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XFINITY

ASHLEY ASKS…… Austin Cindric

After splitting the NASCAR Xfinity Series season between two different teams last year, Austin Cindric will enjoy the continuity of working with Team Penske every weekend in 2019. He recently shared his thoughts entering Daytona and the season, along with some other things, with POPULAR SPEED.

POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts going into Daytona?

AUSTIN CINDRIC: I’m going into it with an open mind. Obviously, it’s an incredible opportunity for me this year to be full-time with one team with MoneyLion coming on-board, which is a great plus for us. Ready to kick off the year, and hopefully on a good note to carry that momentum through the rest of the season.

PS: With the craziness of Daytona, are you planning to go after the win, no holding back, or a conservative approach?

AUSTIN: I think the biggest thing is looking into Daytona, I’ve never been finished a stock car race there. I got as close as I could last year, and I ended up flipping. So I’d like to finish a stock car race at Daytona; that’d be the first goal. That’d be the first way to get to victory lane. Secondly, I think we’re going to have a fast car and I think we’re going to be in the mix for a good spot at the end, as long as we survive through it all.

There are a lot of different ways to approach it, but for me, the closer you are to the front the safer it is, and anything past that you have to be on your toes.

NIGEL KINRADE | NKP

PS: As a whole, what are your thoughts on the upcoming season?

AUSTIN: Like I said, I come into it with an open-mind. I think the playoff run that we had was strong, and I think there’s a lot of things for me to improve on that even still. I look on building the last few races that we had together, as everything is the same – plus or minus a few people, so there’ s the continuity there so we can build off what we accomplished and apply it to the rest of the year.

I think it’s an incredible opportunity for me to contend with the best of the series sand hopefully  run for a championship.

PS: Based on the races that you were able to run last year with Team Penske, what do you feel that you need to do better this year to put together a perfect playoff run come the end of the season?

AUSTIN: I think it’s about executing races, and I feel when we got to the playoff run, we were  executing week-in-week-out as a group. So glad to see that progress after what was a pretty tough summer. Then moving into the playoffs, it was a good turn of events for us and while it didn’t go our way, I felt like we were better and plenty capable of being in the final four, and I think we’re capable of doing that this year. So it’s just about applying those things learned and being able to execute when it counts.

PS: Past Daytona, what track are you most looking forward to getting to?

AUSTIN: I’m excited for Atlanta. I always like going there. I wish we went there twice a year; I think everybody does. Moving forward, there’s a few tracks that I wish I could hit the do-over button again from last year that we had a lot of strong runs, like the road courses and Iowa (Speedway). Those are ones that are circled on my schedule just because we ran so well there and didn’t finish where we wanted to.

I’m not in particular excited for a certain track, but just excited for the next one and doing the best that we can. Every time I ran with them last year, we’ve been strong at every different type of track and been able to finish inside the top-five, big tracks and small tracks. It’s one of our strengths and I look to exploit that.

PS: Now, what track do you wish was on the schedule that currently isn’t?

MATTHEW THACKER | NKP

AUSTIN: I wish we went to Gateway and ORP. Those are two tracks that I enjoy going to. Obviously my background is more road courses than they are, but as far as ovals, I like the short ovals and short track racing. I also like some of the mile and a halves that we go to, like Atlanta. Like I said, I wish we went there twice a year.

Then again, I also like the big fast tracks like Texas and Kentucky. I know some guys have mixed reviews, but Kansas was recently repaved and now everybody is right up against the fence. I’m looking forward to seeing how Texas has played over the winter, and how that plays out.

PS: If you were in charge of NASCAR for one day, what is one change that you would make to improve the sport?

AUSTIN: That’s a pretty big question. I’m not sure I’m the one to answer that. If I was to make the sport better for one day….i think you got me with that question. I haven’t put much thought into that. I’m more of a part of the sport, not the sport kind of guy.

PS: So pretty much focus on the job at hand and let everything fall into place as it may….

AUSTIN: That’s right.

PS: Nothing wrong with that. Now, we’ve seen a lot of drivers try a bunch of different series and cars, including yourself. So what’s out there on the bucket list still?

AUSTIN: The bucket list is big. I’ve been very lucky at a young age to do a lot of different types of racing. I probably have the most diverse background when it comes to types of cars and types of tracks than other guys in the field, between rallycars, sportscars, and so on. I’ve been able to enjoy that range of experience and that has helped me a lot of in my career.

RUSSELL LABOUNTY | NKP

I think I look at races and things to do, obviously running in the (Monster Energy NASCAR) Cup Series and the Daytona 500 – those are obvious immediate goals. It’d be awesome to run the Indy 500 one day. I’ve got a lot of family history there on both sides of my family, and I’m very passionate about that race and event. I think it’d be cool to run the Baja 1000, Bathurst 1000 in V8 Supercars, 24 Hours of LeMans – you name it, I want to do it. I’m a racer, it doesn’t matter what type of car.

PS: Who was your racing hero growing up?

AUSTIN: I grew up around the IndyCar and going to the tracks with my dad (Team Penske President Tim Cindric) and rooting on Helio (Castroneves), and Gil (de Ferran), and Sam Hornish. Those guys were my heroes because they were right in front of me, would give me high-fives, would shake my hand as I grew up around the sport.

Another person I was able to grow up around is Rick Mears, and he’s been a lot of help to me in my career. Obviously, he still works for the team on the IndyCar side with spotting and offering driver advice. He’s been really cool to have in my court, and obviously super respected for what he was able to do as a driver, but also off the track. He’s been a privilege to really have a long with me for the ride.

PS: Given your racing experience to date, what is one piece of advice that you’d offer to those coming up through the ranks?

AUSTIN: I think this encompasses everything, between racing and life. There’s a lot of different things that you can learn in racing and sports that help you life, but don’t be afraid to be different. You obviously have to do the important things right and better than anybody else to the best of your ability. That’s the only way you’re going to be better than anyone which is what we’re trying to do in sports, right? The only way to do that is to be approaching it different with a different mindset.

RUSSELL LABOUNTY | NKP

That’s how you see people succeed and move forward, and differentiate themselves. For me, that’s what my career has been about – differentiating myself from drivers my age, drivers with the same goals, and putting myself into situations other people wouldn’t be in. it’s kind of a driver’s mentality and you have to start swimming, and sometimes you’re just hanging onto the fire hydrant at some stages trying to absorb as much as you can.

In some ways, it’s tough that way because you’re really under a microscope like I was last year. With that experience, I feel a lot more prepared than last year and ready to do my job because of what I learned last year in some situations. I’m excited to apply that directly, and hopefully I can show that’s what help me get here.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

OBSERVATIONS: Whelen Trusted to Perform 200 at ISM Raceway

A perfect mix of intermediate track speed and short track aggressiveness, ISM Raceway delivered with Saturday’s Whelen Trusted to Perform 200 for the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

The young stars of the series would race up front side-by-side for the lead, with their battles lasting multiple laps as drivers traded lanes and approaches towards trying to get to the front. There was even that good short track rubbing at times, with contact in places. The show displayed by Austin Cindric, John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier, and Christopher Bell in challenging for the victory deserves five stars.

Of course, the biggest star should go to Bell, and that’s not just for being the race’s eventual victor. He hasn’t made this round of the playoffs easy, wrecking on the first lap of the past two races to put himself into a hole entering ISM Raceway – a must-win essentially. On top of that, he failed pre-qualifying inspection three times, resulting in having to start from the rear of the field.

Even being a rookie in the series, he showed poise coming through the field, rather pacing himself versus trying to get everything in the first 10 laps. It may have taken him the entire first stage to get to the top-10, but that was fine as all that mattered on Saturday was the win for him.

He also displayed growth in his battles with Cindric, choosing when to stick his nose in there and back out. The decision to give up on running the outside, and then make his move on the bottom worked on two different occasions and ultimately scored him the victory. The credit extends to the team, though, as they are doing well in managing their young driver, with both crew chief Jason Ratcliff and spotter Tony Hirchman barking orders on the radio when it looked like Bell would cross that edge of control, again. 

The manta “names are made here” is used in the XFINITY Series and for good reason. It is supposed to let you know the future drivers of the sport, while giving them space to grow so they can compete with the stars of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Bell’s progression as a driver is following that perfectly, and another solid, well-thought out performance next weekend could produce a championship.

Meanwhile, it was a mistake that proved costly for Allgaier. He won the first two stages, but a slow pit stop combined with contact ultimately saw his championship chances end. After being arguably the strongest driver before the post-season with the regular season title in hand, the playoffs did not go his way from the beginning. In each of the rounds he showed the speed that allowed him to perform well, but incidents would not see him get the finishes. A surprise for a veteran of the series, and proof that sometimes luck does play a role.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Four XFINITY and Truck Series Crew Chiefs Suspended

Following the events at Bristol Motor Speedway this past weekend, four NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series crew chiefs have been suspended.

The No. 12 Ford of Austin Cindric and the No. 76 Chevrolet of Spencer Boyd were found in violation of section 10.9.10.4 of the NASCAR rulebook, meaning the lug nut(s) were not properly installed. As a result, crew chiefs Matt Swiderski and Jason Miller were fined $20,000, and suspended from the next three NASCAR XFINITY Series events. Additionally, they lost 35 regular season driver and owner points.

Additionally, the No. 22 Ford of Joey Logano was found in violation of the same rule, resulting in crew chief Brian Wilson being fined $10,000, and suspended from the next XFINITY Series event.

In the Truck Series, the No. 86 of Clay Greenfield was found in violation of section 20.3.4 of the NASCAR rulebook, which is titled “Ballast Containers Note: Loss or separation of added ballast from the vehicle,” per the penalty report. As a result, crew chief Danny Gill, truck chief Melvin Burns Jr., and mechanic William Guinade have been suspended from the next three truck events. 

Lastly, the No. 88 Toyota of Matt Crafton was found in violation of section 10.9.10.4, resulting in a $2,500 fine for crew chief Carl Joiner Jr.

Prior to these penalties, only three XFINITY Series had been suspended this year from at least one event, with no truck series suspensions. The previous XFINITY infractions were due to post-race height infractions.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Cindric Optimistic With Current Schedule

JOILET, IL — For many, running a full season with multiple teams would be a tall order to ask. For Austin Cindric it’s become normal, as throughout most of his young career he has spent time jumping from ride to ride in various series. This year, he is splitting the NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule with Team Penske and Roush Fenway Racing.

“I have been pretty accustomed to switching back forth between teams. I’m not sure I’ve done the same thing two years in-a-row, or really ever in my career, so I’ve had the great opportunity to work with a lot of different drivers in a lot of different series in a lot of different situations,” Cindric told POPULAR SPEED. “I think that’s kind of played to my advantage this year with adjusting to different crews and different personal and different methods of doing things. I think it’s a best-case scenario for me trying to get a full season in.”

For a driver who is also a rookie in the series, the situation at hand oddly provides itself as a great learning tool as he has two championship organizations to lean on during his first full season in NASCAR’s second-tier.

“It gives me a lot of perspectives, especially going back and forth between Roush and Penske,” Cindric said. “Two really successful organizations in this sport and the way they do things between each is. Nothing right or wrong, just a process you have to go through as a driver within the team is just different and to learn from both processes and to be able to pull things out that I can apply to make myself a better driver has been a great opportunity.”

Through 15 races, the 19-year-old currently sits 10th in the points standings after facing both ups (five top-10’s) and downs (five finishes outside the top-20). Despite the inconsistency though he still holds a 90-point advantage over the cutoff. While his current edge over 13th should be enough to secure himself a spot in the postseason, his focus for the rest of the regular season is to put himself an even better position for when the playoffs start in September. A process that begins with winning stages and races.

“We are trying to get playoff points with stage wins and winning races, and obviously you want to run as well as you can, but we are really looking forward to trying to get as much momentum heading into the playoffs,” Cindric said.

After making the final four last year in the Camping World Truck Series, he believes he can accomplish the same this year and maybe even follow in the footsteps of Chase Elliott and William Byron, both of whom won a championship in their rookie season.

“I think we can be a championship contender and I think with the amount I’m learning each weekend and with the cars, we’re bringing to the racetrack, I really think we can be in the final four at the end of it,” Cindric said. “It’s all just building up to the playoffs and making sure we’re as prepared as possible.”

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

OBSERVATIONS: Iowa 250 presented by Enogen

People can continually debate whether Iowa Speedway is an actual short track or not, but one thing is for certain – the track puts on a show, no matter the series visiting.

After Noah Gragson‘s thrilling move to complete Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the 0.75-mile oval was back up to it’s familiar tricks on Sunday with the NASCAR XFINITY Series. From the drop of the green flag to the checkered, the Iowa 250 presented by Enogen delivered in excitement.

Starting from 11th, Justin Allgaier made his way to the front, taking the lead from Austin Cindric. From there, he dominated by pacing 182 of 200 laps, sweeping all three stages. However, the statistics don’t say everything as he didn’t go unchallenged. 

Christopher Bell had to start from the rear of the field due to issues in pre-qualifying inspection not allowing him to post a lap during the session. He didn’t stay back there long, though, as he was back up in the top-10 by the end of the first stage, and challenging Allgaier for the lead through the second. As the pair navigated their way through lap traffic, Bell would try high and low to make the pass, getting alongside at parts but unable to complete the pass and take the top spot. The final nail in the coffin was getting in the wall coming to the white flag, but he still managed to score a second-place finish.

Cindric also played a role after capturing the pole, as he made the move three-wide for the top spot on a restart with under 50 laps to go to really get the fans on the feet. And if these battles for the lead weren’t enough, there was always something going on through the field.

The XFINITY Series has struggled with finding it’s identity, trying to separate itself by saying “names are made here,” and limiting the amount of races that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars can run. However, going to tracks like this and creating events like these with side-by-side competition will do more for the series than any of those antics. Why do you think the fans enjoy the stand-alone events?

Moving forward, the battle remains to see who will be the ones to watch for the championship.

A lot of people have looked towards JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler and Allgaier given the start to the season. Momentum should be on Allgaier’s side now that he’s back locked in the playoffs after the first win was deemed invalid to qualify for the post-season with due to a post-race infraction. 

However, you don’t have to look far to see the young talents in Cole Custer, Cindric, and Bell that will certainly keep them honest and make a challenge for the championship.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

ASHLEY ASKS…… Austin Cindric

Austin Cindric will be busy this year, but in a unique way as he will run the full NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule, but for two different teams – Roush Fenway Racing and Team Penske. 

Recently, the 19-year-old shared his thoughts going into the year, and more, with POPULAR SPEED.

POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts going into this season?

AUSTIN CINDRIC: For me, no expectations and lots to learn.

PS: Now having no expectations, though, what are your goals?

AC: I’d like to see myself at a point where we’d be in the playoffs and have a shot at contending for the championship. I’ve got a lot of smart people around me on both sides, between drivers and team personnel. For me, it’s going to be absorbing that information and making myself as quick as possible.

PS: Now, what’s it going to be like balancing between running so many races for Roush Fenway, and so many for Team Penske?

AC: For me, I’m not really much of a stranger to not having continuity. I’ve ran for a lot of different crew chiefs, and driven a lot of different cars for a lot of different teams in a lot of different platforms. So, I’ve always had the ability to build a relationship so I’m not afraid of that. I have a lot of smart people around me, like I said, in both programs so I have a lot of confidence.

PS: What track are you most excited to get to this season?

AC: I think the road courses are going to be pretty exciting. I’m going to be run at least one event for each team on the road courses, so I’m excited to do that. I look forward to those because I feel like I have a lot of fun and experience there. I’m also excited to run Darlington; I’ve never ran Darlington before. The Dash for Cash races will be exciting for XFINITY Series regular guys. I am always excited about going to Dover. Atlanta and Homestead are also good tracks to race on. I got a lot of stuff to look forward to, that’s for sure.

PS: Now, you got to open the year by running the Rolex 24 at Daytona. How was that experience for you?

AC: It was a humbling experience, not just doing the Rolex, but actually getting to do double-duty. It was neat getting a chance to race for the overall win in the prototype, and we finished in the top-six. They actually let me finish the race and get us there at the end. That was an awesome experience to have, in doing double duty, doing the 24 Hours of Daytona, as well as doing the four hour Continental race. Obviously, there were a lot of big names that ran that race, including Fernando Alonso, with Penske and the others coming back to the series. So those are some pretty neat challenges to go through and a fun way to start the year.

PS: Could you see yourself doing more racing outside of stock cars?

AC: I’d like to. With the XFINITY Series schedule, it’s pretty demanding. But when it comes to running more races, there’s obviously not a lot of wiggle room for me to find other things to do in the schedule. I’d like to run the Petite LeMan in any kind of car. I’ll be back there in the mustang in the Continental Tire race. But other than that, I’m fully committed to running this XFINITY schedule and spending all my time and resources that I can personally towards this so I don’t leave anything on the table.

PS: Touching back on the NASCAR side, what did you think of the stage racing, and will it change your strategy this year?

AC: I think, for me, personally, from experience last year in the Truck Series, we kind of got off on the wrong foot at the beginning of the year and had to go for wins right away, and never really got the stage points. That really hurt us when we got to the playoffs, and made our job 10 times harder. That’s definitely something that will be in the back of my mind this year when we go to make strategy calls and try to run for stage points. I think everybody saw what happened last year, as far as playoff racing, how valuable they are when you get there.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Cindric to Split XFINITY Schedule with Roush and Penske

Although it was originally believed that Austin Cindric would only have nine dates on his calendar for 2018, it is not the case as he will compete in all 33 NASCAR XFINITY Series events. 

As previously announced, Cindric will begin the campaign behind the wheel of the No. 60 PIRTEK Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing at Daytona International Speedway. He will then run eight more races for Jack Roush, including four of the first five.

The remaining 24 dates will be filled by either competing in the No. 12 or No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske. The schedule will include all four Dash for Cash events – Bristol, Richmond, Talladega and Dover. While there is a cash bonus up for grabs for series regulars at each of those, winning two of them gives you a ticket for the XFINITY Series playoffs. 

“Just the experience of making the final four last season and getting to race for the Truck Series Championship at Homestead for BKR (Brad Keselowski Racing) was truly special for me, but has made me determined to find a way to try and get in that position again,” Cindric said. “Now to have the opportunity to run for a Driver’s Championship this year in the XFINITY Series with both Team Penske and Roush Fenway Racing is a dream come true. I know there’s a lot left for me to learn. That being said, it puts the ball in my court because I have such an incredible and unique opportunity in front of me to be surrounded by the experience of two very successful organizations and that is all a driver can ask for. Much like last season, I feel like it may take a little time to adjust, but I’m eager to get started on that journey. I just can’t thank Roger Penske, Jack Roush and everyone with Ford Performance enough for this opportunity.”

On top of running the full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series campaign last year for Brad Keselowski Racing, Cindric made his XFINITY debut with Team Penske at Road America last season. He placed 16th after battling for the win until a cut tire late in the event. 

Team Penske also confirmed that Matt Swiderski will serve as the crew chief for the team’s No. 12 Mustang. He joins the organization after spending the past several years at Richard Childress Racing, including serving as the team’s No. 3 XFINITY crew chief last season. 

“This is a great opportunity to become a part of the winning tradition at Team Penske,” said Swiderski. “I’m really excited to team up with Austin when he’s behind the wheel of the No. 12 Ford while also working closely with (No. 22 crew chief) Brian Wilson. Our goal is to help the No. 22 team win another series Owners’ Title while working with Austin as he chases the Driver’s Championship.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Trucks

A Look Back at Brad Keselowski Racing’s Success

It seemed only fitting that Brad Keselowski Racing would complete their tenure in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in victory lane. After all, the team was very successful through the years.

Starting off with humble beginning in 2008, the organization quickly grew over the next couple of years, scoring their first win in 2012 with Ryan Blaney at Iowa Speedway. From there on, they were able to score another 10 victories with six different drivers. While they never won a championship, they did come close as from 2012 to this past season, they placed a truck in the top-six of the year-end standings, including a pair of runner-ups courtesy of Blaney and Tyler Reddick

Brad Keselowski has expressed the want to get back involved on the ownership side down the road. But as this door closes, here is a look back at those 11 victories.

2012 American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway – Ryan Blaney

Leading a total of 50 laps, Blaney drove away from the field on a late-race restart with three laps to go to score the first ever victory for Brad Keselowski Racing. It also marked Blaney’s first career win in the truck series in just his third start.

2013 Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway – Ryan Blaney

Just like he did in his first career win, Blaney drove away from the field late in the event to score his and BKR’s second victory.

John Harrelson | NKP

2014 UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway – Brad Keselowski

The boss got to pilot one of his own trucks to victory lane in dominating fashion, leading 119 of the 200 laps en route to the win.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – Ryan Blaney

In an epic duo with German Quiroga, Blaney would edge him out by a bumper at the finish line for the victory after leading 34 of the 64 laps.

Matthew Thacker | NKP

2015 NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway – Tyler Reddick

After running 16 of the 22 events in 2014, Tyler Reddick was set to run his first full season of truck series competition in 2015, ready to chase after a championship for BKR. He began the year in the biggest way possible, pacing 46 laps en route to scoring the victory in the season opener at Daytona.

Nigel Kinrade | NKP

2015 Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway – Joey Logano

Already having made a name for himself in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Joey Logano would run a couple truck races each year for his Team Penske teammate Keselowski. This opportunity behind the wheel went well, as he dominated by leading 150 of the 258 laps.

2015 Lucas Oil 250 at Dover International Speedway – Tyler Reddick

With a late-race pass on Erik Jones, Tyler Reddick took the lead and drove away en route to his second career series victory.

John Harrelson | NKP

2015 UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway – Ryan Blaney

The 2015 season proved to be the most successful for BKR in the win column, as four of their 11 victories came over the course of that year. Blaney captured the fourth, leading 40 of the 202 laps at Bristol.

Russell Labonty | NKP

2016 DC Solar 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Tyler Reddick

Brad Keselowski Racing always seemed to be strong at the intermediates, and that showed at Las Vegas when Reddick led 70 of the 146 laps en route to victory.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – Austin Cindric

In a pass that was debated for multiple weeks, Austin Cindric spun Kaz Grala in turn five, leading the rest of the way to score the victory.

Barry Cantrell | Harrelson Photography Inc.

2017 Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway – Chase Briscoe

While the focus was on the battle for the championship, Briscoe led 81 of the 134 laps en route to a dominating first career truck series victory.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement

Categories
XFINITY

Roush Fenway Racing To Field Driver Development Team

Three of the sport’s young stars will get to develop their talent under the guidance of a championship organization in 2018. 

Roush Fenway Racing announced on Monday they will field the No. 60 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season, with three young drivers sharing duties – Ty Majeski, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe.

“Driver development has always been part of our DNA at Roush Fenway and Jack Roush has always taken pride in providing opportunities for up and coming drivers,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. “All three of these drivers have exhibited a great deal of potential on and off the track and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch as they hone their skills together and grow into the next generation of champions in our sport.”

Majeski has been under the Roush Fenway banner for awhile, making three XFINITY Series starts for the organization in 2017 with a career-best 10th this past weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Regarded as one of the most impressive up-and-coming drivers, he scored 20 wins and 29 top-three finishes in 32 Late Model events this year. He also won his fourth consecutive ARCA Midwest Tour Championship with six wins in 12 events.

Rusty Jarrett | NKP

Cindric and Briscoe each join the fold after competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this past year for Brad Keselowski Racing, which closed doors at season’s end.

Cindric picked up eight top-fives and a win at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in his rookie season, advancing all the way to the Championship 4 of the NCWTS playoffs. The 19-year-old also has experience in rallycross, IMSA, ARCA, and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

The 2017 campaign was also Briscoe’s rookie year, which saw 10 top-fives en en route to placing sixth in the standings. He scored his career series victory by dominating the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He got the chance following a championship in ARCA competition in 2016 with six victories. 

The entry is the result of a partnership between Roush Fenway, Ford Performance and Team Penske. Mike Kelley will serve as the crew chief; Kelley led Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to a pair of XFINITY titles in 2011 and 2012.

Details surrounding sponsorship, or the amount of races per driver will be released by the team at a later date.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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Categories
Trucks

Rhodes, Cindric Clash in Battle for Transfer Spot

AVONDALE, Ariz. – With only 20 laps to go in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway, playoff contenders Ben Rhodes and Austin Cindric made contact, bringing out the red flag and ending both Rhodes and his ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton‘s night.

After Josh Reaume stalled on the track, Rhodes and Austin Cindric were running bumper to bumper on the ensuing restart. Contact between the pair saw Rhodes spin out, hit the inside wall, then took Crafton with him into the outside wall going into Turn 1. While Cindric’s No. 19 Ford came out of the incident virtually unscathed, Rhodes’ No. 27 Toyota and Crafton’s No. 88 Toyota were beyond repair.

“It’s almost like last year at Homestead in the Cup Series,” Austin Cindric told FS1. “I had a good run, Ben went to block and I was there. I had to hold my line. He went to block. That wasn’t his best decision. He was having a good run there and we were hoping to race it out. Obviously, nothing intentional there. I just held my ground.”

Rhodes entered Friday night’s race fifth in the playoff standings, and was therefore even more desperate to run well in this penultimate race. The only way he could have clinched a spot in the Championship 4 was John Hunter Nemechek not winning and beating Rhodes on points, or a victory himself.

“We gave [the No. 19 team] a chance to get to our bumper and they gave us a cheap shot,” said Eddie Troconis, crew chief for the No. 27. “They want to race like that and they won’t make a single lap at Homestead.”

Crafton, on the other hand, was third in the playoff standings. Therefore, all he needed to do to clinch a Championship 4 spot was earn either 37 points with a new race winner or 32 points with a repeat race winner.

Visibly upset after exiting the care center, Crafton only had this to say about the incident, “Just wrong place, wrong time. I told Ben [Rhodes] that the 19 better not finish Homestead.”

While Crafton still managed to clinch the third spot in the Championship 4, Cindric took the fourth and final slot with his ninth-place finish. Rhodes wound up fifth, just five points behind Cindric in the standings after Friday night’s race.

“They got me calmed down there in the medical center, so we’re just going to move forward from here and finish out the season strong and show everybody that had we not get taken out here that we should be the champion,” Rhodes said following the race.

Cindric and Crafton will now battle it out for the championship next week at Homestead Miami-Speedway in the season finale.
“It’s not the perfect circumstances the way to end the race here, but we deserve it just as much as any,” Cindric said.

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.