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NASCAR Xfinity: Austin Cindric notches repeat win in Phoenix

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 13: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 Car Shop Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Call 811 Before You Dig 200 presented by Arizona 811 at Phoenix Raceway on March 13, 2021 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Austin Cindric became the first repeat winner of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series, five races in, on Saturday with his victory in the Call 811 Before You Dig 200 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. Saturday’s win also was Cindric’s second-consecutive win at Phoenix, following his win en route to the 2020 series championship in the season finale last November.

“It is data points. You have to work hard the rest of the year to get here,” Cindric said of the return to Phoenix in November for the season finale. “That is where my focus is. I have my name on the wall there, and the goal is to be back here with a shot to do it again.”

Ty Gibbs took in a two-lap, green-flag sprint to the finish to claim runner-up honors, his worst finish in two-career Xfinity Series starts.

“It was really hard with the PJ1 (traction compound) and how it was sprayed a little bit higher than last year, so it was more of a one lane track. (I learned) lane position, kind of letting people go and move some people out of the way,” Gibbs said. “Definitely figured it out and helped me at the end of the race. I was too far to kind of bump the 22 (Cindric), but it was a fun time. It was a learning experience more than anything. I’m just learning how these things race on the ovals, but I’m very thankful to be here. I can’t thank Pristine Auction enough. Just one spot short.”

Brandon Brown finished third, Riley Herbst was fourth, and A.J. Allmendinger was fifth.

Justin Allgaier was second for the final restart but after getting into the wall, he wound up with an eight-place finish.

“He just got a really great launch. I think he anticipated the restart really well and got to my outside,” Cindric said of battling Allgaier on the final restart. “He faked low and went high and had the momentum that was hard to block. I was trying to defend the bottom, middle and top. I got the air sucked off my door a little bit. it was just hard racing a little bit there. It sucks that he got into the wall there, because I think we were going to have a good race to the end there. I don’t think our lap-one to two speed was our strength, so I definitely got a little fortunate there.”

Cindric dominated the race, leading a race-high 119 laps, including the first 50 laps of the race after taking the top spot from pole sitter Daniel Hemric on the first lap. Those first 50 laps led included a stage-one win on lap 45.

Cindric, then, lost five positions on pit road during the caution that followed the first stage. Brandon Jones, who ran second to Cindric throughout the first stage, was assessed a pit-road speeding penalty during the same caution and retired from the race with a crash on lap 166 after contact with Allmendinger.

“It’s such a tough deal. I know the sun was in our eyes pretty bad off of turn two, but I just got ran over,” Jones said. “I’ll look to rebound next weekend. I thought we had a really phenomonal run going. It was still a little bit off balance for that final stage, but all-in-all, we had a really good Toyota Supra. I hate it for everybody who puts effort into it, but it looks like I just got ran over by A.J. I’ll keep a notebook of all of this stuff and use it in the future.”

Hemric was first out of the pits during the caution and ran up front for the 40 laps that remained in the second stage, with Harrison Burton in second, on his way to the stage-two win at lap 90. Both drivers lost their positions in the pits after the stage when Allgaier pulled off pit road as the new race leader. Hemric lost more positions with a pit-road speeding penalty during the next caution that came out on lap 124. Burton’s day got worse with a spin on lap 132.

After Ryan Sieg inherited the lead with a fuel-only pit stop during the lap-124 caution, Cindric, who was second off pit road, retook the lead on the restart that followed. Cindric, then, led most of the remaining laps of the 200-lap race with Allgaier in second. Jones took a brief lead on the lap 145 restart, but Cindric was back in the lead by a lap-148 caution for Josh Berry.

Other top-10 finishers included Jeb Burton in sixth, Bayley Currey in seventh, Brett Moffitt ninth and Jeremy Clements in 10th.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Call 811 Before You Dig 200 at Phoenix Raceway:

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Posted by on March 14, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,Xfinity Series. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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