Austin Cindric was simply too smooth, too consistent and flat-out too good down the closing stretch of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Pennzoil 150 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course as he powered to his fifth win of the 2021 season.
Cindric, who led a race-high 29 laps, held off a furious pack of talented road racers including AJ Allmendinger, who finished second. As Cindric coasted around on his victory lap, he sang Back Home Again in Indiana over the team radio.
“Unbelievable,” Cindric said after climbing from his No. 22 car. “First of all, I have to thank Roger Penske for every opportunity that I’ve had in my career. Every opportunity that he’s given you race fans to enjoy this beautiful weekend, with three race series.”
Cindric nearly won this race a year ago, until he was topped in a dramatic finish by Chase Briscoe. A year later, Cindric gets to experience the spoils of Indianapolis’ victory lane.
“I can’t even put into words what it means to win at Indianapolis,” Cindric exclaimed.
For Allmendinger, who finished 2 seconds behind Cindric, he placed the blame on his own shoulders.
“Kaulig Racing needed a better driver today, quite honestly,” Allmendinger said. “I messed up way too much early, got us way off track, and then — you know, it’s tough sometimes with these road courses in the Xfinity Series with the way the Stages line up. Because you either win the Stage and then you’re kind of hurt for the next Stage.”
Allmendinger started from the pole, but by the end of the first lap of the race, he had fallen outside the top-five after going off course a couple of times.
Behind Cindric and Allmendinger was Justin Haley in third.
Chase Elliott, who was a last minute replacement for Michael Annett, who is still healing from a stress fracture in his femur, finished fourth.
Noah Gragson rounded out the top-five finishers in the No. 9 JR Motorsports entry.
Austin Dillon, Myatt Snider, Riley Herbst, Harrison Burton and Andy Lally capped off the top-10 in the race.
For Herbst, a top-10 finish, coupled with Michael Annett not being in the field, was enough to move him into the Playoff field. Herbst now holds a 10-point advantage over Annett for the final Playoff spot with five races left until the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs begin.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.