It was a battle Austin Cindric was sure he wasn’t going to win, but he sure did try.
That battle was for the lead, with 20 laps to go and against Cole Custer, arguably the quickest driver in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 from Richmond Raceway.
And though rain was hitting windshields and dampening TV cameras, the race continued on long enough for Custer to overtake Cindric for the race lead with 20 laps to go. After taking the lead on a restart with 30 to go, Cindric knew what was on the table.
“I knew I had my money cut out for me,” Cindric said. “If I at least got the restart, it gave me the chance to win it on rain or something happening.”
Falling victim to the No. 00, Cindric still managed to take the checkered flag in second place, the best oval finish of his Xfinity Series career.
“I think we overachieved today,” he said. “We could fire off on restarts great. [Custer’s] car was just more balanced and had more complete-run speed. The fact he was able to fire off on older tires and still hold the lead was pretty impressive.”
With his third top five of the year, Cindric is happy to see race-winning speed through the opening eight races of 2019.
“It is great to be able to capitalize on what was a better short-run car tonight,” he said. “We will come back here in the playoffs for an important race in the first round with a good notebook.
“I tried my best on that restart to hold [Custer] off but they were obviously the class of the field. We had some fun and got some points.”
Cindric is now eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus in two weeks at Talladega Superspeedway, where he will race for $100,000.
“We will move on to Talladega for the MoneyLion 300. That will be a big one for me,” he said. “I would love to win that race and the Dash for Cash at Talladega.
“This is a long season. We’re eight races in and if we have more days like this, we’re going to be a serious contender.”