“You wouldn’t believe it, but the first text I got after the race was from Jimmie Johnson,” Cindric told NBC Sports. “I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Before my grandma, before anyone else, Jimmie Johnson was the first text in my phone.”
It was a “pretty simple” congratulatory message for Cindric’s performance in beating AJ Allmendinger to secure his first career Xfinity Series win.
“Stuff like that for me goes a long way,” Cindric said. “I think it does for most guys in my position.”
Cindric had gone 54 starts before earning his first Xfinity win and his second in a national NASCAR series. His victory was Team Penske’s first Xfinity win in 28 races.
“The goal is to be able to outrun them, not just run with them, but outrun them,” said Cindric, who added that the trio of drivers – who compete for three different teams and manufacturers – has provided a good “gauge” for his team.
Over the last three weeks Cindric has won twice, backing up the Watkins Glen triumph with a victory at his home track of Mid-Ohio. He’s the only series regular after Reddick, Bell and Custer with more than one win through 22 races.
Cindric’s hot steak continued last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Though he didn’t win, Cindric earned his third consecutive top five. That was after he won his second pole in a row, edging Kyle Busch.
Though he has nine top fives this year, Cindric said there’s “no doubt” his Bristol performance helps solidify the confidence that his team is more than just a contender on road courses.
“I don’t think that hangs over my head as much as it probably seems like it does,” Cindric said. “The road courses were going to be a strength for us this year, I don’t think that’s a secret that’s my skill set, that’s where my experience is at. At the same time, I’ve got six poles in the Xfinity Series, three of them are on ovals and three of them are on road courses. I feel like I’ve definitely got a strength in that regard.”
Now comes Road America (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN).
The series heads to the 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for its third road course in four races.
Cindric, who made his series debut there in 2017, will try to win a third straight road course race. That hasn’t been done in the Xfinity Series since Terry Labonte won at Watkins Glen from 1994-96.
He’ll also look to add to Penske’s all-time series-leading numbers on road courses in wins (12), top fives (39), poles (19) and laps led (963).
Cindric has raced on the track a half-dozen times across NASCAR, ARCA and sports cars. He says piloting a stock car around Road America requires slowing “everything down” compared to sports cars.
“You’re braking before any brake marker on the race track, which is pretty crazy,” Cindric said. “The longevity, you’ve got really long straightaways, followed up by really long brake zones and the longevity of brake pressure applied is insane there in a stock car. So you really have to time things well on a restart and in traffic. I think it’s a really easy place for guys to overshoot the braking zone. …
“I think that’s what makes driving a stock car there really difficult. But it is also a very fun track because the lap is so long that there’s so many different opportunities to pass lapped cars, lapped traffic or even find a strength or weakness in your car. I think it’s somewhere you can differentiate yourself just by putting a lap together.”
Cindric is confident enough in his abilities that he can finally master Road America and claim his third win of the month.
“You just got to mind your Ps and Qs at the beginning of it and not get caught up in the argy–bargy (British term for a an argument or disagreement) and caving your nose in. … That’s where my focus is.”
DiBenedetto, who placed second last weekend in the Cup race at Bristol, has road course finishes of fourth (Sonoma) and sixth (Watkins Glen) this year. Saturday’s race will be his first in the Xfinity Series since 2016.
“I’m excited to see what he’s got and see if we’ve got anything for him,” Cindric said.
We’re now under two weeks from the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (Sept. 1 on NBCSN), which will mark the fifth year of NASCAR’s official Throwback Weekend.
Here’s your guide to the retro paint schemes that have been announced so far for the weekend, including schemes for the Aug. 31 Xfinity Series race.
Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford – The Team Penske driver will race Rusty Wallace’s 1996 Cup Series scheme.
Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet – Dillon will boast a paint scheme that was driven by his grandfather and team owner Richard Childress in the late 1970s.
Ryan Newman, No. 6 Ford – With Oscar Mayer taking the place of Valvoline, Newman’s car will take its cue from the scheme Mark Martin raced in 1993, when he earned Roush Fenway Racing’s first Southern 500 victory.
Daniel Hemric, No. 8 Chevrolet – Hemric will drive a car inspired by the design of CAT equipment and the logo used on them from its launch in 1925 until 1931.
Chase Elliott, No. 9 Chevrolet – Elliott will boast the scheme his father, Bill Elliott, claimed his first Cup pole with in 1981 at Darlington.
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota – Hamlin’s car will evoke Darrell Waltrip’s Western Auto paint scheme from the 1990s.
Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Ford – The Team Penske driver will have a scheme inspired by Michael Waltrip’s Pennzoil car from 1991-95.
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota – Busch will pilot a Snickers-sponsored car based on Bobby Hillin’s 1990 No. 8 Snickers scheme.
Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Toyota – The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will throwback to himself with the Bass Pro Shops paint scheme he drove during his 2004 Xfinity Series championship campaign. That year he drove for Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s Chance 2 Motorsports.
Erik Jones, No. 20 Toyota – To mark his 100th Cup Series start, Jones will boast a scheme based on his rookie late model car.
Paul Menard, No. 21 Ford – Wood Brothers Racing will pay tribute to late team founder Glen Wood with the paint scheme Wood drove himself in 1957, including in his only appearance as a driver at Darlington.
William Byron, No. 24 Chevrolet – Byron will drive one of Cole Trickle’s paint schemes from the 1990 Tom Cruise movie “Days of Thunder.”
Corey LaJoie, No. 32 Ford – GoFas Racing’s car will be based on Dale Jarrett’s 1990-91 Nestle Crunch sponsored Xfinity car.
Michael McDowell, No. 34 Ford – The Front Row Motorsports driver will have a paint scheme that pays homage to the career of long-time owner and driver Jimmy Means, who was once partnered with FRM owner Bob Jenkins.
David Ragan, No. 38 Ford – The Front Row Motorsports driver will drive a scheme inspired by David Pearson’s 1969 championship car.
Bubba Wallace, No. 43 Chevrolet – Wallace’s car will be a tribute to the late Adam Petty and his 1998 ARCA win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Ryan Preece, No. 47 Chevrolet – Preece will have a tribute to modified racing legend Ron Bouchard. The scheme is based on the No. 47 Majik Market/Hawaiian Punch car Bouchard drove at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in 1984.
Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet – The car is inspired by one that Burt Reynolds’ character raced in the movie “Stroker Ace.”
Alex Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet – Bowman’s Axalta-sponsored car is inspired by Tim Richmond‘s Folger’s Coffee scheme from 1986-87.
Stewart-Haas Racing – In celebration of co-owner Tony Stewart’s election to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, three SHR drivers will have paint schemes based on the cars Stewart raced to his three Cup Series titles. Aric Almirola‘s No. 10 Ford will be based on Stewart’s 2002 car, Daniel Suarez‘s No. 41 Ford will be based on the 2005 season and Clint Bowyer‘s No. 14 Ford will look like the car Stewart drove to his 2011 title.
Cole Custer, No. 00 Ford – The Stewart-Haas Racing driver will have a throwback to Buckshot Jones’ 1997 Xfinity Series car.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Chevrolet – Earnhardt will pilot the scheme his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., drove in his first Cup start in the 1975 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Justin Haley, No. 11 Chevrolet – Kaulig Racing will boast Jeff Burton’s 1994 rookie Cup paint scheme with matching sponsorship from brake parts company Raybestos. It also serves as a tribute to team owner Matt Kaulig’s father and team chief financial officer, Bob Kaulig, who served as a vice president of Raybestos from 1985-2008.
Denny Hamlin, No. 18 Toyota – Hamlin will have a scheme based on Bill Elliott’s No. 11 Budweiser car.
Joey Gase, No. 35 Toyota – Gase’s throwback is based on the 1997 Tabasco paint scheme raced by Todd Bodine.
Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Chevrolet – Like William Byron, Clements will pilot a “Days of Thunder” paint scheme. He’ll be using Rowdy Burns’ No. 51 Exxon scheme.
Brandon Brown, No. 86 Chevrolet – Brown’s scheme is inspired by Terry Labonte’s 1993 Kellogg’s Cornflakes scheme.
Chase Briscoe, No. 98 Ford – Briscoe will pilot a scheme based on the No. 98 Ford Parnelli Jones won the 1963 Indianapolis 500 with.
The Richard Childress Racing driver raced through the field and found himself battling with Allgaier for the lead with four laps to go in the first stage. He got loose and spun while trying to make a pass, was undamaged, and drove back to the front to contend.
The defending series champion, it is Reddick’s fourth win of the season.
“I don’t know (how I won),” Reddick told NBCSN. “I thought I made the wrong adjustment there on the last (pit) stop, we have a really fast Tame the Beast Chevrolet. We had fresher tires than Justin Allgaier there. We came down pit road and it just got too tight. I thought we were done for. I don’t know what happened, everything just happened in the right spot. … As you can see, I’m speechless. I just couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Allgaier, who led 131 of 300 laps, finished in eighth. He had been trying to outlast Reddick and other drivers on older tires over the final 72 laps before he made contact with the wall. He remains winless since last September’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I don’t know how you process it, I’ll be honest with you,” Allgaier told NBCSN. “Just the story of the year. … Typical Bristol. Come out here and a have a great car. I don’t know if we could have beat (Kyle Busch) apples to apples, but when he fell out I thought especially there at the end we had the best car.”
WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Chase Briscoe finished second after bouncing back from a Lap 38 crash, a speeding penalty and a too many crew members over the wall penalty … John Hunter Nemechek placed third after he experienced a tire problem on Lap 49 … Jeremy Clement earned his third top five in 321 Xfinity starts … Gray Gaulding, sixth, earned his third top 10 in 30 Xfinity starts.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE:Cole Custer, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell were all involved in a crash on Lap 38. Jones and Logano were eliminated. Custer finished 22nd, nine laps down. Bell placed 14th, three laps down … Justin Haley’s engine expired with six laps left in Stage 1. He finished 34th … Jeb Burton placed 32nd after brake issues in Stage 2 ended his night … Brandon Jones placed 11th after he hit the wall moments after taking second place with 12 laps to go
Had an extremely fast car today and got wrecked by a guy that shouldn’t even be out there. Been a frustrating few weeks, we’ll turn it around soon… https://t.co/35HSdyjOcJ
WHAT’S NEXT: CTECH Manufacturing 180 at Road America at 3 p.m. ET Aug. 24 on NBCSN
#NASCAR … @JClements51 was 4th. The series heads next to @roadamerica (where he won in '17). Jeremy on going to Road America: "It wouldn't matter if we wrecked & finished last, I'd still be pumped up to go to Road America. I'm ready to kick their ass. That's a place we can win"
#NASCAR … @JClements51 said the car he finished 4th with is a car they got from @CGRTeams in the offseason. They've raced this car and another all year (except for Daytona and Talladega and the road courses). Car was wrecked at Iowa, ran New Hampshire and then tonight
#NASCAR … @TimmyHillRacer on alliance with @Hattori_Racing & @MBMMotorsports (it started this week). That helped him finish 7th. How? "It … gave us a little more tires. Normally we're running on 40-50-lap scuff tires. That certainly helped tonight to have fresh tires."