Cindric Leads Team BKR’s Top-10 Finishes at Pocono

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Brad Keselowski Racing Post-Race Report: Pocono Raceway

No. 19 LTi Printing Ford F-150

The official results from the Overton’s 150 at Pocono Raceway will list Austin Cindric with a seventh-place finish. And while those numbers are certainly respectable, the circumstances that the driver of the No. 19 LTi Printing Ford F-150 overcame to post a solid finish at Pocono were impressive.

His weekend began with more than his share of frustrations during practice on Friday afternoon. Cindric ran just two laps in the first practice before he tagged the outside wall off Turn 1 thanks to a cut tire. The crew quickly prepared his backup Ford F-150 for final practice, but he was unable to make a lap at speed due to mechanical gremlins in the truck’s drive train.  A thorough check by the team found no serious issues, but an afternoon downpour ended final practice before Cindric could return to the track.

Without a practice lap at speed, Cindric made a rather conservative run during qualifying on Saturday morning to earn the 17th-place starting spot for the 60-lap, 150-mile race. He completed Stage 1 right where he started, mainly because his truck was too tight. Cindric pitted on lap 17 for four tires and major adjustments, and he restarted 17th when the race went green on lap 21.

With a much-improved truck, Cindric steadily worked his way through traffic during Stage 2.  He gained three positions on the restart and then picked off four spots on lap 27 to move up to ninth.  At the conclusion of the stage, crew chief Doug Randolph made the decision to pit for four tires and no adjustments. Excellent pit work returned Cindric to the track in 12th position, despite the fact many of his fellow competitors chose to change only two tires.

The race went green on lap 36, and over the next 11 laps, Cindric picked his way through the final two cautions and chaotic restarts, climbing up to seventh as the event entered its closing laps. Cindric did an admirable job holding off Cody Coughlin over the final 10 miles to bring his truck home in the seventh position. The young rookie racked up his fourth-consecutive top 10 and held firm to the 10th position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings.

Austin Cindric: “I think Doug did a great job leaving some adjustability in our backup LTi Printing Ford-150, given the fact that we didn’t do a lap in it. I’ve got to thank all the BKR guys for having everything so well-prepared for me to be able to have a run like that and battle back to finish seventh. Our pit crew did an awesome job getting us spots on pit road. I feel like I’ve definitely learned what it takes to have a clean race. We stayed out of trouble and had a good finish. It stinks to have a tire go down in the first few laps of practice, because I felt like our primary truck was going to be really strong, but we worked really hard to get the most out of our situation.”

Starting Position: 17th

Finishing Position: 7th

Status: Running

Stage Wins: 0

Laps Led: 0

Driver Point Standings: 10th

Points Behind Final Playoff Position: 62

No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150

Chase Briscoe continued his quest for his first NCWTS win of the season at Pocono, one of the six tracks where he was victorious in the ARCA Racing Series last year. Unfortunately, late-race contact cost the team track position, and despite rallying to make up 11 positions on the final run, the rookie ran out of laps before he could crack into the top five.

Taking the green flag from the fifth position, Briscoe quickly radioed crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that his No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 was really free in the tunnel turn. Briscoe was sixth when the first stage ended on lap 15, and took the opportunity to visit pit road for four tires, fuel and both wedge and air-pressure adjustments.

Briscoe restarted sixth, gaining one position before the caution flag indicated the conclusion of the second segment. Once again, Briscoe reported that his F-150 was free in the tunnel turn, as well as Turn 3, so he returned to the pits for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. Several competitors opted not to come in for service, which put Briscoe in the 11th position when the final stage began.

On lap 41 of the 60-lap race, Briscoe was in the eighth position when Kaz Grala and Noah Gragson came together, squeezing the nose of the No. 29 and causing enough damage that the team believed it was necessary to visit pit road for repairs. Briscoe’s Cooper Standard crew massaged out the wrinkled fenders and headlights of his truck, in addition to providing fresh tires, putting him in the 20th position for the final green flag with only 15 laps remaining.

Briscoe made an impressive run through traffic despite the truck’s damage, gaining 11 positions and climbing up to ninth before the wave of the checkered flag. He collected his seventh top 10 in 11 starts this season. Briscoe remains third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver point standings and continues to lead the Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle.

Chase Briscoe: “Today was a tough day. I think we definitely had a top-five truck, and with the right strategy and clean air, we could have made something happen, but getting in the middle of that accident near the end really hurt us. We were running three wide and the very front of my Cooper Standard Ford F-150 got sandwiched between the No. 18 (Gragson) and No. 33 (Grala) when they got together. It was just enough damage to make us have to come to pit road and give up our top-10 track position. Our next race is in Ford and Cooper Standard’s backyard in Michigan, so hopefully we can get our first win in front of those folks.”

Starting Position: 5th

Finishing Position: 9th

Status: Running

Stage Wins: 0

Laps Led: 0

Driver Point Standings: 3rd

Points Behind Leader: 58