Austin Cindric gifts Roger Penske NASCAR Xfinity Superspeedway win

Austin Cindric started the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity season just like he ended 2020, in victory lane. Last November Cindric won the Xfinity Series title by winning the final race of 2020. Saturday, Cindric held off Brett Moffitt and Harrison Burton in an overtime finish to deliver the first Xfinity Daytona superspeedway win for his boss Roger Penske.

“What an awesome race,” Cindric said. “Obviously, coming off a lot of momentum winning that championship last year, but nothing is guaranteed and keep working hard.  Congrats to my man Coleman up on the roof.  He puts in just as much effort or more as I do.  I’m proud of him and we’ll try to go do it again tomorrow, I guess.”

Brett Moffitt was able to sneak past Burton coming to the line and take second with Burton holding on for third. Jeb Burton and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top five.

The crash-filled event had nine cautions including a red flag period of just over 13 minutes. in the end only 22 of the 40-car field were running at the end.

Cindric and Burton tied for the most laps led with 28. Ryan Sieg led the second most, 23, but crashed out on lap 73.

Brandon Jones won in Stage 1, beating out Riley Herbst by .004 seconds at the green-checkered flag, but his race was over at the end of Stage 2 on Lap 60, the race’s halfway point. As Moffitt crossed under the flag for the stage 2 win, Jones’ No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota slid across the damp infield grass after contact with Myatt Snider’s No. 2 Chevrolet. Jones’ car slid back up the track, collecting the cars of Cody Ware and Alex Labbe. The result was a red flag that lasted 13 minutes, 47 seconds for clean-up.

Another crash erupted on Lap 75 when Michael Annett’s No. 1 JR Motorsport Chevrolet was turned sideways in a sizable pack. Teammate Noah Gragson, last year’s winner in the Daytona Xfinity opener, was among those involved, along with Gray Gaulding, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Colby Howard, Ryan Vargas, Ryan Sieg and Bayley Currey.

The biggest crash of the night was a 14-car pileup with 16 laps remaining, triggered when new Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Ty Dillon and Daniel Hemric got together entering turn 3. JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier and Josh Berry were among those eliminated, as was Justin Haley.

“The 18 (Hemric) hit me so hard in the left rear, it drove me up the track,” said Dillon, who is racing in the Xfinity Series after four full seasons at the NASCAR Cup level.

Allgaier saw it differently. “He wrecked the whole field,” Allgaier said. “He had to make a statement… Unfortunately, guys were trying to make moves—veterans who should know better—and making bad decisions.”

The Xfinity Series’ next race is scheduled next Saturday, Feb. 20 on Daytona’s 3.61-mile road course layout.

Cindric’s weekend isn’t over. He will make his first Cup start in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

“I’m just excited that I get to come back here tomorrow and run in front of a great group of people,” he said.  “We have fans here.  I’m excited for the Great American Race tomorrow.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida

Saturday, February 13, 2021

1. (1)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 122.

2. (15)  Brett Moffitt(i), Chevrolet, 122.

3. (8)  Harrison Burton, Toyota, 122.

4. (7)  Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 122.

5. (31)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 122.

6. (14)  Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 122.

7. (11)  Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, 122.

8. (39)  Brandon Gdovic, Toyota, 122.

9. (12)  Daniel Hemric, Toyota, 122.

10. (40)  Jason White, Ford, 122.

11. (18)  Joe Graf Jr., Chevrolet, 122.

12. (38)  Caesar Bacarella, Chevrolet, 122.

13. (36)  Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, 122.

14. (32)  Ty Dillon, Toyota, 122.

15. (34)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 122.

16. (27)  Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 122.

17. (24)  Jesse Little, Chevrolet, 122.

18. (21)  Ryan Vargas #, Chevrolet, 122.

19. (28)  Danny Bohn(i), Chevrolet, 122.

20. (37)  Timmy Hill, Ford, 121.

21. (17)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 120.

22. (16)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 120.

23. (33)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Accident, 114.

24. (22)  Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, Accident, 114.

25. (23)  Robby Lyons II, Toyota, Accident, 105.

26. (4)  Riley Herbst, Ford, Accident, 105.

27. (9)  Josh Berry #, Chevrolet, Accident, 104.

28. (2)  Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 104.

29. (3)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, Accident, 104.

30. (26)  Chad Finchum, Ford, Accident, 104.

31. (13)  Ryan Sieg, Ford, DVP, 81.

32. (5)  Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, Accident, 76.

33. (30)  Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 75.

34. (35)  Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, Accident, 75.

35. (20)  Colby Howard, Chevrolet, Accident, 75.

36. (10)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, Accident, 74.

37. (25)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, Accident, 74.

38. (6)  Brandon Jones, Toyota, Accident, 60.

39. (29)  Cody Ware(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 60.

40. (19)  Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, Accident, 60.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  118.677 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 34 Mins, 12 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .104 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  9 for 42 laps.

Lead Changes:  16 among 11 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Cindric 1-2;J. Allgaier 3-10;A. Cindric 11-17;R. Herbst 18-29;B. Jones 30-32;R. Sieg 33-35;B. Brown 36;R. Sieg 37-56;B. Moffitt(i) 57-62;T. Hill 63;T. Dillon 64-65;A. Cindric 66-74;J. Haley 75-78;T. Hill 79-81;J. Haley 82-84;H. Burton 85-112;A. Cindric 113-122.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Harrison Burton 1 time for 28 laps; Austin Cindric 4 times for 28 laps; Ryan Sieg 2 times for 23 laps; Riley Herbst 1 time for 12 laps; Justin Allgaier 1 time for 8 laps; Justin Haley 2 times for 7 laps; Brett Moffitt(i) 1 time for 6 laps; Timmy Hill 2 times for 4 laps; Brandon Jones 1 time for 3 laps; Ty Dillon 1 time for 2 laps; Brandon Brown 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 19,98,54,22,9,18,7,20,39,68

Stage #2 Top Ten: 02,54,22,11,68,39,51,2,9,8

Greg Engle