Brad Keselowski Racing Post-Race Report: Martinsville Speedway II
No. 19 Fitzgerald Glider Kits F-150
Austin Cindric stayed in the thick of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs with a 10th-place finish in Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
Cindric claimed his 13th top-10 finish of the season and moved up to fifth in the series championship standings, 11 points behind the fourth-place Ben Rhodes. He continues to be remarkably consistent, scoring his 11th top-10 finish in the last 12 races and fourth consecutive. Cindric claimed his best finish in three Martinsville starts and his first top-10. He also grabbed his fourth top-10 finish on a short track this season.
Cindric started sixth in the 200-lap race, also a personal best at the 0.526-mile Virginia speedway. He moved into the bottom lane on the initial start of the race, falling into line seventh and remained there until the conclusion of Stage 1 on lap 50. He made his first pit stop on lap 54 for four tires and adjustments to loosen up his truck on corner exit. He restarted 18th when the race went green on lap 61 due to a variety of different pit strategies by his competitors.
Cindric used the laps following the restart to move into the preferred bottom lane. He settled into the 20th position and remained there until Stage 2 ended on lap 100. Cindric made his final pit stop on lap 104 for four tires and more adjustments to free up his tight-handling truck. Speedy service on pit lane moved him up to 13th when the race went green on lap 112.
Over the final 88 laps, Cindric picked his way cleanly through three cautions and managed each of the ensuing restarts as the intensity of the race increased, thanks to the improved handling condition of his truck. He lined up 10th for the final restart on lap 191 and held firm to the position over the final nine laps, despite the disadvantage of restarting in the outside lane.
Austin Cindric: “It was a solid finish by our Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford F-150 team and we moved up one spot in the championship standings. I’m happy with it. We have a pretty clean truck, all things considered. I think we got the most out of it today and we need to keep having races like this. I was glad we qualified well and we had a really good recovery, thanks to great pit stops. Doug [Randolph, crew chief] made a few tire pressure adjustments during the race and those were really good calls.”
Starting Position: 6th
Finishing Position: 10th
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 0
Playoff Seeding: 6th
Points Behind Cutoff: 11
No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150
A seesaw day for Chase Briscoe at Martinsville Speedway started with his third pole of the season and ended a lap down in the 19th-position with heavy left-side damage. Despite having the fastest truck in the opening stage of the 200-lap race, a tight condition and late-race contact prevented Briscoe and the No. 29 team from scoring a solid finish.
Reunited with interim crew chief Buddy Sisco, Briscoe kicked off Saturday with a 19.774-second qualifying lap, which earned the driver of the Cooper Standard Ford F-150 his third pole of 2017. Once the green flag waved, Briscoe led the field for 39 laps before relinquishing the point position under caution to visit pit road. Sisco called for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment, and Briscoe returned to the track in the 10th position behind a group of trucks that opted not to pit. Briscoe closed out the first stage in the ninth position, and advanced up to fourth for the restart on lap 61.
Briscoe held the fourth spot for all but five laps of the second stage, and was running fifth at its conclusion. The team’s initial strategy was to run the remainder of the race without another pit stop, but Sisco and his driver knew that they were just shy of the speed they needed to win the race. Briscoe brought his truck in for service under caution, taking four tires, fuel, and both wedge and track-bar adjustments.
Briscoe returned to the track for the final stage in the eighth position, and was hoping to slice his way back to the front in the final 89 laps. Briscoe dropped back to the 11th position while stuck in the less-desirable outside lane, and the racing became dicey further back in the pack, with competitors going three-wide on the narrow track. As the trucks around him grew more aggressive, a chain reaction knocked Briscoe into a spin, which resulted in heavy left-side contact with the outside wall. The team was able to make suitable repairs to the No. 29 machine, but Briscoe was mired a lap down in the 24th position when racing resumed on lap 144. Unfortunately, Briscoe was unable to regain his lap and make up much ground, and he ultimately crossed the finish line in the 19th position.
Chase Briscoe: “Buddy Sisco and this Brad Keselowski Racing team built me a really fast Cooper Standard Ford F-150. We really focused on bringing better trucks here, and to get the pole is definitely a big deal. I just wish we could have gotten a better finish. We were fast early in the race, but then started to get tight in the middle and we lost forward drive during the second stage. We lost track position on our second pit stop and that put us back with guys who were getting a little impatient and taking it three wide. That’s how we got on the losing end of a chain reaction and got some heavy left-side damage. There wasn’t a whole lot we could do once we were a lap down without a well-timed caution. We’ve still got three races we can win before the end of the season, and we all feel really good about Texas next week. Hopefully we can finish out this season on a high note.”
Starting Position: 1st16th
Finishing Position: 19th3rd
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 39
Points Position: 7th