NASCAR Xfinity Series

Austin Cindric pulls away from overtime chaos, wins Call 811 Before You Dig 200

5 Mins read
Credit: Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Phoenix Raceway was a tale of two halves: the first two stages only featured one caution flag for an on-track incident, while the final segment was riddled by chaos and even a gesture that is certainly not family friendly. Excluding the competition caution and two stage break yellow flags, the Call 811 Before You Dig 200 featured seven cautions for race-related wrecks. By the end, Austin Cindric escaped further carnage in overtime to win his second race of the year.

Daniel Hemric started on the pole ahead of Brandon Jones. Michael Annett and Ryan Vargas were sent to the rear after failing inspection twice, while Whelen Euro Series regular Loris Hezemans went to the back due to a driver change as Chad Finchum was initially listed as the driver of MBM Motorsports‘ #13.

Cindric, who started third, took the lead on the first lap and held it for the entire opening stage. The segment’s lone caution was for the competition yellow on lap 22, though Jesse Little hit the wall in turn three on the final lap and ended his race in last. Jones, Harrison Burton, Hemric, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, Justin Haley, Jeb Burton, Michael Annett, and Ty Gibbs also recorded stage points.

Hemric became the leader as the second stage began, but green-flag racing only lasted two laps before Dexter Bean spun in turn four for the first race-related caution of the day. Still seeking his first NASCAR win, Hemric stayed in front for the rest of the stage to take the green-checkered flag. Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate H. Burton finished behind him, followed by Allgaier, Cindric, Haley, J. Burton, last week’s winner A.J. Allmendinger, Josh Berry, Gibbs, and Jones.

Allgaier led the field to the start of the final segment, and hell eventually broke loose beginning with Tommy Joe Martins and Vargas’ wreck on lap 125. Further cautions came when Burton spun on lap 133, Brett Moffitt spun on lap 144, Berry went around on lap 149, and Allmendinger and Jones wrecked together on lap 167.

“Had a run, tried to jump to the outside but there was nothing but marbles just outside the groove,” Vargas wrote on Twitter afterward. “A move that didn’t work and a mistake I’ll never let myself live down. Dang.”

“I know the sun was in our eyes pretty bad off of turn two, but I just got ran over,” Jones explained regarding his crash with Allmendinger. “[…] I hate it for everybody who puts effort into it, but it looks like I just got ran over by A.J. I’ll keep a notebook of all of this stuff and use it in the future.”

Berry’s incident came shortly after cutting his tyre while racing Santino Ferrucci. Berry responded by flashing double middle fingers at Ferrucci as he drove by. The gesture drew raucous laughter from the FS1 booth, while Autoweek and Short Track Scene writer Matt Weaver tweeted, “Josh Berry is every reason why NASCAR needs a little more short track personality injected into it.” Ferrucci would finish fifteenth in his third race as a NASCAR driver, while Berry and his JR Motorsports team-mates endured an unusually difficult day as all but one (Allgaier) would finish thirty-sixth or worse.

“Car was great, had to pit for a loose wheel and got us behind and wrecked,” Berry tweeted after the race. “Not proud of my reaction but I have worked my whole life for these 12 races so they mean a little more than most. Onto Atlanta. We are only getting better every week.”

Credit: Brad Perez (@bradxperez)

Amid the chaos, Cindric and Jones would be the only drivers to lead laps under green. The former took the lead on lap 147 and kept it through the final caution on lap 193 for Alex Labbé‘s wreck, which set up overtime.

The first lap of overtime was marked by additional chaos when Cindric pulled ahead with Allgaier in tow. Haley and Hemric hit the wall in turn three, while Allgaier’s hopes were dashed when he also collided with the wall and knocked him off the pace. Facing little opposition, Cindric drove off to his second win of the year, second at Phoenix, and tenth of his career. The win ties Cindric with Robert Pressley on the all-time Xfinity win list; incidentally, Pressley’s son Coleman is Cindric’s spotter.

Cindric described overtime as “a bit of a role reversal” from the final restart in the 2020 Phoenix fall race to determine the championship, which Cindric ultimately won after again holding off Algaier: “Instead of me picking the line right behind Allgaier to keep the enemy close, he did the same thing to me today. It was interesting to see the role reversal and he did a great job on the restart with his launch there. I definitely want to go back and study that.

“[…] The caution did not play into my hands but the caution laps definitely did because I felt like we were really bad on the splitter for the first five laps and were really vulnerable. I was worried I was going to get eaten up there and obviously we had the buffer to manage it.”

Gibbs finished second to continue his exceptional start to his Xfinity career with an average finish of 1.5 after two races; he won in his series début on the Daytona road course in February. Riley Herbst scored his first top five of the season in fourth for a strong rebound after a difficult start to his Stewart-Haas Racing tenure. Allgaier was the lone JRM driver to finish in the top half of the field as he ended his day in eighth. Blaine PerkinsXfinity début with Our Motorsports saw him finish twenty-fourth, while Hezemans finished thirty-first in his first Xfinity race since 2019.

Brandon Brown and Bayley Currey scored career-best finishes in third and seventh, respectively; the latter enjoyed his first career Xfinity top ten and his first such finish in a national series since he recorded a sixth-place run in the 2019 Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan. Currey also notched Mike Harmon Racing‘s second top ten in their history after team-mate Kyle Weatherman finished eighth at Kentucky in 2020.

“That was awesome,” Brown shared in a Twitter video. “I mean, everybody going four or five wide, just incredible. I am over the moon that we were able to keep it stuck down on the bottom and kind of avoid some of the bigger incidents, stay in it. The track stayed green and we were able to capitalise with a third-place finish. We’re getting so much closer to knocking down that first win.”

Race results

1322Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord200Running
22754Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota200Running
31168Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
43098Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord200Running
5416A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet200Running
6610Jeb BurtonKaulig RacingChevrolet200Running
72974Bayley CurreyMike Harmon RacingChevrolet200Running
8127Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
92002Brett Moffitt*Our MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
101351Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet200Running
11192Myatt SniderRichard Childress RacingChevrolet200Running
123317J.J. YeleyRick Ware RacingChevrolet200Running
13720Harrison BurtonJoe Gibbs RacingToyota200Running
143966Timmy HillMBM MotorsportsToyota200Running
151426Santino FerrucciSam Hunt RacingToyota200Running
162415Colby HowardJD MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
171544Tommy Joe MartinsMartins MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
183599Stefan ParsonsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
19210Jeffrey EarnhardtJD MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
203248Jade BufordBig Machine RacingChevrolet200Running
211792Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet200Running
22184Landon CassillJD MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
23118Daniel HemricJoe Gibbs RacingToyota200Running
242823Blaine PerkinsOur MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
251607Joe Graf Jr.SS-Green Light RacingChevrolet200Running
26511Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet199Running
273452Gray GauldingJimmy Means RacingChevrolet199Running
283761David StarrMBM MotorsportsToyota199Running
292290Dexter BeanDGM RacingChevrolet198Running
30256Ryan VargasJD MotorsportsChevrolet197Running
314013Loris HezemansMBM MotorsportsChevrolet195Running
323636Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet194Running
33219Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota165Accident
342647Kyle WeathermanMike Harmon RacingChevrolet164Running
35385Matt MillsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet157Running
3698Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet146Accident
373139Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord133Accident
3881Michael AnnettJR MotorsportsChevrolet93Engine
39109Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet67Engine
402378Jesse LittleB.J. McLeod MotorsportsToyota44Accident
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points
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History major at San Jose State University and lifelong motorsports fan who covers NASCAR and the Stadium Super Trucks.
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