Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
Race: Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
Date: October 9, 2021
No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 25th
Stage 2: 11th
Laps Completed: 68/68
Laps Led: 22
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 2nd (-6)
- Austin Cindric scored a second-place finish Saturday afternoon at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. Cindric grabbed his fifth top-five in seven road course races this season and his 18th in 29 starts. The driver of the Menards/Richmond Ford now has three top-five finishes in four starts on the 2.32-mile course, nicknamed the ROVAL. Cindric also led the most laps and enters in the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs second in the driver standings, six points behind leader AJ Allmendinger.
- Starting from the pole, Cindric led the first seven laps of the race before he missed the backstretch chicane. He quickly recovered and was in second position behind leader Daniel Hemric. Crew chief Brian Wilson went with a different pit strategy than Hemric and the other leaders, calling Cindric to pit road on lap 18 for four tires, fuel, and a round wedge to tighten up the loose handling Mustang. Cindric returned to the track and was credited with a 25th-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 20.
- Cindric remained on the track during the stage caution when other leaders chose to pit for tires, moving him into the lead when the race went green on lap 22. He remained the leader through two cautions and one brief red flag delay for track repair. Wilson called Cindric to pit road for four fresh tires and adjustments to once again tightening up the loose handing Menards/Richmond Mustang before the race went green on lap 37. Cindric restarted 20th with three laps remaining in Stage 2 and climbed up to 11th-place when the segment ended on lap 40.
- Cindric once again remained on the track during the stage caution and restarted third on lap 42. The Mooresville N.C. native got squeezed out of line on the restart, slipping to the fourth position. He was leading an entertaining five-car battle for second position as the race neared its conclusion. But the seventh and final caution on lap 65 pushed the finish into NASCAR Overtime. Cindric restarted as the runner up for the final dash but spun his tires on the restart. He briefly fell to fourth position but battled back on the final lap, passing both Ty Gibbs and Sam Mayer to finish second at the checkered flag.
Quote: "I spun my tires like crazy on that last restart. I was worried about that, but I didn't think it was going to be that bad. I feel like I could have tried a second gear restart. I think that would have helped me out at least maintaining some track position, but it was just not meant to be today. I think we set a fast lap time and got a good finish, so that sets us up well for Texas. I just wish we could have taken advantage of getting a playoff point."