DOVER, Del. — Austin Cindric sat on the sidelines during last year’s Truck Series race at Dover after his team had no points to fall back because of Mother Nature.
A year later, Cindric and Brad Keselowski Racing’s worries about not making the race were no more, and not only that, but the 18-year-old driver played his pit strategy right en route to a fifth-place finish in Friday’s Bar Harbor 200.
Cindric stayed out when several leaders came to pit road for green flag pit-stop as the caution flew for teammate Chase Briscoe lost a left-rear tire, keeping Cindric’s No. 19 truck on the lead lap.
“It’s a lot better than watching from the spotter’s stand like last year, so I’m happy about that,” Cindric said. “What a race track … this is the hardest place to pass I think I’ll find on our schedule and I wish it was a little bit better for the fans that way.”
“Holy crap, strategy today was a lot more important than I think everyone figured it would be, with stage racing and not really having to do a fuel race,” he added. “Got caught out … to where we could probably be second-place if it went green and put on tires, but we were really, really tight on the restart.”
Differing pit strategies shook up the running order, allowing the BKR driver to station himself in the top-five for the final 25 laps.
But even Cindric wasn’t able to keep up what was going on with everyone else’s plans.
“I leave that up to Doug (Randolph),” Cindric chuckled. “Lucky for me, he’s pretty damn good at his job, so I’m lucky to have him and everyone on this No. 19 crew. I’m excited to see what the rest of the year holds.”
The rookie driver began the season with a rough start after crashing out of the Daytona opener on lap two, followed by additional early-season struggles at Atlanta and Martinsville (21st).
However, the tide seems to have finally turned, as Cindric racked up his first-career top-10 last month at Kansas and also led laps at Charlotte before his career-best effort at Dover.
“I couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity we had and fight back up a little bit,” Cindric said about Dover. “But great to get LTI on the truck and (score) a career-best finish; it’s something more to build on for Texas.”
Listen in to Race Chaser Online’s conversation with Austin Cindric following the Bar Harbor 200 at Dover:
About the Writer
Kyle Magda is a freelance writer and Northeast Correspondent for Race Chaser Online, who broke into racing in mid-2001 as the sport’s tide was beginning to change towards the current modern-era formula, but still has an affinity for the history of NASCAR’s earlier days.
The 24-year-old is a graduate of Penn State University and can be found traveling to numerous tracks across the country, covering everything from NASCAR and the ARCA Racing Series to the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions and the Super Cup Stock Car Series.
Email Kyle at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @KyleMagda
Email Race Chaser Online: [email protected]
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews