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Power, Cindric Seal Saturday Sweep for Penske

Team Penske swept Saturday’s two races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and a new Brickyard tradition might have been started.

Austin Cindric, who has attended 20 of the past 21 Indianapolis 500s as the son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric, celebrated winning the Pennzoil 150 for NASCAR’s Xfinity Series by singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” on his cooldown lap.

“I can’t even put into words what it means to win at the Brickyard,” said Cindric, who later kissed the bricks. “I didn’t even know I knew the words (to the iconic pre-race song) that well … or remembered them that well.”

Cindric arguably has the deepest IMS roots of any driver to have won a race here. In addition to his father, who has been part of seven of Roger Penske’s record 18 “500” victories, Cindric’s grandfathers were both involved with “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” His maternal grandfather, Jim Trueman, was the car owner of Bobby Rahal’s Indy-winning car in 1986, while Tim Cindric’s father, Carl Cindric, was a longtime engine builder. He died earlier this year.

Cindric’s victory came a couple of hours after Will Power’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory in the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix for Team Penske. Power’s win was his first of the season but more importantly, gave him 40 for his career, breaking a tie with Al Unser for fifth place on the sport’s all-time list. Michael Andretti is fourth with 42 career wins.

Cindric or teammates Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney can complete Team Penske’s weekend sweep Sunday by capturing the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, the inaugural IMS road race for NASCAR’s Cup Series. Cindric was fifth in the weekend’s only Cup Series practice, held Saturday morning with a large contingent of fans in attendance.

The previous 27 Cup races were on the Racing Capital of the World’s historic oval.

Martin Truex Jr. turned the fastest lap (98.021 mph) of the 40 entered drivers in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance MTJF Toyota. The next two positions were held by Hendrick Motorsports drivers William Byron in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet (97.487 mph) and Kyle Larson in the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet (97.445 mph). Denny Hamlin, driving Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota, was fourth (97.148 mph) with Cindric, a series rookie, fifth in Team Penske’s No. 33 MoneyLion Ford (97.137 mph).

Cup qualifying for the 82-lap race on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit is set for 9:05 a.m. (ET), with driver introductions at 12:25 p.m. The green flag will fly at approximately 1 p.m., with NASCAR’s stages set at 15, 35 and 82 laps.

Tickets are still available at IMS.com or by walking up at the gates.

Cindric’s victory in the No. 22 PPG Ford was capped by 2.1 seconds over AJ Allmendinger, the combatants in last year’s late-race Xfinity Series battle in the first NASCAR race held on the Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. Cindric now has five Xfinity wins this season and 13 in his career. The only “500” he has not attended since 2001 was last year as he was racing stock cars in Dover, Delaware.

Third place in the race went to Indiana native Justin Haley of Winamac. He drove the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet of Kaulig Racing. Eight-time Indianapolis 500 starter Sage Karam, who finished a career-best seventh in the 105th Running in May, finished 26th in his Xfinity Series debut for Jordan Anderson Racing.

Power extended his streak of winning seasons to 15. Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES (and reigning) champion Scott Dixon holds the record with 17.

Power led a race-high 56 laps and sidestepped a pair of late restarts to score his fifth victory on the IMS road course (in 11 starts) to go with his 2019 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. That total tied him with NASCAR’s Kyle Busch for the most major wins at Indy. Busch has won a pair of Brickyard 400s in the Cup Series and four Xfinity Series races.

“Let’s hope (Busch) doesn’t win this weekend,” Power said with a laugh.

After getting around a lapped car, Power held off former Formula One veteran Romain Grosjean (No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) and Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda of Andretti Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian) to post a 1.1142-second victory.

“Once we got out in clean air, we were going,” said Power, who won his other IMS road races in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020. “I don’t think anyone had a better car than us.”

INDYCAR points leader Alex Palou was running fourth late in the race when his No. 10 NTT Data Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing retired with mechanical failure. He finished 27th in the race of 28 competitors, the most for an INDYCAR race other than the “500” since 2011.

Palou will take a 21-point lead over Pato O’Ward, who finished fifth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, to next weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. The Saturday night race is set for 8 p.m. (ET), with live coverage on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

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