Brad Keselowski Racing Post-Race Report: Iowa Speedway
No. 19 PIRTEK Ford F-150
Austin Cindric steered his way cleanly through the frantic seven-lap dash to the checkered flag to grab an eighth-place finish in the M&M’s 200 Friday night at Iowa Speedway.
Cindric qualified 11th and finished 10th in Stage 1. He pitted for four tires on lap 64 and restarted eighth when Stage 2 went green on lap 70. Cindric was running eighth and was happy with his Ford F-150 at the conclusion of the segment. He pitted for four tires on lap 109, and speedy service by the PIRTEK pit crew moved him up to sixth place when the race went green on lap 114.
Five laps later, the third caution slowed the race for a lengthy track cleanup. When the dust settled, Cindric restarted sixth on lap 133. He moved up to fifth place one lap later, and was sixth by lap 172.
The fourth and final caution gave Cindric the opportunity to make a four-tire pit stop on lap 189, and he lined up fifth for the final restart on lap 194. When the green flag waved, he dove to the bottom of the track in Turn 1 in a bold move to gain positions. Moments later, Cindric was on the bottom of a four-wide race for position on the backstretch. He was squeezed out of line and shuffled back to 11th place by lap 196.
The young rookie rallied in the closing laps: he picked off positions in heavy traffic, plus avoided an accident ahead of him off Turn 4. When the checkered flag waved on lap 160, he was rewarded with his third top 10 of the season and moved up one position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings.
Austin Cindric: “The PIRTEK Ford F-150 was awesome this weekend. Doug [Randolph, crew chief] had it really good when it fired off for the race. At the end, it’s a late-race restart and you’ve got to go. I had a heck of a restart and passed on the inside, but somebody else had a heck of a run on the outside. It was four-wide and I was on the bottom on the backstretch heading to Turns 3 and 4. It’s a balance of madness and strategy. All in all, it was a good night.”
Starting Position: 11th
Finishing Position: 8th
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings: 11th
Points Behind Final Playoff Position: 83
No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150
A late-race caution derailed Chase Briscoe‘s chances to win the M&M’s 200 Friday night at Iowa Speedway. The driver of the Cooper Standard Ford F-150 was in position to pull off the win that had eluded him the two previous weeks. Briscoe ran solidly in the top five for a majority of the race and was leading the field when the final caution flag of the night was displayed. Opting to make a two-tire stop, he experienced handling issues during the final laps, which resulted in a seventh-place finish.
Briscoe qualified third, and after briefly dropping back to sixth in the opening laps, he maneuvered up to fourth by the conclusion of the opening stage. Briscoe reported that he was free off, and interim crew chief Buddy Sisco called for four tires, fuel and both track-bar and air-pressure adjustments. Quick work by the pit crew gained the team two spots for the green flag on lap 70. Briscoe remained second until the yellow flag wag waved on lap 109, and he radioed that his truck was now too tight. Returning to pit road under caution, Briscoe received four tires, fuel and additional chassis adjustments, taking the green flag from the third spot on lap 114. Briscoe immediately returned to the second spot, closing out the second segment in the runner-up position. The team’s previous pit stop allowed Briscoe to stay out under yellow, and he took the green for the final segment from the front row.
The field quickly spread out single file, but the Cooper Standard Ford came to life in the final 50 laps, overcoming a 2-second deficit to take the lead on lap 183. As he pulled away from rest of the field, it appeared that Briscoe was just a few laps from his first Truck Series victory.
However, a crash on lap 187 closed his lead and required the team to make a pit strategy decision. Briscoe felt that he needed tires to close the deal, and he took two right-sides, dropping him back to second for the final restart on lap 193. Briscoe initially pulled ahead of the leader, but suddenly found that his truck was too loose off and made contact with outside wall, dropping back to seventh before the checkered flag waved. His fifth top-10 finish of the season moved Briscoe up to third in the NCWTS point standings.
Chase Briscoe: “I would be lying if I said this wasn’t frustrating. If the race would have stayed green until the end, I have no doubt that we would have won, but once the caution came out, we had to take tires. On that last restart, I fired off really tight getting in and was loose off, and then I got into the fence a little. I hate it for everyone on the Cooper Standard team. I feel like our first win has been a long time coming and we’re so close. We just haven’t been able to pull it off. I’m proud of my guys. We just have to keep our heads up and go on to the next one.”
Starting Position: 3rd
Finishing Position: 7th
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 7
Driver Point Standings: 3rd
Points Behind Leader: 76