Track: Auto Club Speedway
Race: Production Alliance Group 300
Date: February 29, 2020
No. 22 Odyssey Battery Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 150/150
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-18)
- Austin Cindric and the No. 22 Odyssey Battery team rebounded from a late unscheduled pit stop to score a third-place finish in the Production Alliance Group 300 Saturday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway. Cindric racked up his second consecutive finish of third-place or better this season. He claimed his best finish and first top-five in three races at Auto Club Speedway and moved up to third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings, 18 points behind leader Harrison Burton.
- Cindric started seventh in the No. 22 Mustang and as the first stage progressed communicated to crew chief Brian Wilson that he was lacking rear lateral grip. He was credited with an eighth-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 35. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 38 for four tires and fast service by the No. 22 crew moved Cindric up to fifth for the restart on lap 42.
- The Mooresville, N.C., native briefly fell to eighth but fought his way back to finish fifth when Stage 2 concluded on lap 70. All 35 laps of the segment ran caution free and Cindric restarted fifth when the third and final stage went green on lap 76.
- Stage 3 was punctuated by six cautions, three before the field came to pit road on lap 93. Thanks to a variety of pit strategies among the leaders, Cindric was shuffled back to ninth when the race went green on lap 96 of the 150-lap race.
- The driver of the Odyssey Battery Ford Mustang narrowly avoided disaster on lap 98. Noah Gragson hit the wall on the backstretch and clipped the right-rear of the No. 22 Mustang, causing only minor cosmetic damage. Cindric restarted eighth on lap 101 and made a power move to grab third position. The seventh caution slowed the pace on lap 110 and was costly for Cindric who made an unscheduled stop just before the race went green on lap 113, which shuffled him back to 20th position.
- Over the final 37 laps, Cindric rallied his way back into contention. He was up to 14th before the eighth and final yellow slowed the pace on lap 127. He restarted 10th with 19 laps to go and used another bold move on the restart to grab third position. He raced Riley Herbst hard for second position in the closing laps but couldn’t find a way around his rival, settling for a third-place finish when the race ended on lap 150.
Quote: “I couldn't be prouder of my Odyssey Battery Ford Mustang team from where we started the weekend to where we finished this afternoon. It’s great to continue the consistency. I think our Mustang was capable of winning, especially with some of the attrition there at the end. Execution kind of bit us today. I had to get brave on some restarts. Sometimes you just need track position. We just needed a few more laps.”