BOWMANVILLE, Ont. — Austin Cindric 19th’s birthday present came in the form of a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole Saturday afternoon at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Cindric clawed back-and-forth with GMS Racing driver Justin Haley in the final minutes of qualifying until the birthday boy stepped up his front for good, earning his first-career 21 Means 21 Pole Award in the Truck Series.
“First of all, that was a lot of fun racing with Justin Haley; we were racing in qualifying,” Cindric said. “Let’s be honest, anyone who watched the K&N races I ran last year, I had to beat Justin Haley to win those so I wouldn’t expect anything different for the race tomorrow.”
“Obviously, the news came out last week that BKR isn’t returning to the series … so it’s even more incentive to run strong this weekend and hopefully contend for the win to get into the playoff. I love this race track.”
The Brad Keselowski Racing driver qualified second for last year’s event and was running in the top-five until getting hit from behind in the final corner, ending up 23rd when the dust cleared at the 2.459-mile road course.
“There’s a lot of different things you can do with fuel and tires,” Cindric added of the upcoming race. “I think track position’s really important. Everyone’s seen the highlight reels throughout the whole week, every year there has been a battle for the lead in the last corner and someone’s got into somebody.”
“I have to make sure I’m in a position to where that doesn’t happen me or if I’m in the lead, I can stretch it out … whatever it may be. We just have to try to run a perfect race and hope for the best.”
Haley led the first round of Keystone Light Pole qualifying before swapping the top spot with Cindric in round two, ending up second
Both he and Cindric need to win their way into the playoffs, with only two events to go.
“I definitely shut it off at the start/finish line and the first thing that came out my mouth was ‘Did he beat me?’ Obviously, he did but that’s fun,” Haley said. “Austin and I’ve had conflicts in the past but we’re pretty good buddies now. Just two road-course guys out here having fun in NASCAR trucks.”
“Wish we would’ve led a little out of the rears right there; we we’re lacking lateral (grip) that second run. Hopefully it rains tomorrow, that’ll add another feature to this deal.”
Daytona winner Kaz Grala qualified third in his No. 33 Chevrolet, tying his best non-restrictor start after also qualifying third at Eldora in July.
Parker Kligerman posted the fourth-fastest time of the session, clocking in at 79.18 seconds (111.801 mph) in the No. 75 Food Country USA Toyota.
Points leader Christopher Bell completed the top-five and was the fastest among the three Kyle Busch Motorsports entries.
Noah Gragson, defending race winner John Hunter Nemechek, Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes, Johnny Sauter, Ryan Truex and Canadian Alex Tagliani completed the first six rows of the grid and all advanced through to the final knockout round.
The green flag for Sunday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 drops shortly after 2:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM).
Full qualifying results can be viewed on the next page…