Track: Dover International Speedway
Race: Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200
Date: October 5, 2019
No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 29
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-45 leader)
Austin Cindric and the No. 22 MoneyLion team scored a solid third-place finish in the Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway. Cindric advanced to the Round of Eight in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs after claiming his 13th top-five finish of the season. The driver of the MoneyLion Ford scored his fourth top-10 finish in four starts at Dover but scored his first top-five at the one-mile speedway on Saturday afternoon. He will begin the next round of the NASCAR Playoffs in fourth position, 45 points behind leader Christopher Bell.
The driver of the MoneyLion Mustang started his day by grabbing second-place during qualifying for the 200-lap event. Cindric passed Chase Briscoe in the initial start and led the first 26 laps. As the run progressed, the balance on the No. 22 Mustang grew tighter. Cindric was credited with third-place when Stage 1 ended on lap 45, collecting eight valuable points. Crew chief Brian Wilson made the call to pit for four tires and fuel during the stage caution. The MoneyLion pit crew responded with a quick stop, allowing Cindric to restart from the second position when the race went green on lap 51.
Stage 2 ran caution-free and the 21-year-old held firmly on to the runner-up position during the long green flag run, crossing the finish line in second position and collecting nine more points. Wilson called Cindric to pit road during the stage caution on lap 94. Another excellent stop by the No. 22 crew moved Cindric into the lead for the restart on lap 97.
He was shuffled back to third position on the restart and stayed there until scheduled green flag stops began late in the race. Cindric pitted under green on lap 165 but was caught a lap down thanks to a caution on lap 178 before all the leaders had pitted. He was seventh, one lap down but took the wave around to the tail end of the lead lap and restarted sixth on lap 185.
Cindric was up to fifth position when the sixth and final caution slowed the pace on lap 189. With only six cars on the lead lap, Wilson elected to pit once more on lap 193 for adjustments to help his driver for the short dash to the checkered flag. Cindric restarted sixth on lap 193, seven laps from the finish. Cindric sliced his way through traffic and up to third-place over the final seven green flag laps to claim his top five finish..
“We feel like we were the best car at all three races in the Round of 12 and the worst finish we had was third. I’m really proud of this MoneyLion Mustang team. I don't think we had a car capable of winning today but we got a great finish. In clean air we could hold our own but once we got behind, we were probably a third-place car and that is where we finished. I am proud of that effort and proud of the recovery late in the race.”