Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 – Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, TX.  April 14, 2024

 RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, was left with a 25th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in what was a chaotic Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400. After firing off strong from the eighth position, Cindric faced stability issues in the opening stint and reported early that the car needed to be tighter. Cindric made his first trip down pit road under green on lap 36 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He was scored as high as sixth but slipped to the 14th position where he finished Stage 1. Cindric returned to pit road under the break for a two-tire stop as varying strategies played out and he restarted 10th. A tight condition plagued the No. 2 car early in the second segment as a plethora of cautions slowed the field over the course of Stage 2, in which Cindric finished 23rd. He managed to gain track position by taking two tires and restarted 13th on lap 173. Cindric would get close to breaking back into the top 10 before pitting under green on lap 205 for scheduled service. Unfortunately, several drivers, including Cindric would be forced to take the wave-around as a caution would come out during the cycle of pit stops. He would battle a tight race car in traffic and managed to bring home a lead lap finish of 25th at the end of 400-plus miles of racing.

CINDRIC’S THOUGHTS: “A bit frustrating to have the result considering the speed we had on Saturday with the Discount Tire Ford Mustang. We struggled to get back through the field as strategies were all over the place as the cautions fell. We got trapped a lap-down at the end of the race and had to take the wave around. It certainly was another week of showing signs of speed, but not the result to match. We’ll keep working and I feel good about some of the progress we’ve made.” 

RACE RUNDOWN: A promising day for Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Menards/Knauf Insulation Ford Mustang ended with misfortune and a 33rd-place finish in Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Blaney would roll his Ford Mustang from the seventh starting spot after a strong practice and qualifying on Saturday. Prior to the first pit stop on lap 38, Blaney would drive his way into the top-five. The first caution would wave on lap 51, which would see the Menards Ford return to pit road for additional service. Restarting eighth, Blaney would make his way back to sixth by the end of Stage 1. During the stage break crew chief Jonathan Hassler called for right side tires on the Menards Ford to gain much-coveted track position and restart as the leader. Blaney would take control of the race, before eventually settling into second place. The caution would wave with around 30 laps to go in Stage 2 and the Menards crew opted for four new Goodyear tires to reset the balance for the run to the Stage 2 finish. The remainder of the stage proved to be plagued with cautions as the tricky Texas track demonstrated to be a challenge for the drivers; regardless Blaney rallied late to finish third in Stage 2 and bring home even more valuable stage points. Unfortunately, Blaney’s day unraveled on lap 182, when he received contact from another car heading into turn 1, which caused the Menards/Knauf Insulation Ford Mustang to make hard contact with the outside wall. The crew managed to make repairs and Blaney soldiered home under power to cross the line in the 33rd position.

BLANEY’S THOUGHTS: “Not the result we wanted with our Menards/Knauf Insulation Ford Mustang. Glad we got good stage points, but bummed we didn’t have a chance to battle for the win today. Excited to get to Talladega next week.”  

RACE RUNDOWN: It was a day of adversity for Joey Logano and the No. 22 AAA Insurance team who rallied to an 11th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway to complete the ninth race of the NASCAR Cup Series season. The 276-lap event around the 1.5-mile Lone Star State circuit began with a nearly caution-free first Stage, although was followed by two segments filled with yellow flags and resulted in three consecutive NASCAR overtime finishes. The AAA Insurance Ford lined up on the outside row in 20th-place to begin the 400-mile quest to the finish with Logano and the No. 22 crew prioritizing their Ford Mustang’s handling in the opening sequence. Stage two shifted focus to the front, with the team capitalizing on right-side tire and fuel stops to stay competitive within the field. The segment continued with tight three-wide battles, but Logano persevered to pick up multiple positions, advancing all the way within the top 10 as varying strategies played out. The No. 22 team was to a race-high ninth place when a caution appeared with 23 laps remaining in the stage. Logano visited pit lane for service with the No. 22 crew doing quick work to replace the right-side tires and refresh the car with fuel, although an untimely pit stop from a competitor in the stall ahead of Logano resulted in interference, and a collision, causing a delay on pit road and right-side damage. The result adversely affected the AAA Insurance Ford, still it powered through to finish the caution-plagued stage in 20th. Logano was a man on a mission as the race headed toward its conclusion, he drove to 13th before green flag pit stops began. Crew chief Paul Wolfe opted to keep the AAA Insurance Ford on-track running the stage long in the hopes of catching a caution. The move paid dividends when the caution waved on lap 228. With the best track position he had all day, Logano managed to bring home an 11th place finish after a chaotic final few laps of racing.

LOGANO’S THOUGHTS: “It was a decent day all things considering. Great call by Paul [Wolfe] to run long and gain some track position back. Certainly, we want to be up there contending for wins, but you have to take what the day gives you and considering how crazy the end was, I think we did that.” 

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for Round 10 of the 2024 season on Sunday, April 21. Coverage begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.