Cindric Eighth, Briscoe 11th in Playoff Opener at NHMS

0

Brad Keselowski Racing Post-Race Report: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150

Austin Cindric rallied back from a spin with less than 50 laps to go to claim an eighth-place finish in the UNOH 175 on Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Cindric is fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings, five points ahead of the first round cutoff position. He claimed his tenth top-10 finish in 16 races this season.

Cindric started sixth in the first NCWTS Playoff race at the 1.058-mile speedway. The driver of the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150 picked off two positions on the initial start and held firm to the spot throughout Stage 1, finishing fourth when the opening segment of the race concluded on lap 55. Two laps later, Cindric pitted for four tires and adjustments. A mix of pit strategies among the leaders shuffled him back to eighth place for the start of Stage 2 on lap 63.

Rapid fire cautions on laps 65 and 73 didn’t work to Cindric’s advantage. Hectic restarts paired with a truck that didn’t fire off on well shuffled the young driver outside the top 10 when the race settled into a long green-flag run. He was running in 13th position at the conclusion of Stage 2 on lap 110.

A round of pit stops under caution followed during the stage break on lap 112 and crew chief Doug Randolph decided to change right-side tires only, a move the put Cindric second in line to begin Stage 3 on 119. Once again, Cindric was wrestling a tight-handling truck that didn’t come up to speed quickly. He was sixth when a tap from Kaz Grala sent him for spin, bringing out the fifth and final caution of the race on lap 128. Cindric pitted on lap 130 for four tires and lined up 12th when the race went green on lap 132.

The restart and the laps that followed were kind to Cindric, as the young driver picked up three positions by lap 134. He grabbed eighth place on lap 144 and was in hot pursuit for seventh position when the race concluded.

Austin Cindric: “All in all it was a pretty good day for our Draw-Tite team. It was a solid race for us and we need to have more of them in the playoffs. I was happy with what Doug [Randolph, crew chief] and all these BKR guys gave me for the first round of the playoffs. The main thing was we didn’t have fire-off speed and couldn’t capitalize on restarts and that put us behind. Our guys made awesome pit stops all day. The No. 33 got into us and I think he did it by accident, so no hard feelings there. I don’t think it was anything malicious. It actually gave me a chance to rally back through the field.”

Starting Position: 6th

Finishing Position: 8th

Status: Running

Stage Wins: 0

Laps Led: 0

Playoff Seeding: 5th

Points Ahead of Cutoff Position: 5

No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150

Chase Briscoe and his Brad Keselowski Racing team struggled to find speed in the opening race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs, but still managed a solid day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Fighting with an extremely tight Cooper Standard Ford F-150 and facing a lugnut issue late in the race, Briscoe managed to have a clean race and bring home an 11th-place finish.

Taking the green from the ninth position, Briscoe immediately fought with his handling, reporting to crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that his No. 29 F-150 was “really, really tight.” Dropping back as far as 15th, Briscoe was scored 13th when the first stage came to an end. Briscoe’s team provided him with four tires, fuel, a spring rubber and both air-pressure and wedge adjustments. Restarting 13th on lap 63, Briscoe dropped to 14th and reported that his Cooper Standard machine was still too tight in the center.

At the conclusion of the second stage, Briscoe’s team took another swing at the truck, but while attempting to provide four fresh tires, the tire changer reported that a lugnut on the right-rear tire was flawed and could not be removed with the air wrench. Forced to make two pit stops, the team still could not remove the tire, and returned to the racetrack with one old tire for the lap 119 restart. Fortunately, a caution on lap 128 gave the opportunity for Briscoe to once again visit pit road, and the team was prepared to manually remove the offending lugnut and change the fourth tire, in addition to providing a track-bar adjustment.

Restarting 13th on lap 132, Briscoe was able to advance up to the 11th spot with 25 laps to go. Briscoe began to run impressively fast lap times, and was much faster than the trucks in front of him, but the field was too spread out for him to advance any further, and he ultimately crossed the finish line in the 11th position. Briscoe is currently seventh in the Playoff standings three points behind the sixth-place cutoff spot.

Chase Briscoe: “This wasn’t the way that we wanted to kick off our Playoffs, but it was still a solid day for our Cooper Standard team. We had a rough day, but to put it in perspective, this was our worst race of the year, handling-wise, and we still finished 11th. Our team has been really solid all year, and we can still get it done and advance to the next round. I’m really looking forward to Las Vegas. Brad Keselowski Racing finished one-two there last year, and we’re bringing our Chicagoland Ford F-150, which was really, really fast.”

Starting Position: 9th

Finishing Position: 11th

Status: Running

Stage Wins: 0

Laps Led: 0

Playoff Seeding: 7th

Points Behind Cutoff Position: 3