June 3, 2024 | By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

Austin Cindric earns second career NASCAR Cup Series win at St. Louis

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

MADISON, Ill. — Surprise and elation were the watchwords for Team Penske driver Austin Cindric, who won Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway at the expense of teammate Ryan Blaney.

The race was Blaney’s to win—until the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion ran out of fuel on the next-to-last lap and handed the lead to his teammate. Cindric charged past Blaney at the start/finish line and completed the checkered-flag lap as Blaney rolled agonizingly slowly to a 24th-place result.

The victory was Cindric’s first since he won the 2022 DAYTONA 500 as a rookie, a dry spell that lasted 85 races. Nevertheless, Cindric expressed conflicting emotions after he climbed from his No. 2 Ford.

“This weekend was a great weekend for everybody involved,” Cindric said. “But, yeah, to have two cars in the fight, eventual 1-2. Heartbroken for those guys.

“This is huge for me. This is huge for this team. I’m so glad I was able to get a win with Brian (Wilson) as my crew chief in the Cup Series. You never know when it’s going to happen again. Just drove my butt off, hope for the best.”

All three Team Penske drivers—Cindric, Blaney and Joey Logano—made only three pit stops to at least four for all other competitors. They stayed out under caution for the Stage 2 break and restarted 1-2-3 on Lap 149.

After pitting early in the ensuing cycle (Blaney on Lap 176, Cindric on Lap 177 and Logano on Lap 179, Blaney gained a spot on Cindric and began working his way through the field, improving his position as cars ahead of him came to pit road.

On Lap 217, when Kyle Larson pitted, Blaney assumed the lead, but with the race’s fastest car—the No. 20 Toyota of Christopher Bell—in hot pursuit. Bell soon caught Blaney and pulled alongside several times before engine issues caused Bell to slow dramatically.

“I’m blowing up, I’m blowing up,” Bell radioed to his crew.

But Bell, who had won the first two stages, nursed his car to the finish with help from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. Three laps down and mired in 34th place, Truex repeatedly pushed Bell’s Camry in the closing laps.

Then it was Blaney’s turn to suffer game-changing misfortune.

“Never thought in my mind we were short,” Blaney said. “One of those things. Gosh, proud of the 12 boys. We were fast. Had my work cut out for me holding off Christopher. That was a fun battle. I don’t know what happened to him.

“Yeah, one lap short, which just stinks. Congrats to the 2 team. They did a good job all day. Props to them, Austin. Proud for Team Penske and Ford.

“Really happy with our showing today. I don’t know what I’ve got to do to get some luck on our side. Gosh, wrecked the last two points races. Thought we had a great shot to win today. Ended up bad.”

Bell was fresh from victory in the rain-shortened May 26 Coca-Cola 600 and had a car that was dominant from the outset. He passed pole winner Michael McDowell on Lap 41 to win Stage 1 and stayed on the track under caution for Josh Berry’s collision with the Turn 3 wall to win Stage 2.

In the closing laps, it seemed inevitable that Bell would overtake Blaney, until Bell’s engine turned sour.

“I have no idea what happened,” said Bell, who rolled to a seventh-place finish. “Some sort of motor issue. I’m surprised that I made it to the end. Glad we were able to salvage something out of it.

“You don’t get race cars like that very often. Whenever you do, you need to take advantage of it. Disappointing day.”

Tyler Reddick finished fourth and Logano fifth, followed by Austin Dillon, Bell, Sunoco rookie Carson Hocevar (a career-best eighth), Justin Haley and Larson.

On Lap 140, the final circuit of Stage 2, Kyle Busch and Larson were battling in close quarters for the seventh position when Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet broke loose underneath Busch’s No. 8 Camaro, sending both cars sliding into the outside wall.

Busch’s car was damaged beyond repair and exited the race in the 35th position—the first DNF of the season for the two-time Cup champion. Larson, on the other hand, was able to salvage the 10th-place result.

“We can’t afford days like this,” said Busch, who is winless this year and squarely on the bubble for a Playoff spot. “Yeah, he got loose and wiped us out.”



NASCAR Cup Series Race Number 15
Race Results for the Enjoy Illinois 300 - Sunday, June 2, 2024
World Wide Technology Raceway - Madison, IL - 1.25 - Mile Paved


Total Race Length - 240 Laps - 300. Miles

Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sunday, 6/2/2024 @ 06:36 PM Eastern

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Stage 2 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 2 2 Austin Cindric Freightliner Ford 240 4 2 56 Running 3 53 5
2 6 11 Denny Hamlin Yahoo! Toyota 240 5 10 42 Running  
3 7 6 Brad Keselowski Solomon Plumbing Ford 240  5 40 Running 1 17
4 5 45 Tyler Reddick SiriusXM Toyota 240 8  36 Running  
5 12 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 240 9 6 39 Running 1 1
6 18 3 Austin Dillon DOW/Rivers are Life Chevrolet 240  9 33 Running  
7 4 20 Christopher Bell DEWALT Toyota 240 1 1 50 Running 5 80 2
8 20 77 Carson Hocevar # Zeigler Auto Group Chevrolet 240  8 32 Running  
9 21 51 Justin Haley MotoRad Ford 240   28 Running  
10 13 5 Kyle Larson HendrickCars.com Chevrolet 240   27 Running 1 7
11 9 54 Ty Gibbs Monster Energy Toyota 240 7  30 Running  
12 16 1 Ross Chastain Busch Light Chevrolet 240   25 Running  
13 17 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 240 10 4 32 Running  
14 26 17 Chris Buescher Travel Centers of America Ford 240   23 Running  
15 11 24 William Byron Valvoline Chevrolet 240 6  27 Running  
16 35 38 Todd Gilliland Ruedebusch Ford 240   21 Running 1 6
17 23 14 Chase Briscoe Overstock.com Ford 240  7 24 Running  
18 28 31 Daniel Hemric Poppy Bank Chevrolet 240   19 Running  
19 36 71 Zane Smith # Focused Health Chevrolet 240   18 Running  
20 24 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger Health/Oikos Chevrolet 240   17 Running  
21 8 23 Bubba Wallace McDonald's Toyota 240   16 Running  
22 27 10 Noah Gragson SERVPRO Ford 240   15 Running  
23 31 99 Daniel Suarez Choice Privileges Chevrolet 240   14 Running  
24 3 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Richmond Water Heaters Ford 240 3 3 29 Running 2 20
25 1 34 Michael McDowell Siteman Cancer Center Ford 239 2  21 Running 1 40
26 22 43 Erik Jones Family Dollar Toyota 239   11 Running  
27 33 42 John Hunter Nemechek Bommarito.com Toyota 239   10 Running  
28 14 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 239   9 Running  
29 32 41 Ryan Preece Overstock.com Ford 239   8 Running  
30 25 16 Derek Kraus Kafka Conveyors Chevrolet 239   7 Running  
31 30 21 Harrison Burton Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 239   6 Running  
32 15 7 Corey LaJoie Chili's Catch-a-Rita Chevrolet 239   5 Running  
33 34 15 Cody Ware Jacob Construction Ford 238   4 Running  
34 19 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 237   3 Running 1 1
35 10 8 Kyle Busch Rebel Bourbon Chevrolet 139   2 Accident 1 15
36 29 4 Josh Berry # Overstock.com Ford 109   1 Accident  

Time of Race:  Average Speed: 0 MPH Margin of Victory: 0 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 20, 34, 12, 2, 11, 24, 54, 45, 22, 9
Stage 2 Top 10: 20, 2, 12, 9, 6, 22, 14, 77, 3, 11

Caution Flags: 5 for 32 laps; Laps: 4-7 (42, 15 Incident Turn 2  [None]); 18-22 (16, 15 Incident Backstretch  [None]); 47-54 (Stage 1 Conclusion [15]); 113-119 (4 Incident Turn 3 [47]); 141-148 (5, 8 Incident Turn 2/ Stage 2 Conclusion [16]).

Lead Changes: 16 among 10 drivers; M. McDowell 1-40; C. Bell 41-48; T. Gilliland 49-54; K. Busch 55-69; C. Bell 70-95; M. Truex Jr. 96; A. Cindric 97-114; C. Bell 115-143; A. Cindric 144-176; J. Logano 177; C. Bell 178-193; B. Keselowski 194-210; K. Larson 211-217; R. Blaney 218-220; C. Bell 221; R. Blaney 222-238; A. Cindric 239-240.

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

Next Race: June 9, 2024 - Sonoma Raceway

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