SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — Austin Cindric won the first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Kentucky Speedway, charging past Chase Briscoe on an overtime restart Thursday night for his first victory of the season and first on an oval.
Cindric spent most of the first two stages chasing Noah Gragson, the pole-sitter who seemed poised to dominate all three segments. Cindric then took charge on a series of restarts in Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang. On the last one, he went around Briscoe on the outside and pulled away before a last-lap wreck ended the race.
The 21-year-old Cindric had eight top-10s on ovals before breaking through on the 1.5-mile Kentucky layout. His only other series victories came last year on road courses at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio.
The race ended up going 204 miles. A 300-miler is set for Friday night in the series’ first doubleheader
Riley Herbst was second in a Toyota, followed by Ross Chastain in a Chevy, Briscoe in a Ford and Anthony Alfredo in a Chevy.
Gragson dominated the first two 30-lap stages, a first for the driver who turns 22 on Wednesday, but faded to finish 10th.
Briscoe entered the race red hot with consecutive victories at Pocono and Indianapolis and three in his past four starts. He started seventh and eventually drew Gragson in his sights by Lap 50.