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Austin Cindric Conquers Indy XFINITY Race

After years of watching Roger Penske’s drivers win at the Brickyard, Austin Cindric finally got one of his own. (Photo Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Austin Cindric took the lead in the final stage from Ty Gibbs and set sail, holding off Kaulig Racing teammates AJ Allmendinger and Justin Haley to win the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard. Cindric led a total of 29 laps in the 62-lap event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.

Being the son of Tim Cindric, President of Team Penske, Austin Cindric deeply understands what it means to win at IMS. For years, he watched Team Penske’s IndyCar program and childhood hero, Helio Castroneves, winning the Indianapolis 500 three times for the Captain.

“This racetrack is so much deeper than just that with my family history and what this place means to me,” Cindric said.

“I can’t even put into words what it means to win at Indianapolis.”

Surprisingly, Chase Elliott, who was filling in for Michael Annett, never posed a serious threat for the win. However, he was involved in a late-race incident with JR Motorsports teammate Sam Mayer.

The two JRM competitors were fighting for a spot in the top-five, both drivers made contact, sending Mayer spinning in the grass and crashing into a tire barrier. Luckily, Mayer was able to find an area to pull off the track and avoid a full course caution.

Elliott finished fourth while Mayer retired from the race, finishing 27th.

Stage 2

Kris Wright earned a spot in the highlight reels by launching the front end of his No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota Supra in the air over the inside curb in Turn 6:

Due to major issues caused by the orange curb in turn 6, NASCAR decided to remove it ahead of Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series event.

Several drivers decided to pit before the stage break to get better track position in the final stage. However, this strategy was put on hold for some when the caution came out for Will Rodgers late in Stage 2, who got out of the car at pit exit, due to a fire.

Stage 2 ended under caution with a Kaulig Racing 1-2. AJ Allmendinger completed the sweep of stages for Matt Kaulig’s operation by winning Stage 2.

Stage 2 Results: Allmendinger, Haley, Gragson, Gibbs, Lally, J. Burton, Hemric, Clements, Herbst, Williams.

Stage 1

The race got off to a chaotic start with multiple drivers going airborne over an orange curb in turn 6 on Lap 1. Brandon Jones, Preston Pardus, Brandon Brown and Kevin Harvick were involved in the opening lap fiasco, causing their race to end prematurely.

Towards the end of Stage 1, Ryan Sieg had a plethora of problems that eventually brought out the caution. Sieg spun twice, came to pit road, then a tire blew, leaving debris on the track.

Many of the frontrunners came to pit road, while Riley Herbst and XFINITY debutant Sage Karam stayed out to lead the field back to green with two laps to go in Stage 1. On the final lap of Stage 1, Justin Haley, on fresh tires, passed Herbst to claim the opening stage.

Stage 1 Results: Haley, Herbst, J. Burton, Cindric, Karam, Gragson, Clements, Martins, Elliott, Gibbs.

Annett Playoff Blow

Last weekend at Watkins Glen, Michael Annett returned to XFINITY competition after missing the two races at Atlanta and Loudon, due to surgery on a stress fracture in his right leg. Despite two extra weeks to heal during the break for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and a solid 11th-place finish at The Glen, Annett did not compete at the IMS Road Course.

JR Motorsports called 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott to replace Annett in the No. 1 Chevrolet. Entering Indianapolis, Annett sat on the playoff bubble, 12th in the standings, only 30 points ahead of Riley Herbst.

Exiting the Brickyard, Annett has fallen out of the playoffs for the moment. Herbst has taken advantage of those three missed races, who now holds a 10-point advantage over Annett heading into Michigan. With five races remaining in the regular season, there is still plenty of time for Annett to make up the points he lost and get in the playoffs.

Lally Top-10

Road course specialist Andy Lally was all smiles after the checkered flag. The IMSA regular took the No. 78 BJ McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet to a 10th-place result. This is Lally’s second top-10 of the 2021 XFINITY Series season.

He finished fifth at Mid-Ohio, driving for Our Motorsports.

On Saturday morning, Kyle Tilley pulled out of the NASCAR Cup Series, due to a shoulder injury. Tilley is scheduled to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans next weekend, sharing the No. 17 IDEC Sport Oreca-07 Gibson with Ryan Dalziel and Dwight Merriman in the LMP2 category.

Live Fast Motorsports chose Lally as Tilley’s replacement in the No. 78 Ford Mustang on Sunday afternoon at the Brickyard.

Next Weekend

The NASCAR XFINITY Series heads to Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 21. NBCSN coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Pennzoil 150 Top-10 Results: Austin Cindric, Allmendinger, Haley, Elliott, Gragson, Dillon, Snider, Herbst, H. Burton, Lally.

Kobe Lambeth is a 2021 graduate of UNC Charlotte, who earned his undergraduate degree in Communication Studies (mass media concentration), with a double minor in Journalism and American Studies. In February 2007, he initially developed a strong passion for motorsports. His childhood dream is to work in the motorsports industry for a long time. In June 2017, his journey began as a freelance journalist and social media specialist for RockinghamNow, covering high school sports and leading a Twitter project. He was a part of expanded coverage of high school football within his local community. Through the use of Twitter, his team had a goal of significantly increasing the number of followers on multiple accounts. At The Podium Finish, he intends to provide professional motorsports coverage, focusing on series such as the NASCAR Cup Series, NTT IndyCar Series and more. He's also a Multimedia Producer at GRID Network.

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