Austin Cindric wins Watkins Glen Xfinity race for first career victory
Austin Cindric won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International, beating AJ Allmendinger in thrilling duel that saw the lead change multiple times on the next-to-last lap before Cindric pulled away.
Cindric passed Allmendinger coming to the white flag moments after Allmendinger forced him off track in Turn 6.
“This is awesome,” Cindric told NBC. “That was fun, man. AJ was pumped, after the race he gave me the hang loose (sign). He’s such a cool guy. It was cool to be able to race him for my first win. Feels good.”
Cindric had pit from the lead with 10 laps to go. He was in position to challenge Allmendinger with fresher tires after he passed three cars on the final restart when the field slowed to avoid a sideways Christopher Bell in the esses.
“That was nuts,” Cindric said. “I didn’t know how that was going to work out, but sometimes the path clears and you’ve got to take advantage of it and we executed all day today.”
The win comes in Cindric’s 54th career Xfinity start. It is Team Penske’s first Xfinity win since last September’s race at Darlington (28 races). Cindric, 20, is the son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric.
Allmendinger, an analyst for NBC Sports, was making his second start of the year for Kaulig Racing. He led 24 of 82 laps but his car failed post-race inspection when the No. 10 Chevrolet did not meet minimum heights. Allmendinger’s had second and third-place finishes in both of his starts vacated due to inspection failures.
With Allmendinger’s finish and Stage 2 win disqualified, the top five was revised to Cindric, Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick.
I can go into a full description of why it was low from contact early in the race on a restart. The issues we struggled with after cause track bar mount was bent and oil tank getting hung on the coil of the spring the rest of the race. But just doesnt f***ing matter. 💔💔💔💔 https://t.co/pUx2OI6yJM— AJ Allmendinger (@AJDinger) August 3, 2019
Still when you put ur heart into a race, the team works hundreds of hours to prepare and something like this happens doesnt make it any easier. Right or wrong still breaks my heart. I had nothing left when I got out of the car and it doesnt even show as a result. Just hard. Sorry https://t.co/KM2P3LX2BJ— AJ Allmendinger (@AJDinger) August 3, 2019
STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch
STAGE 2 WINNER: Ryan Blaney
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Tyler Reddick bounced back from going off track multiple times in the race to finish fifth for his best result on a road course ... Chase Briscoe finished sixth and Noah Gragson finished ninth in their first Watkins Glen starts.
WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Ross Chastain was eliminated in a crash on the last lap of Stage 1 when he was forced off track and into a tire barrier by Justin Allgaier in retaliation. Chastain had turned Allgaier into a tire barrier on Lap 14. … Pole-sitter Kyle Busch was eliminated after suspension failure moments after he took the lead from Ryan Blaney with seven laps left in Stage 2.
NOTABLE: Cindric’s win is the first by a Team Penske driver competing for the Xfinity championship since Sam Hornish Jr. won at Las Vegas in March 2013
QUOTE OF THE RACE: “We’ve had a rocky relationship over our racing career,” Justin Allgaier said of his incidents Saturday with Ross Chastain. “Unfortunately I’ve been on the receiving end a number of times of him running into me. He flat wrecked me in the bus stop back there. At some point you just get to a point where you’re tired of getting run into. I ran back into him. I had no intention of putting him in the wall. I wanted to spin him out for sure. I wanted him to kind of have the same feeling that I had a few laps before whenever he spun me out.”
WHAT’S NEXT: B&L Transport 170 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at 3 p.m. ET Aug. 10 on NBCSN