“Survive” says Cindric who starts 2nd and finishes 2nd in a wild day in Sunday’s Verizon 200

INDIANAPOLIS — The box score for Sunday’s Verizon 200 says Austin Cindric started 2nd in his No. 2 Ford and finished there too. But it was far from a typical day for the Team Penske driver. It was borderline chaotic. To come home 2nd with a car capable more of a top 10 than a top 5 says Cindric, that he’ll take it a run away to Michigan with it.

“Wow no other form of motorsports no other race it’s ever been put on at this place other than NASCAR man that’s that’s all I can say to describe it,” Cindric said of his 4th top 5 finish of the season. “On paper it looks good started second finish second but just a lot deeper than that and it’s still a 2nd place finish.”

Cindric says that he was shocked to have a chance for a win there and wished that Ross Chastain would have opened up a bit of a hole there for him to contend with Tyler Reddick in the closing laps in overtime.

“I had a lot of toe damage from the from the restart prior and just glad to come out unscathed,” he says.

Cindric said that NASCAR at IMS has become more of a heavyweight boxing match rather than a race. You have to take restarts differently here now.

“The last time I’ve been a part of something like that is rallycross, it’s kind of a contact sport,” Cindric said. You know, I figured it’d be a bit that way with not having steel fenders anymore but that was a lot.

“It’s survival. I mean, the restarts I’d solely positioned myself in the brake zone to make sure you don’t get wiped out. There’s certainly some luck involved, not being on the outside is one of them, but also making sure you don’t have too much wheel to wheel contact. Like I said, I’m only control so much. I felt like they got a bit fortunate with the last one. Pretty sure I got shoved all the way down in the brake zone. I thought it wasn’t gonna work out well. It cleaned out. A lot of guys and I finished.

“Yeah, I knew I knew I wanted to be on the bottom. I feel like that was gonna be the safest place to be because it just keeps going that way into Turn 4 (oval). I got my rear completely locked. I’m pretty sure I got shoved all the way into the corner. Then everybody else ended up in grass and I ended up 2nd.

“I mean, there was certainly an opportunity and you know I approached the last restart like man I don’t want to get eaten up because I have all this damage.

“We learned a lot today. We tried a lot of new things this weekend and I think raw speed check race ability not so much.”

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JULY 31: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 3CHI Chevrolet, Austin Cindric, driver of the #2 Discount Tire Ford, Chase Briscoe, driver of the #14 HighPoint.com Ford, and Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 CRAFTSMAN Racing for a Miracle Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 31, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

As far as what you do in the car to plan for the final restart?

“Survive,” he says. That’s all you can do.

“You know when we when we got out of the first restart, I was always shaking the car around because my brakes were really unstable,” Cindric said. “So that caution kind of gave me time to kind up with a game plan kind of adjusted my tools to figure out how to not get eaten up but then you get a gift in front of you and you’re running behind the 2 leaders at the end of the race. I was really hoping the 1 car would kind of force the issue and shove them both off the track or at least give me an opportunity but I never had one.”

Cindric now has 5 top 7 finishes in the last 7 races and starting to heat back up again for a fight for this year’s championship as a rookie.

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