NASCAR: Austin Cindric goes from third to first on late restart for 2020 Xfinity Series title

Nick Bromberg
·2-min read
AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 07: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 Menards/Richmond Ford, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 and the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 07, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Austin Cindric won Saturday night's race at Phoenix to win the title. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Austin Cindric won the 2020 Xfinity Series title after he went from third to first over the final two laps of Saturday’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

Cindric was leading the race with five laps to go when Chase Briscoe spun because of a flat tire. Cindric had a set of fresh tires in the pits so his team decided that a pit stop was a good choice. That meant he restarted third behind Justin Allgaier and Ross Chastain ahead of a two-lap restart because those two drivers didn’t pit.

Allgaier was also a part of the four drivers racing for the Xfinity title, so Cindric simply needed to get ahead of him on the restart. He did that and then got past Noah Gragson on the final lap to win his sixth race of the season.

Cindric led four times for 72 laps as he and Allgaier combined to lead 149 of the race’s 206 laps. The other two drivers racing for the title finished outside the top five. Justin Haley finished eighth while Briscoe was ninth.

Briscoe was the winningest driver in the Xfinity Series in 2020. He won nine races and was the only driver to win more races than Cindric.

While Briscoe is moving to the Cup Series in 2021, Cindric is staying full-time in the Xfinity Series and returns to the series as the title favorite. The son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric will run a part-time Cup Series schedule in 2021 as he races for back-to-back Xfinity titles.

Saturday’s finale was the second consecutive NASCAR title race that was decided via a late-race restart. Sheldon Creed went from ninth to first over the final two laps following an overtime restart in Friday night’s Truck Series race to win the title.

Will Sunday’s Cup Series finale come down to a two-lap restart too? It’s the first time that Phoenix Raceway has hosted the winner-take-all title races. The last Cup Series title decided with a two-lap restart was the 2016 finale at Homestead where Jimmie Johnson won the title.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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