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Austin Cindric ready for consistency in sophomore Xfinity season

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The landscape for Austin Cindric in 2019 is much different than what he faced last season as a rookie in the Xfinity Series.

Quite simply, it’ll be a less chaotic atmosphere for the 20-year-old who will drive Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford full-time in Xfinity.

“Continuity is important,” Cindric told NBC Sports Monday during a media event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “Having the one team the entire year is a crucial point for me, having to have that continuity, not only on the track but off the track on the sponsorship side. I feel very lucky to have that kind of opportunity.”

2018 saw Cindric split time between Team Penske and Roush Fenway Racing, driving the No. 22 and No. 12 for Penske and sharing Roush’s No. 60 with two other drivers.

“You’d show up at the race track just knowing all your stuff is stored, (that) you’d fit in the car,” Cindric said. “You have somewhat of a practice plan. A lot of time it was busy work throughout the week to make sure you’re prepared enough to get in and go.

“Having 12 different primary sponsors throughout the year, racing with three different teams, five different crew chiefs. It’s still a great position to be in during a full season, but obviously best case scenario is what I got on the slate this year.”

Cindric finished 10th in the standings in a season where he earned seven top fives and 13 top 10s – all with Penske – and experienced seven DNFs.

Now he’s preparing for a full slate in the No. 22 with crew chief Brian Wilson. Wilson was on the No. 22 last year and also worked with Cindric for one ARCA Racing Series race in 2017.

Together, they will be Penske’s first full-time Xfinity effort since Sam Hornish Jr. and Greg Erwin in 2013.

“Brian and I have a really good relationship,” Cindric said. “I think we both understand each other really well. So to be able to apply that in the full-scale is going to be really important. I feel very comfortable working together. Both of us have confidence in what we’re both capable of. Now it’s time to go apply it.”

Where does Cindric see himself needing to focus on more this year?

“Part of it is learning the cars, but also what to focus on in practice to make our lives a lot easier in the race, give ourselves an adjustable package,” Cindric said. “Racing wise it’s definitely a step up. It’s a step closer to the Cup level … the driver caliber is definitely a step higher. To learn from guys like that and apply it to my own driving is pretty important.”

In addition to the limited presence of Cup drivers, Cindric’s sophomore effort in Xfinity will come against a formidable field of series regulars.

“You look at guys like Justin Allgaier, who has been around this for a long time and obviously he had probably a career year last year, and guys like Christopher Bell and Cole Custer coming in for a (second and third year respectively),” Cindric said. “Then you have obviously (defending champion) Tyler Reddick.

“It’s an amazing pointy end of the field. The pointy end is pretty wide. I’d like to hope we’re a part of that.”

Saturday schedule for Xfinity, Truck Series

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The Xfinity Series competes at Road America today while the Gander Outdoors Truck Series begins its weekend in Canada.

wunderground.com forecasts sunny skies and a high of 70 degrees at the start of the Xfinity race.

The forecast for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is for sunny skies, a high of 71 degrees and a 10% chance of rain.

Here’s the day’s full schedule with TV and radio info.

Saturday, Aug. 24

Road America

8 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

11:40 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying; multi-car/two rounds (NBC Sports App live, NBCSN to air it at 1:30 p.m.)

1:35 p.m. – Driver-crew chief meeting

2:30 p.m. – Driver introductions

3 p.m. – CTECH Manufacturing 180; 45 laps/182.16 miles (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Truck garage open

9:35 – 10:25 a.m. ET – Truck practice (No TV)

11:35 – 12:55 p.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV)

Report: Justin Allgaier returning to JR Motorsports in 2020

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Justin Allgaier confirmed to Catchfence.com Friday that he will remain with JR Motorsports in 2020.

It will be Allgaier’s fifth season in the Xfinity Series with JRM.

“I will be back next year. Same deal,” Allgaier told Catchfence.com “Everything is good. We’re doing the same thing next that we are doing right now.”

Allgaier, 33, is fourth is the point standings entering this weekend’s race at Road America (3 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN).

Allgaier is the only driver in the top six in points without a win this year.

 

Xfinity Series practice report from Road America

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Christopher Bell was fastest in the final Xfinity Series practice Friday at Road America.

Bell posted a top speed of 108.562 mph around the road course.

The top five was completed by Matt DiBenedetto (108.106 mph), AJ Allmendinger (108.091), Justin Haley (107.927) and Cole Custer (107.895).

Chase Briscoe recorded the most laps in the session with 19.

The session was stopped with about 50 minutes left for a hard crash by Brandon Jones exiting Turn 11. Jones will go to a backup car for Saturday’s race.

Just before Jones’ wreck, the left-rear truck arm mount broke on Jeremy Clements‘ No. 51 Chevrolet and his car stalled on the track.

The red flag was brought out for the second time when Preston Pardus’ No. 43 Chevrolet stalled on the track. His car then stalled a second time in the final minute of the session.

The session had a third red flag when Josh Williams‘ car stalled on the track.

Click here for the practice report.

First Practice

Bell was fastest, posting a top speed of 108.559 mph around the road course.

The top five was completed by defending race winner Justin Allgaier (108.530 mph), Cindric (108.346), DiBenedetto (108.139) and Allmendinger (107.967).

Chase Briscoe recorded the most laps with 14.

The session was stopped once for debris with 35 minutes left in the session.

Minor incidents in the session included Noah Gragson briefly going off course and a spin by Dexter Bean.

Click here for the practice report.

Updated entry lists for Xfinity, Truck Series this weekend

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While the NASCAR Cup Series will be off this weekend, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any racing.

On the contrary, the Xfinity Series will be racing Saturday at Road America and the Truck Series will compete Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Here are the entry lists for both series:

Xfinity – CTECH Manufacturing 180 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 38 cars entered.

Regan Smith will be in the No. 8 J.R. Motorsports Chevrolet.

A.J. Allmendinger will drive the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

Saturday’s Cup runner-up, Matt DiBenedetto, will drive the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Ryan Vargas is entered in JD Motorsports’ No. 4 Chevrolet for his second start of the year.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Chevrolet Silverado 250 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on FS1)

There are only 29 Trucks listed for the entry list. A full field would be 32 trucks.

Alex Tagliani is entered in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota for his first start of the year.

Dylan Lupton is entered in Young’s Motorsports’ No. 20 Chevrolet.

Click here for the entry list.

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