Austin Cindric earns overtime victory in NASCAR Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway

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Austin Cindric wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway on 7-9-20 (Victory Lane photo)

SPARTA, Ky. (WTVQ) – Austin Cindric won a two-lap overtime duel Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway racing door-to-door with his good friend and former teammate Chase Briscoe to earn his career first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory on an oval track.

Cindric, who led 41 laps on the night, ultimately finished .952-seconds ahead of rookie Riley Herbst and Ross Chastain to take the victory in Thursday night’s Shady Rays 200 – the first of a doubleheader week that will include a second Xfinity Series Kentucky race, the Alsco 300 on Friday night (8 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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Briscoe, who started on the inside of Cindric on a restart in overtime, pulled ahead briefly, but Cindric’s No. 22 Penske Racing Ford rallied back by and he rode off to his first victory of 2020, securing a ticket to the Xfinity Series Playoffs. It marked a record eighth time in the 14 races this season that the pass for victory came in the final two laps.

“Thank you, FINALLY,” an exuberant Cindric screamed into his team radio after passing under the checkered flag.

“We’ve come so close all year, these guys have given me so many awesome cars,” Cindric told the FS1 broadcast.

“I’m pumped. This is awesome. I’d love to be able to come back and enjoy another performance like that tomorrow night. All the credit to my guys for getting me here.”

Briscoe, a five-race winner and the Xfinity Series championship leader, finished fourth followed by Michael Annett. Anthony Alfredo finished sixth, followed by Justin Haley, Kyle Weatherman, Ryan Sieg and Brett Moffitt. It was a career best finish for Weatherman.

Noah Gragson, who led a race best 88 of the 136 laps and for the first time in his career, swept the opening two stage wins, finished 11th. He and JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier were running among the Top-5 on the restart and were poised to challenge for the trophy, but they made contact racing hard on the 1.5-mile high-banked oval and it cost them both better finishes. Allgaier was involved in an accident on the last lap and finished 20th.

Briscoe, who led five laps and ran among the Top-5 for most of the night, solidified his championship lead on a night he insisted was a true challenge for his No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing team.

“Thought we were gonna have a chance [to win] on both restarts but that last one just got real loose, but overall felt like this was our worst night of the year from the speed and balance standpoint and we were still able to race Austin for the win and end up fourth,” Briscoe said.

Cindric, who was elated with the victory – dramatically planting the checkered flag in the infield –  joked about having to hold off Briscoe.

“I love the guy but he’s won enough, geez” Cindric joked of Briscoe, who passed him last weekend for victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

“Those restarts were a lot tougher than I was thinking they would be,” he said, adding, “I’m just so happy. Thank you to [team owner] Roger [Penske]. I believe this is a championship team.”

Friday night’s race will feature a partial inversion of Thursday night’s finishing order. The top 15 finishers will start in reverse order, which puts rookie Myatt Snider on the pole for the Alsco 300.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Shady Rays 200

Kentucky Speedway

Sparta, Kentucky

Thursday, July 9, 2020

 

  1. (12)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 136.
  2. (23)  Riley Herbst #, Toyota, 136.
  3. (2)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 136.
  4. (7)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 136.
  5. (4)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 136.
  6. (11)  Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 136.
  7. (9)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 136.
  8. (30)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 136.
  9. (8)  Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 136.
  10. (13)  Brett Moffitt(i), Chevrolet, 136.
  11. (1)  Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 136.
  12. (20)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 136.
  13. (31)  Joe Graf Jr #, Chevrolet, 136.
  14. (14)  Jesse Little #, Chevrolet, 136.
  15. (28)  Myatt Snider #, Chevrolet, 136.
  16. (32)  Chad Finchum, Toyota, 136.
  17. (5)  Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 136.
  18. (17)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 136.
  19. (22)  Ronnie Bassett Jr, Chevrolet, Accident, 135.
  20. (10)  Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 135.
  21. (33)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, Accident, 135.
  22. (27)  Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, 135.
  23. (34)  Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 134.
  24. (16)  Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 134.
  25. (25)  Kody Vanderwal #, Chevrolet, 134.
  26. (18)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 133.
  27. (19)  Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 132.
  28. (26)  Mason Massey, Toyota, 130.
  29. (24)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, Suspension, 129.
  30. (35)  Matt Mills, Toyota, 122.
  31. (15)  Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, Brakes, 120.
  32. (21)  Colby Howard, Chevrolet, Accident, 119.
  33. (36)  Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 54.
  34. (3)  Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, Accident, 45.
  35. (29)  Stephen Leicht, Toyota, Electrical, 21.
  36. (6)  Brandon Jones, Toyota, Accident, 0.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  109.759 mph.

Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 51 Mins, 31 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags:  9 for 40 laps.

Lead Changes:  6 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:  N. Gragson 1-33;C. Briscoe 34-37;N. Gragson 38-91;J. Haley 92-94;A. Cindric 95-133;C. Briscoe 134;A. Cindric 135-136.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Noah Gragson 2 times for 87 laps; Austin Cindric 2 times for 41 laps; Chase Briscoe 2 times for 5 laps; Justin Haley 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten:  9,20,22,10,21,1,11,7,39,02

Stage #2 Top Ten:  9,22,98,10,18,7,1,39,68,21

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.