Austin Cindric battled back from the rear and overcame an up-and-down day at Watkins Glen International, crossing the line 13th in his LTi Printing Ford Mustang Saturday afternoon.
“It was self-inflicted today for at least a majority of my issues,” Cindric said. “Obviously, you’ve got to believe your primary is better than your backup. I know these guys work really, really hard week in and week out to not only get a really strong primary and try to have an equal backup, but I just didn’t meet expectations for today. I try not to set any, but I thought this was going to be the day to break the curse, but we’ll keep going and keep racing hard.
“I’m just bummed that these guys work harder than any single team in this garage area and it hasn’t come to fruition yet, so I’m hoping to be that guy, but if it’s any of the other two guys I’m going to be looking forward to when that day comes and I’ll be there celebrating with them.”
Cindric’s day began with qualifying where he turned the 14th-best lap time at the 2.45-mile road course, but it would later be negated when he damaged the front splitter after a spin and was forced to go to a backup. Because of the change, Cindric started from the rear of the field along with a long line of other cars.
However, the Mooresville, North Carolina, native battled through the pack and found himself in the top-20 just four laps in. By lap 15, he was up to 14th and would finish the first stage in 15th, needing rear grip in his Mustang. After a lengthy stop in which the No. 60 team did some extensive work for adjustments, Cindric restarted the second stage in 29th.
The yellow flew at lap 30 for rain when the team put rain tires on, and Cindric would gain 10 positions after the stop, restarting 12thjust before another caution. Once the rain moved on and the track dried, the team put sticker tires back on the 60 just before the second stage break, setting Cindric up for solid track position a few laps later. The strategy was successful, as Cindric finished the stage 13th and stayed on track to restart fourth for the final segment.
The team went on to short pit for fuel, which was enough to last to the finish, where Cindric would ride 14th for a long green-flag run. However, the handling once again went away before Cindric eventually crossed the line 13th.
RFR PR/Photo Credit Chris Trotman/Getty Images