Ford Performance NASCAR: Cindric Finishes Second in Dramatic Final Lap at Bristol

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AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford MustangYOU WILL MAKE HIGHLIGHTS AT BRISTOL FOR YEARS TO COME WITH THAT FINISH.  “Yeah.  Absolutely.  I’m sure everybody in the grandstands tonight will remember this one.  I certainly will.  That’s two years in a row in this race that I feel like we should have won.  That’s a lot of races in this neon yellow car that I feel like we should have won this year, so really disappointed for Menards, Richmond, Team Penske — all the hard work these guys put in.  We put ourselves in position.  That’s all you can ask for and I guess that’s short track racing.”

HOW DO YOU RESET YOUR MINDSET FOR THE PLAYOFFS?  “I know how much it means to everybody else to beat us.”

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FINAL LAP?  “What happened on the last lap?  The short summary is short track racing.  The long summary is a lot of contact.  Five-star bodies definitely made their money’s worth today.  I’m surprised we were able to not cut a tire down in that situation, but just a lot of hard racing, a lot of guys wanted to win the race.  I feel like, and I say with confidence, we were probably the ones that deserved to, but that’s not how these play out with these green-white-checkers and sometimes you’re vulnerable.”

DID YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THAT LAST MOVE OFF OF FOUR OR WAS THAT DESPERATION?  “I would say that was the exact same thing AJ did on the bottom of turn four the lap prior, just gassing up out of desperation.  I would say it was a bit desperate, but monkey see, monkey do in that situation.  Like I said in my TV interview, I don’t want to tear up race cars and can’t say I’m the one that instigated any of that.  I had a shot to win.  I mean, I’d love to see the margin there of two cars crashing across the finish line, but really close two years in a row.”

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU NARROWLY MISSED SIEG TRYING TO GET TO PIT ROAD?  “I thought that was really close.  The 10 car had a tire go down.  The 39 had a problem.  I was just waiting for my caution.  When we got to three to go I thought we were in a decent spot, but I’ve had a couple of these run green while I’ve been leading and I consider myself lucky every time it does and today it didn’t happen.”

DO THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT WITH AJ CHANGE NOW AFTER TONIGHT?  “Yes and no.  I feel like at a track like this it’s probably more pliable, but it doesn’t surprise me.  That’s how AJ races.  That’s how he’s always raced.  He’s usually walked that fine line no matter what position he’s running on the racetrack.  I respect him for it — not for tonight — but I respect him for it in general.  He’s hungry.  I think that’s proof.  Not to sound arrogant, but how bad guys want to win, how bad guys want to beat us.  We obviously did the right adjustments tonight and got ahead and stayed ahead of the track and I’m really proud of that and some nights that’s all you can do.”

IT’S A BIG POINT SWING.  DO YOU FEEL THAT PLAYED INTO IT AT ALL?  “Absolutely.  You can look at it from a different perspective that I would rather AJ win than anybody else because I’d rather have two cars have the most playoff points than to be equally distributed throughout the field because then that devalues mine, so from that perspective, I don’t mind him winning as long as I’m ahead.  That’s the caveat there.”

WILL YOU CHAT WITH HIM ABOUT THIS?  “The funny thing is we fly on the same plane as Kaulig, so it’s kind of been funny the whole year.  They sit in the front of the plane.  They make us sit in the back of the plane, so I get to have some snarky comment every time I walk by AJ when we walk on the plane, so, if he doesn’t talk to me by then I’m sure I’ll hear something on Friday morning.”

YOU TOOK THE OUTSIDE AND ALLGAIER OPTED TO GO BEHIND YOU.  WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN YOU SAW THAT HAPPEN?  “I actually liked it because I thought Allgaier was the better car and I thought that was gonna trap AJ on the bottom, but obviously contact there off of four really screwed my run.  I did have a point that I was clear, but the moment I pull down with a tight clear like that all AJ is gonna do release the brake and run into the back of me, so, like I said, two guys who both wanted to win the race really bad.”

DO YOU KNOW YOUR SNARKY COMMENT YET BEFORE GETTING ON THE PLANE?  “I usually try to think of my rebuttal because he usually gets the first word and the last word, and I try to shut him up before he gets the last word.”

RILEY HERBST, No. 98 Monster Energy Ford MustangTHAT WAS A WILD FINISH.  “Yeah, that was fun.  A lot of people using their bumpers out here tonight and kind of what I expected just because it’s the regular season cutoff and playoff points are on the line.  It got aggressive, but it was cool.  We kept ourselves in position.  Richard Boswell and the 98 team gave us a really good strategy and a really good car.  Thank you to Monster Energy and Ford Performance.  Man, I’m so excited to go home next week and try to go race for a championship.”

HOW SPECIAL WILL IT BE TO START THE PLAYOFFS AT YOUR HOME TRACK?  “It’s gonna be fun.  I’ve been looking forward to going home for a long time and I think we can win at home next week and, like I said, I’m excited.  We’re going to race for a championship.”

WHAT ABOUT THE FINAL RESTART?  “Once the caution came and the overtime happened I knew it was gonna be kind of hectic.  It’s just a product of Bristol.  People got aggressive.  Everybody wants to win at this place.  This place is awesome.  It was ten tenths there the last few laps and all hell kind of broke loose, but we were able to come away third and we’ll take it headed to Las Vegas.”

THOUGHTS ON LAS VEGAS NEXT WEEK?  “We’re going to back to my home, Las Vegas, to try to go win and move to the Round of 8.  We’re very capable of winning and we’re ready to go do it.”