USA Today 301 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Loudon, N.H. – June 23, 2024

North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail

AUSTIN CINDRIC No. 2 AUTOTRADER FORD MUSTANG

START: 29TH STAGE ONE: 28TH STAGE TWO: 19TH FINISH: 19TH POINTS: 21ST

RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 2 Autotrader Ford Mustang, soldiered on through a chaotic USA TODAY 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, recording a 19th-place finish. After inclement weather scrapped qualifying Saturday, Cindric lined up 29th for the start as the starting order was set per the NASCAR rulebook. The Autotrader Ford remained near that position for the duration of Stage 1 as it had a tight condition that limited Cindric’s ability to run the higher lane. When the flag flew to end the segment, Cindric was scored in the 28th position. The No. 2 was docked for speeding on pit road and lined up 29th for the ensuing restart. Cindric returned to pit road on Lap 120 under green for fresh tires, fuel and additional adjustments to further aid the handling, and again on Lap 154 under caution. With five laps remaining in Stage 2, Cindric informed his team that he was able to run the higher lane much better than he had previously been able to. Cindric took two tires at the Stage break after finishing 19th and restarted 6th to kick off the third and final segment. A series of quick cautions slowed the field before weather rolled into the area, ultimately generating an over two-hour long red flag. Once it cleared out, the race resumed with drivers on wet weather tires and Cindric fired off seventh with 73 laps to go. A plethora of chaotic cautions followed, with Cindric getting collected in one of them, a multi-car incident with 37 laps remaining. He returned to pit road for the team to assess the car and eventually took fresh wet weather tires in preparation for the restart. As the chaos continued to ensue, Cindric fought to the checkered flag to record a 19th-place finish.

CINDRIC’S THOUGHTS: “Yeah, we had a really strong run up through the field. The guys made some good adjustments, it’s just a grind to get track position back at this place. Then with the rain, wet weather tires, and getting spun out, it was just an absolute mess trying to drive back up through there. I’m proud of the effort we had up until Stage 3, I definitely thought we had a bit more of a normal day in the Autotrader Ford.”

RYAN BLANEY No. 12 MENARDS/DUTCH BOY FORD MUSTANG

START: 2ND STAGE ONE: 4TH STAGE TWO: 5TH FINISH: 25TH POINTS: 8TH

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney was in contention for his second win in as many weeks Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway but was collected in a multi-car incident with nine laps to go, relegating him to a 25th-place finish. After starting from the outside of row one in the 301-lap event, Blaney settled into fifth in the running order during the first run of the day while battling issues with rear grip but managed to come away with a fourth-place finish in the opening stage. Blaney continued to keep pace in and around the top-five throughout Stage 2 as the 12-team continued go to work on the balance to help stabilize the Menards/Dutch Boy Ford over the long run. Following a caution on lap 154, Blaney restarted from the outside of row three with 26 laps to go in the segment and battled his way to a fifth-place result in the second stage. With rainfall approaching the track at the start of the final stage, Blaney charged up to third on the leaderboard and was locked into a battle for the lead with the Nos. 45 and 11 but a caution on lap 216 halted his momentum before rain brought out the red flag on lap 219. Following a lengthy delay, drivers returned to their cars as teams mounted wet weather tires prior to the restart with 73 laps to go. With the track still damp, Blaney searched all over the racing surface for the fastest line while managing tire wear to hold his position in second despite several cautions in the opening laps. Teams were required to stick with the wet weather tires during non-competitive pit stops through the end of the race while Blaney continued to challenge for the lead with the laps winding down. Blaney chose to restart from the outside of row two coming to nine laps to go as he found success running the top lane but the No. 34 overshot the entry to turn one on the restart, sliding up into the left side of Blaney and sending the two around in front of the field. Blaney was relegated to the tail end of the lead lap for the ensuing restart, resulting in a 25th-place finish.

BLANEY’S THOUGHTS: “I knew what [Michael McDowell] was trying to do. It was a low percentage move. It was wet down there and he drove it in there. What do you think is going to happen? You are going to take both of us out. I know [McDowell] has to win and all that, and that was his excuse, but you have to be a little more calculated than that. It stinks it was at our expense. Man, I really thought we had a decent shot to contend. I was happy because we came in, put tires on, made a big adjustment and I was looking forward to restarting behind [Christopher] Bell and see if we would have anything for him but just never got a chance. I’m proud of the 12 boys. Long day and a really fast car. I really enjoyed where our short track program is going right now. Hopefully we can just continue to get that a little bit better.”

JOEY LOGANO No. 22 HUNT BROTHERS PIZZA FORD MUSTANG

START: 6TH STAGE ONE: 2ND STAGE TWO: 3RD FINISH: 32ND POINTS: 14TH

RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano was credited with a 32nd-place finish after being involved in a multi-car incident at the start of the final stage but came away with top-five finishes in the first two segments Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Logano’s Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford had exceptional long-run speed on display from the onset of the 301-lap event and chased down the No. 9 in the closing laps of Stage 1 before completing the pass for second out of turn four coming to the green-and-white checkered flag to complete the opening stage. The caution flag flew on lap 142 following the completion of the green flag pit cycle in Stage 2 when crew chief Paul Wolfe elected to keep Logano on track, vaulting him to second in the running order to take the restart from the inside of row one with 37 laps remaining in the segment. Logano battled for the top spot on the ensuing run while fending off teams with fresher tires behind him before coming away with a third-place finish in Stage 2. With the threat of rain quickly approaching prior to the start of the final stage, Logano hit pit road for a four tire stop under caution and lined up 12th for the ensuing restart. On the opening lap of the final stage, Logano was pushed into turn one and slid up the track into the No. 9 to bring out the caution on lap 195. Once Logano was able to make it to pit road, the 22-team made a pair of stops under yellow to repair the right front toe link and assess damage to the right front. After rejoining the field, Logano was able to meet minimum speed was scored 35th, three laps down. A pair of cautions shortly after allowed the 22-team to make additional repairs before rainfall brought out the red flag on lap 219. Following a lengthy delay, teams made the switch to the wet weather tires for the remaining 82 laps and several cautions over the course of the final stretch allowed Logano to make up a few positions along the way, ending in a 32nd-place result.

LOGANO’S THOUGHTS: “Unfortunate end to our day after the speed we showed in the first two stages – I thought we had something to contend for the win but just didn’t pan out that way. The Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford had a lot of pace and we could really get it going on the long run. Proud of the 22 crew for sticking with it and keeping us out there to the end.”

North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail