Brad Keselowski Racing NCWTS Post-Race Report: Bristol Motor Speedway
No. 19 Fitzgerald Glider Kits F-150
Austin Cindric rallied from a mid-pack starting position to claim a ninth-place finish in the UNOH 200 Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Cindric reeled off his sixth consecutive top 10 and third in a row on a short track. He remains 10th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings, 55 points behind the final playoff position.
The start of the 203-lap race was delayed over two hours for an evening thunderstorm, with the field getting the green flag at 10:45 p.m. Cindric started 18th and picked off two positions on the initial start. He was running 16th at the time of the first caution on lap 25. Crew chief Doug Randolph made the call for Cindric to pit on lap 27 for four tires, and the young driver restarted 23rd on lap 30.
The driver of the Fitzgerald Ford F-150 steadily worked his way through traffic during the final laps of Stage 1, climbing up to 17th by its conclusion on lap 55. Cindric cycled into the race lead during the stage break when others on the lead lap pitted on lap 62. He began Stage 2 as the race leader and ran well during the 55-lap segment, finishing in third position. He made a four-tire stop on lap 115 during the stage break, and speedy service on the pit lane by the Fitzgerald team enabled Cindric to restart second for the start of Stage 3 on lap 120.
Cindric fell in line third on the restart, and ran sixth for much of the following green flag run, a 75-lap stretch that saw him wrestle a tight handling truck and lapped traffic. He was ninth when the fifth and final caution waved on lap 196, a yellow flag that pushed the finish of the race into overtime. Cindric stopped one lap later for four tires and lined up eighth for the final two-lap dash to the finish.
Shortly after the wave of the green flag, Cindric was split three-wide in traffic. Although he bounced off his competitors in the frantic dash to the finish, Cindric brushed away the contact and claimed ninth-place at the checkered flag.
Austin Cindric: “Bristol is a lot of fun and we had a good, solid night with our Fitzgerald Ford F-150. We had another really good team effort. Our truck was really strong truck and we made the right moves, plus we executed well as a team. I felt like we had another solid team effort and clicked off another top 10. The big lesson for me was working lapped traffic. I feel like that’s where I gave up some spots tonight, and it’s something I will improve on when I come back next time.”
Starting Position: 18th
Finishing Position: 9th
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 3
Driver Point Standings: 10th
Points Behind Final Playoff Position: 55
No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150
Chase Briscoe and the No. 29 Cooper Standard team struggled to find the speed they needed at Bristol Motor Speedway, fighting to overcome a disappointing starting spot and battling a tight condition on exit. However, Briscoe and his BKR team fought until the end to get the most out of the event and ultimately brought home a 12th-place finish.
Briscoe had a steep hill to climb after a 15th-place qualifying run put him deep in the field at a place where track position is critical. Immediately, Briscoe’s spotter TJ Majors could see that the No. 29 was “really a handful,” and the Cooper Standard machine dropped to 21st by the time the yellow flag waved on lap 25. Reporting that he was loose in and tight off the corners, Briscoe’s crew provided him with four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment, putting him 25th for the lap 30 green flag. No longer free into the corners, Briscoe was able to advance to the 22nd position before the conclusion of the first stage.
Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. made the strategic call to remain on the track under yellow, putting Briscoe in the second spot when green-flag racing resumed on lap 65. Briscoe stated that his handling had improved with adjustments, but he was still very tight center off, and he dropped to 12th over the course of the entirely-green second segment. Briscoe asked Hillman to give his truck more security, and the Cooper Standard team provided him with four tires, fuel and both air-pressure and track-bar adjustments.
Briscoe restarted 11th, and after struggling initially, he was running lap times mirroring the leaders by the end of the long 75-lap green-flag run. Hillman decided to see what Briscoe could do with fresh tires in the final sprint to the overtime finish, and he called his driver to pit road for four Goodyears and an additional chassis adjustment.
Unfortunately, not enough laps remained for Briscoe to take advantage of his tires, and a setback on the final restart ultimately resulted in a 12th-place finish. Briscoe remains fourth in the championship standings and sits solidly ahead of the cutoff to make the playoffs.
Chase Briscoe: “Tonight was a challenge; we just didn’t have the truck we needed, and our track position from qualifying really hurt us. My Cooper Standard Ford F-150 was really tight center off. As soon as I got off the gas, it would just plow up the racetrack. I never would have believed you if you’d told me that this was the place our team would struggle. The positive that we can take from tonight is that I learned a lot and really got a feel for the top of the racetrack by the end. This certainly wasn’t the race we would have wanted, but we have to focus on the big picture.”
Starting Position: 15th
Finishing Position: 12th
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings: 4th
Points Ahead of Playoff Cutoff: 82