars at this track,” said Cindric, who has competed in three Rolex 24 at Daytona IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship races on the road course.

“It’s a great credit to my team, MoneyLion, and the guys. … That’s five wins on the year obviously back-to-back now. I didn’t feel like I drove my best today but we executed there at the end when it counts and that’s what makes these races so difficult to win.

Cindric, who led 22 of the 52 total laps, led the opening 16 laps of the race to earn the Stage 1 win and bookended the work by leading the last five laps to claim his seventh career Xfinity Series victory. His five wins (and a second-place) in the last six races ties a record held by the legendary Sam Ard set back in 1983.

Cindric versus Briscoe

His chief rival, as has been the case all season, was fellow Ford driver Chase Briscoe. Briscoe led a race-best 26 laps on Saturday. Cindric and Briscoe put on a master class of road course dueling, particularly in the second stage, with Briscoe, also a five-race winner in 2020, earning the green-and-white checkered flag in that sprint.

Their battle, at times contentious, continued late in the race until Briscoe was collected in a multi-car restart melee, with eight laps remaining. Briscoe’s No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford suffered too much damage to continue, and he was scored 29th for his worst finish of the year.

Kaulig Racing Drivers

Similarly, another two of the Xfinity Series championship contenders, Kaulig Racing teammates Justin Haley and Ross Chastain, simultaneously suffered race-ending issues – Haley with an off-course excursion and Chastain, a mechanical issue. They finished 36th (Chastain) and 38th (Haley) – their worst finishes of the season as well.

The Xfinity Series Point Standings

With seven races remaining to set the 12-driver NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff field, Cindric, Briscoe, Gragson, Jones, Burton, and Haley have assured their chances at a title with victories.

Brandon Brown, who suffered a tough 34th-place finish on Saturday, holds the final 12th place transfer position in the driver standings but is only 28 points up on Saturday’s sixth-place finisher Jeremy Clements in 13th.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – UNOH 188

Daytona International Speedway Road Course

Daytona Beach, Florida

Saturday, August 15, 2020

               1. (1)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 52.

               2. (10)  Brandon Jones, Toyota, 52.

               3. (3)  Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 52.

               4. (11)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 52.

               5. (6)  Andy Lally, Chevrolet, 52.

               6. (18)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 52.

               7. (15)  Riley Herbst #, Toyota, 52.

               8. (9)  Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 52.

               9. (17)  Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 52.

               10. (27)  Myatt Snider #, Chevrolet, 52.

               11. (8)  Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 52.

               12. (19)  Josh Bilicki, Toyota, 52.

               13. (22)  Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 52.

               14. (34)  Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, 52.

               15. (7)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 52.

               16. (32)  Jade Buford, Chevrolet, 52.

               17. (26)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 52.

               18. (24)  Jesse Little #, Chevrolet, 52.

               19. (30)  Scott Heckert, Toyota, 52.

               20. (33)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 52.

               21. (21)  Stephen Leicht, Toyota, 52.

               22. (36)  Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 52.

               23. (31)  Kody Vanderwal #, Chevrolet, 52.

               24. (14)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 52.

               25. (20)  Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 52.

               26. (25)  Joe Graf Jr #, Chevrolet, 51.

               27. (16)  Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 50.

               28. (37)  Brandon Gdovic, Toyota, Accident, 47.

               29. (2)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, Accident, 46.

               30. (35)  Bobby Reuse, Toyota, 46.

               31. (12)  Preston Pardus, Chevrolet, Accident, 45.

               32. (28)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 43.

               33. (29)  Earl Bamber, Chevrolet, Accident, 41.

               34. (13)  Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, Axle, 40.

               35. (38)  Harold Crooms, Toyota, Brakes, 36.

               36. (4)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 34.

               37. (23)  Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, Accident, 14.

               38. (5)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, Suspension, 11.

The UNOH 188 Stats

Average Speed of Race Winner:  81.894 mph.

Time of Race:  Two Hrs, 17 Mins, 32 Secs. The Margin of Victory:  7.108 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  Seven for eight laps.

Lead Changes:  Seven among six drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Cindric 1-16;N. Gragson 17;C. Briscoe 18-31;J. Bilicki 32;C. Briscoe 33-44;B. Currey(i) 45;B. Jones 46-47;A. Cindric 48-52.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Chase Briscoe two times for 26 laps; Austin Cindric two times for 21 laps; Brandon Jones one time for two laps; Bayley Currey(i) one time for one lap; Noah Gragson one time for one lap; Josh Bilicki one time for one lap.

Stage 1 Top Ten: 22,9,07,18,21,7,98,68,1,02

Stage 2 Top Ten: 98,22,20,16,02,36,21,19,7,18

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