Track: Martinsville Speedway
Race: Dead On Tools 250
Date: October 30, 2021
No. 22 Carquest Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 1st - 12th stage win of 2021
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 257/257
Laps Led: 64
Point Standings (behind first): 2nd (-0) - Clinched a spot in the Championship 4
- Austin Cindric and the Carquest team did exactly what was needed Saturday night at Martinsville Speedway to race for their second consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series title - and came close to grabbing a victory on the final lap of the race. Cindric started on the pole, won the first stage, locked into Championship 4 during Stage 2, and finished .064 seconds (about half a car length) behind Noah Gragson in Saturday night's Dean On Tools 250. He racked up his 21st top-five finish of the season and posted his best result in three Martinsville starts.
- The starting lineup was once again set per the NASCAR rulebook, which gave Cindric the first starting position. The driver of the Carquest Ford Mustang reported that his car's balance was free at the beginning of a run. Most of the leaders chose to pit during the third caution on lap 49 but Cindric remained on track and went on to win the opening segment of the race, his 12th stage victory. Crew chief Brian Wilson called his driver to pit road during the stage caution for four tires and Cindric restarted 17th on lap 68.
- By lap 90 the No. 22 Mustang was back inside the top-10. Cindric reported that his Carquest Ford needed to fire off better but did exactly what he needed to do during Stage 2. He officially clinched a spot in the Championship 4 with a fifth-place finish when Stage 2 concluded on lap 120. Cindric, only needing five more points scored a fifth-place finish. Cindric pitted during the stage caution for four tires plus an air pressure adjustment and restarted fourth on lap 130.
- The final stage was slowed by eight cautions plus one red flag for track cleanup. The final two yellow flags push the conclusion into NASCAR Overtime. On the last restart, Cindric lined up on the front row outside of race leader Noah Gragson. On the final lap, Cindric dove inside Gragson between Turns 3 and 4, briefly pulling even off the final corner but was edged out for the win by just .064 seconds (about half a car length).
Quote: "We actually had to re-establish our track position after stage one with all of those cars flipping stages, so almost got a chance to win the race there. It's tough when you're trying to race for a championship. Noah earned it and he deserved it. I think a couple more laps and the 22 car would be in Victory Lane. I really wanted to get the win today, but excited to go next week and have some fun. I've said it throughout the year last year and throughout the year this year, making the Champ 4 is the hardest thing you can do in a national series and at Phoenix in the final race it's about having your best day. We have the opportunity to go do that and have some fun."