WATKING GLEN, N.Y. (NBC/WETM)- Austin Cindric won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International, beating AJ Allmendinger in thrilling duel that saw the lead change multiple times on the next-to-last lap before Cindric pulled away.
Cindric passed Allmendinger coming to the white flag moments after Allmendinger forced him off track in Turn 6.
“This is awesome,” Cindric told NBC. “That was fun, man. AJ was pumped, after the race he gave me the hang loose (sign). He’s such a cool guy. It was cool to be able to race him for my first win. Feels good.”
Cindric had pit from the lead with 10 laps to go. He was in position to challenge Allmendinger with fresher tires after he passed three cars on the final restart when the field slowed to avoid a sideways Christopher Bell in the esses.
“That was nuts,” Cindric said. “I didn’t know how that was going to work out, but sometimes the path clears and you’ve got to take advantage of it and we executed all day today.”
The win comes in Cindric’s 54th career Xfinity start. It is Team Penske’s first Xfinity win since last September’s race at Darlington (28 races). Cindric, 20, is the son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric.
Allmendinger, an analyst for NBC Sports, was making his second start of the year for Kaulig Racing. He led 24 of 82 laps but his car failed post-race inspection when the No. 10 Chevrolet did not meet minimum heights. Allmendinger’s had second-place finishes in both of his starts vacated due to inspection failures.