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NASCAR Xfinity: Austin Cindric wins title with Phoenix race win

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 07: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 Menards/Richmond Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 and the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 07, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Austin Cindric is the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion after winning the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200, the final race of the season, at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday. The Phoenix win was Cindric’s sixth win of the 33-race season.

“This thing came to life lap one,” Cindric said. “I mean, talk about a relationship between driver and crew chief. I can ask him exactly — we were terrible here in the spring race when I moved up, and I asked him, I told him exactly what I needed, and he gave it to me, and look where we are. It’s amazing.”

Noah Gragson finished second, Brandon Jones was third, Michael Annett fourth and championship contender Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five. All four title contenders finished in the top-10 at Phoenix, with Justin Haley in eighth, and Chase Briscoe finishing ninth after spinning on lap 198, causing a caution that sent the race into overtime.

Allgaier led a race-high 76 laps of the 206-lap race, and Cindric led 72. Cindric took the lead from Allgaier on lap 130, and Allgaier, then, lost second to Jones before a cycle of green-flag pit stops began inside the final 40 laps of the race. The cycle was interrupted by a caution for a Joe Graf Jr. spin on lap 170, after both Allgaier and Cindric made green-flag stops. Even so, Allgaier pitted under the caution for newer tires and restarted fifth, with Cindric in the lead.

Allgaier, on 10-lap newer tires, got up to second on the restart and was challenging Cindric for the lead when the yellow waved for Briscoe’s spin. Cindric, then, pitted during the final caution and restarted third to Allgaier and Ross Chastain, who has been off the lead lap earlier in the race for an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel.

“I watched Sheldon Creed do it last night (in the NASCAR Truck Series season-finale), so why couldn’t we? Amazing effort by this 22 team,” Cindric said. “Brian Wilson (crew chief) and all the guys, everybody back at the shop, there was a lot of work put into this race car. Roger Penske (car owner), everyone from Penske Racing, the Menards family, John, Paul, Jim, Jeff — all those guys that put so much support into racing itself — it’s awesome to get them a championship in NASCAR, to be a champion in NASCAR, and do it in front of all these great people cheering us on at championship weekend. Ford Performance, Doug Yates, everybody at Roush Yates Engines, I’m speechless. I can’t believe it. I’m pretty humbled by the effort, for sure.”

Allgaier and Cindric raced side-by-side for the lead and championship on the final lap, but by the checkered flag, Allgaier had lost a few positions.

Briscoe won the first 45-lap stage of the race after taking the lead from pole sitter Allgaier on a lap-seven restart that followed a Jeffrey Earnhardt spin.

Allgaier retook the lead on the restart that followed the caution at the end of the opening stage, but he lost that lead to Cindric on lap 83. After passing Allgaier for the lead, Cindric won the second stage at lap 90.

Allgaier retook the lead, again, on the restart after the second stage.

Other drivers in the top-10 at the checkered flag Saturday included Harrison Burton in sixth, Chastain in seventh, and Jeremy Clements in 10th.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200:

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Posted by on November 8, 2020. 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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