Austin Cindric is the first NASCAR Xfinity Series driver to hit three wins in 2021. After working his way through the field for much of Saturday’s Drydene 200 at Dover International Speedway, he took the lead with 51 laps to go and drove off to the victory.
Daniel Hemric and Darlington winner Justin Allgaier started on the front row while Cindric, who was involved in a final-lap wreck last week, was mired back in sixteenth. Zane Smith started at the back ninth in his first Xfinity start since 2019 as he was filling in for Justin Haley, who was out due to COVID-19 protocol.
Hemric led the first lap before Allgaier took the lead and dominated the entire first stage. The segment featured two cautions: a competition yellow on lap 22 and a lap 33 wreck between Riley Herbst and Truck Series points leader John Hunter Nemechek, also returning to the Xfinity Series after two years away. Nevertheless, Nemechek was able to bounce back from the incident to finish tenth in the stage. Josh Berry, A.J. Allmendinger, Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs, Cindric, and Ryan Sieg also recorded top-ten stage runs.
Allgaier led the field to start the second stage. After four laps, a bizarre wreck occurred on the backstretch that saw Jesse Little hit the inside wall before Matt Jaskol spun into him and rested on top of his hood. Josh Williams was also involved as the crash resulted in a red flag. Smith and Jones brought out another caution on lap 69, and the ensuing restart saw Berry take the lead from his JR Motorsports team-mate. Series newcomer Kyle Sieg‘s accident on lap 86 resulted in the stage ending under yellow as Berry led Allgaier, Cindric, Allmendinger, Burton, Gragson, Michael Annett, Nemechek, Gibbs, and Herbst.
The final stage saw Allgaier continue to lead before Berry overtook him on lap 114. The two battled for the position throughout the stage before a caution for fluid came out on lap 140. Allgaier led the first five laps in the ensuing restart before being passed by Cindric.
Cindric would storm off to his third win of the year and first at Dover ahead of Berry, who prevented a Dash 4 Cash sweep by team-mate Gragson, and Berry.
“It is hard to believe but starting sixteenth at this joint, it isn’t easy to pass,” said Cindric. “We just kept at it the whole time. We made the right adjustments on pit stops and I feel like I have learned a lot about this race track, enough to get the Car Shop Ford Mustang into Victory Lane. […]
“Every win means so much and everyone that is in this series—I have the unique opportunity to know what I am doing in the future. I respect the guys that I am racing around are trying to get to the top level. I know I have that for me down the road but I have to bring that same energy that I am racing against. These wins are really hard to come by. It sucks that we have had some bad races recently that make this one feel so much better. This is my favorite race track that we go to.”
Smith finished thirty-sixth in backup duties for Haley, while Sieg ended his Xfinity début two spots ahead of him.