Brad Keselowski Racing Post-Race Report: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
No. 19 Draw–Tite Ford F-150
Austin Cindric made a thrilling pass on the last lap to win Sunday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Cindric’s pass around Kaz Grala in Turn 5 on the final lap capped a stirring late-race rally and vaulted the 19-year-old driver into the NCWTS Playoffs.
The driver of the throwback Draw-Tite Ford F-150 kicked off the weekend by winning his first 21 Means 21 Pole during time trials on Saturday afternoon. He ripped off a lap of 78.602 seconds (112.623 mph) to claim the track record. The pole was the third for Brad Keselowski Racing in five races at the Canadian road course and the team’s third pole of the season.
Cindric left no doubt how potent his No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150 was during Stage 1 of the 64-lap race, leading all 20 laps to win the first stage. The team chose not to pit at the stage break and restarted as the race leader when the green waved on lap 24.
He firmly held the race lead until he made his first scheduled pit stop for four tires and fuel under green on lap 32. The team was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for removing equipment from the assigned pit area (fuel can), and Cindric was forced make an extra stop to serve the penalty one lap later. He was shuffled back to the 20th position but fought back to 18th by the end of Stage 2 on lap 40. Cindric made his final stop for four tires and fuel during the stage break on lap 42 and lined up 16th when the race went green on lap 45.
From there, the rally was on in full force. Cindric picked up seven positions on the restart and was poised for more when the fourth caution flag waved on lap 46. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 50, and Cindric grabbed four more positions on the restart to vault inside the top five. He was up to fourth by lap 51 and in hot pursuit of the top three when the fifth and final yellow was displayed on lap 53.
Cindric restarted fourth on lap 56 and took third position one lap later. He muscled his way past second place on lap 60 and began to track down race leader Kaz Grala. Cindric caught his competitor as they began the final lap. He made the pass for the win in Turn 5 with a tap to Grala’s back bumper and scampered away, officially crossing the finish line 3.481 seconds ahead of runner-up Noah Gragson.
Austin Cindric: “It was an incredible weekend for this Draw-Tite team. We unloaded and were fast right away and I’ve got to thank Doug [Randolph, crew chief] and all the guys at BKR for that. I’m not sure there was one highlight I saw all week where there wasn’t somebody getting into the back of somebody else to win the race, but I hate that it came down to that. I’ve known Kaz for a long time and I think he, or anyone else, would have done the exact same thing with that much on the line. The way NASCAR’s point system is now, you have to win and you’re in the playoffs. I feel like this team deserves the win and I feel like it’s going to uplift everyone in the shop. This truck was brand new and purpose built for this race, and I had to carry out my job and win the race. My experience road racing was what was able to get me from 16th to ninth on a restart and ninth to fourth on the next restart. I feel like without that experience, I wouldn’t have won today.”
Starting Position: 1st
Finishing Position: 1st
Stage Wins: 1
Laps Led: 32
Driver Point Standings: 10th
No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150
Chase Briscoe rallied back from an 18th-place starting spot and final-stage damage to earn a top-10 finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Briscoe’s throwback Cooper Standard Ford F-150 carried a ton of speed in the closing laps, earning him a seventh-place finish in his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series road course race and allowing him to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
After taking the green flag in the 18th position, Briscoe was able to advance into the top 15 before crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. made the strategic call to pit under green on lap 17. Briscoe reported that he was tight in the center all around the track, so the No. 29 team provided the Cooper Standard machine with four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. After a quick stop, Briscoe returned to the track in the 19th spot, which is where he was scored for the conclusion of Stage 1.
Able to stay out between segments, Briscoe advanced into the top 10 as his competitors pitted, putting him in the eighth position when the race went green on lap 24. As Briscoe developed a rhythm, his lap times improved, and when he entered the top five on lap 31, Hillman told his driver that he was as good as anyone else out on the track. As the second segment came to a close, Briscoe was fighting for the Stage 2 win, but came up just shy, finishing second and earning nine valuable stage points. Still tight in the center, Briscoe once again received four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment on pit road, restarting 13th on lap 45.
Just two laps later, another competitor’s motor failed, dropping oil on the racing surface. When Briscoe’s truck hit the slick oil, he skidded off the racing surface, sliding through wet grass and hitting the guardrail. Hillman made the call to bring Briscoe down pit road, and it was the right one: his grille was covered in grass and he had damage to his right-front fender and splitter, which the team was able to repair under caution. Briscoe returned to the track in the 19th position on lap 50, with only 14 laps to go before the checkered flag. The 22-year-old used every lap, running his fastest laps of the race and picking off spot after spot. By the team Briscoe reached the checkered flag, he’d advanced all the way to seventh, securing enough points to clinch a position in the NCWTS Playoffs in advance of the cutoff race at Chicagoland Speedway.
Chase Briscoe: “Today was huge for Brad Keselowski Racing, and I’m really happy for my teammate Austin Cindric. If anyone had any doubt, it shows that BKR is here to compete until the last lap at Homestead. I struggled a little bit at the beginning of the weekend while I was learning the racetrack, but by the end of the race, my Cooper Standard Ford had a ton of speed. I may not have had the best road course race, but a seventh-place finish today will lock us into the playoffs, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re locked into the playoffs and that means we can take some chances next week in Chicagoland and really go after the win. BKR is going to have two trucks in the playoffs, and hopefully we will have two trucks in the final four in Miami.”
Starting Position: 18th
Finishing Position: 7th
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings: 4th