Penske Perfect: Austin Cindric wins Indy Xfinity road course race
INDIANAPOLIS - Penske Perfect isn’t just a slogan. It’s a way of doing things for car owner/track owner Roger Penske. Saturday, it was the apt way to describe the results of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race and NTT IndyCar Series race.
A few hours after Team Penske won the IndyCar race with Will Power, Team Penske’s Austin Cindric won the Xfinity race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track Penske also owns.
“I can’t even put into words what it means to win at Indianapolis,” Cindric told NBCSN’s Dave Burns.
Penske will look for the weekend sweep in Sunday’s Cup race (1 p.m. ET on NBC) with drivers Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Cindric and Matt DiBenedetto, who has a Penske contract while driving for the Wood Brothers. Sunday’s race will be the first time the Cup Series has raced on Indy’s 2.439-mile road course.
Cindric finished 2.108 seconds ahead of AJ Allmendinger. Justin Haley finished third and was followed by Chase Elliott, driving in place of Michael Annett, and Noah Gragson.
Cindric serenaded his team on the radio by singing “Back Home Again in Indiana,” the song traditionally played before the Indianapolis 500.
Cindric, the reigning series champion and current points leader, led 29 of the 62 laps to score his fifth victory of the season and 13th of his Xfinity career.
Riley Herbst won the first stage and finished eighth. That was enough to move him to 12th in the points and take the final playoff spot from Annett, who missed two races last month because of a stress fracture in his right leg that required surgery and then missed Saturday’s race as he continues to recover. Herbst leads Annett by 10 points with five races left in the regular season.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Haley
STAGE 2 WINNER: AJ Allmendinger
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Justin Haley (third) is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all six Xfinity road course races this season. ... Chase Elliott got the call around 8 a.m. Saturday that he was needed to replace Michael Annett for the day. Elliott qualified 25th and finished fourth.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones, Kevin Harvick and Brandon Brown were among the cars that hit the turtle (high curb) in Turn 6 and damaged their cars. Jones could not continue and finished last in the 36-car field. Harvick went to the garage for repairs. Burton continued with a wounded car and would up ninth. Brown also could not continue and placed 34th. Brown entered the race 45 points behind Michael Annett for the final playoff spot and looked to gain several points with Annett sitting out the race because of the lingering effects of surgery on his leg. Instead, Annett gained one point. NASCAR announced after the race that it would remove the curbing for Sunday’s Cup race.
NOTABLE: Sage Karam, who ran in this year’s Indianapolis 500, finished 26th in his Xfinity Series debut.
NEXT: The series races Aug. 21 at Michigan International Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
Pissed off, the blank #68 was a fast piece but now it’s a paperweight... oh well. I don’t think circle tracks have curbs— Brandon Brown (@brandonbrown_68) August 14, 2021