Road America Xfinity practice: Austin Cindric fastest
Austin Cindric was fastest in Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series practice session at Road America.
Cindric, who won this race last year, turned a fast lap of 107.870 miles per hour around the 4-mile road course in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
RESULTS: Road America Xfinity practice
Kaulig Racing claimed the second and fourth-fastest laps with Jeb Burton (107.087 mph) and A.J. Allmendinger (107.004 mph), respectively.
JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier was third-fastest (107.019 mph). Rounding out the top five speeds was Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Hemric (106.401 mph).
Cup stars Kyle Busch (105.982 mph) and Kevin Harvick (104.956 mph) were seventh and 22nd respectively on the speed charts.
Noah Gragson, currently 10th in the Xfinity playoff standings (+80 above 13th place), suffered an engine failure on his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet to bring out the caution with around 36 minutes left in the session.
The setback continued Gragson’s run of bad luck on the road courses this season.
In February at the Daytona road course, his car failed to fire on pit road before the race and he had to start two laps down (he finished 28th). In May at Circuit of the Americas, an engine failure eliminated him after 13 laps. Most recently, in June at Mid-Ohio, he was eliminated in a first turn, first lap accident.
“It kinda sounded off, the pitch of the motor, from when we rolled out,” Gragson told NBCSN after Friday’s engine failure. “Then we ran pace laps, and then only did one lap (at speed). But I didn’t miss any shifts or anything. It’s just pretty frustrating.
“I don’t know what to say. It’s been a rough season.”
Riley Herbst also had his practice cut short. Shortly after JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer went off in the Kink at Turn 11, Herbst did the same thing.
Unlike Mayer, however, Herbst sustained serious damage to his No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford when it got in the wall. As a result, the team had to bring out the backup car.
“I was just hustling it and got too much, obviously,” Herbst told NBCSN. “Gotta start in a backup car at the back of the race tomorrow. Hopefully, we can work our way to the front and get some points.”
Herbst is currently 14th in the Xfinity playoff standings, 66 points behind 12th-place Jeremy Clements for the final playoff spot.
Xfinity Series qualifying begins Saturday at 11:35 p.m. ET on TrackPass and the NBC Sports app (NBCSN will pick up coverage at Noon ET). That will set the field for the Henry 180 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.