Eighteen-year-old Austin Cindric made it to Victory Lane for the first time in his ARCA Racing Series career on Friday in the Crosley 150 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky. He is the eighth different first-time winner this year in ARCA.
Cindric started in third place in his No. 99 Cunningham Motorsports Ford and avoided trouble by running up front all race long, while other front-running competitors were caught in wrecks while battling in the top five, including points leader Chase Briscoe.
It all started from the get-go, as the No. 23 of Bret Holmes went for a spin on Lap 1, having started in fifth position.
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When the green waved again it was Shane Lee leading the field away, having taken the lead from pole-sitter Briscoe early on.
The race stayed green for 20 laps until Lee made contact with the lapped car of Sarah Cornett-Ching on the backstraight. Cornett-Ching’s car made hard contact with the inside wall, but she was checked and released from the infield care center.
Matt Tifft led the field back to green on Lap 33 in his first ARCA start since his brain surgery. However, he soon lost that lead to Cindric. Cindric then had to hold off John Wes Townley for the lead as the field approached the halfway point.
However, a late caution for Mark Thompson – who had a single-car spin – led to mixed strategies on pit road as Cindric and Briscoe elected to stay out. Holmes would have restarted third but slowed too much under caution and was forced to drop back.
Briscoe’s hopes of winning the championship with one round to go were crushed with 24 laps to go, however, as he got together with Townley, triggering a multi-car incident.
The carnage wasn’t over yet, as the sixth and final caution of the night flew with five laps to go as Lee and Kyle Weatherman got together while battling in the top five.
The incident set up for a green-white-checkered finish, with Cindric cruising to the win while Dalton Sargeant and Matt Tifft rounded out the top three. Tom Hessert stopped Briscoe from clinching the championship in Kentucky as he placed fourth while Briscoe placed 22nd.