SPARTA, Kentucky (FOX19)—Austin Cindric has never won an oval race in his NASCAR career. He can check that box off after winning the Shady Rays 200 in overtime at Kentucky Speedway Thursday night.
The race went 136 laps, two more than the scheduled distance, and ended under caution when a huge wreck broke out on the backstretch that included Justin Allgaier and Ronnie Bassett Jr.
“I didn’t want the final restart, I didn’t want the one before that, or the one before that, but usually you get that in NASCAR racing,” said Cindric. “You get them so you can’t complain. You’ve got to rise the occasion, and I got a good push from Allgaier there at the end.”
The win was Cindric’s third career Xfinity Series win in 81 career starts. The 21-year-old Cindric grew up around racing. His father, Tim Cindric, is the team president of Team Penske, Roger Penske’s team.
“We took every opportunity we had and it made the most of it. It was a really well executed race,” Cindric said. “We never lost a spot on pit road and I never lost a spot on the racetrack really, so I’m just really proud of that effort.
“I think there’s been a lot of opportunities for us to win this year and I honestly feel like it’s not just the road courses, it’s not just a mile-and-a-half, it’s every type of racetrack that we’ve got a shot to win at.”
Xfinity Series rookie Riley Herbst finished second. Herbst’s teammate Brandon Jones was wiped out in a wreck on the first lap where Jeb Burton spun into the wall and Jones ran into Burton. Herbst, along with many other drivers, complained about how dirty the racing surface was at Kentucky Speedway at the start of the race. “This track was probably the dirtiest racetrack I’ve ever seen to fire off and I hate that my teammate got cut off caught up in a dirty racetrack wreck,” Herbst said after the race.
Ross Chastain finished third and knew it was hard to pass if his car wasn’t in the PJ1 track compound that gave drivers more grip. “You couldn’t run the bottom or you couldn’t run more than a groove in the black or you maybe could run a groove and a half but there’s no passing,” said Chastain. “You had to get your runs and pass on the straightaway and clear them yourself.”
Chase Briscoe, who had won three of the previous four races coming into Kentucky, finished fourth, while Michael Annett came home in fifth place. Anthony Alfredo finished sixth, Justin Haley finished seventh, Kyle Weatherman scored a career-best 8th-place finish, Ryan Sieg finished ninth and Brett Moffitt rounded out the top ten finishers.
The first 90 laps of the Shady Rays 200 were Noah Gragson’s show. The driver of the No. 9 Chevy in the NASCAR Xfinity Series led 88 of the first 92 circuits around Kentucky Speedway, but pit strategy relegated him to a third-place position on a restart with 40 laps to go, where he fell backward in the field. Gragson, who won both stages, finished 11th.
The Xfinity Series will run again at Kentucky Friday night in the Alsco 300. That race will be broadcast once again on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. When asked if he was confident at his team’s ability to replicate their success and go win the Alsco 300, Cindric didn’t hesitate. “I’d say I’m very confident,” he said.