INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Rookies Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland survived the carnage on the final overtime restart to all post top-five finishes and lead the Ford contingent in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard.
Cindric, who started 2nd, finished in the runner-up spot to winner Tyler Reddick while Burton and Gilliland posted career-best efforts in 3rd and 4th, respectively. In all, seven Ford drivers ended up in the top 10 with Joey Logano 6th, Michael McDowell 8th, Cole Custer 9th and Chris Buescher 10th.
Ryan Blaney led 17 laps and was in position to win as he took the final restart in 3rd place, but he got hit from behind and spun going into turn one and ended up 26th.
Chase Briscoe won Stage 1 to improve his potential playoff situation, but just like Blaney, he too got involved in a multi-car wreck and finished 23rd.
The NASCAR Cup Series will make its only trip to the Irish Hills as Michigan International Speedway plays host on Sunday, Aug. 7.
NCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st – Tyler Reddick
2nd – Austin Cindric
3rd – Harrison Burton
4th – Todd Gilliland
5th – Bubba Wallace
6th – Joey Logano
7th – AJ Allmendinger
8th – Michael McDowell
9th – Cole Custer
10th – Chris Buescher
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
20th – Brad Keselowski
23rd – Chase Briscoe
24th – Cody Ware
25th – Josh Williams
26th – Ryan Blaney
29th – Joey Hand
33rd – Kevin Harvick
37th – Loris Hezemans
38th – Aric Almirola
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang
HOW DID YOU SURVIVE THAT LAST RESTART?
“That was nuts. Oh my gosh. I hope the race fans enjoyed that. Obviously, those green-white-checkereds it’s just caution out the window and everyone has fenders and bumpers to use, I guess. A lot to take in, a lot to handle. I’m glad we survived it all. It’s probably not the day I wanted with the Discount Tire Ford Mustang, but to come away with a good finish we’ll take it.”
COULD ANYTHING PREPARE YOU FOR THAT LAST RESTART?
“No. Maybe playing a little football. That’s about it.”
WHAT WERE YOU SEEING THERE? DID YOU THINK YOU COULD MAKE A PUSH TO WIN?
“Yeah, I was hoping that Ross would get under the 8 and put him in a vulnerable position to where I could kind of put them both in a bad spot, but they just raced clean enough. I was really hoping that he’d kind of drive him out wide or maybe one of them to drop a wheel because I knew there was a chance the 1 could get DQ’d, but, wow.”
GOOD TO FINISH SECOND, BUT I’M SURE HUNGRY FOR A WIN.
“Yeah, this isn’t Indy Car. They don’t give out trophies for second.”
TOP FINISHING ROOKIE WITH THE OTHER TWO RIGHT BEHIND YOU. ALL IN ALL A GOOD DAY.
“You’ve just got to hang in there and position yourself away from the carnage. I’m proud of the effort and proud to not get collected. It’s cool for Harrison to get his first top five.”
HARRISON BURTON, No. 21 DEX Imaging Ford Mustang
TALK ABOUT SURVIVING THIS RACE.
“That’s what it was, really. I mean, we honestly had a bad execution day to start the race. We tried to stay out for stage points and more people stayed out than we thought and got buried there, and then I made a mistake and got into Custer. I was spun out at one point. I was all over the place. It was a tough day for me and then got some new tires there before the last caution and started picking guys off and just got in a good place for those restarts. That was the big thing was being on the inside for those restarts and kind of plugging the middle and missing the chaos.”
YOU FINISHED TOP FIVE, BUT THE THIRD HIGHEST-FINISHING ROOKIE.
“I know. I thought we might get some distance on at least the 38, but wherever he goes I go with him or vice versa. Every race we’re on each other’s bumper, so hopefully we both just start running top five every week and we’ll be running up there together.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Moen Ford Mustang
WAS IT JUST A CASE OF BEING ON OLD TIRES AT THE END?
“No, it’s a case of just getting wrecked. That’s all people do at the end of these things, just dive in there and wreck you. I don’t know who shoved who and I don’t care, but tires didn’t matter at the end. We restarted top three both times and tires don’t really matter. It’s just a matter of getting through on the restart, but, apparently, that’s a hard thing to ask. People just run over each other.”
YOU HAD STRONG RESTARTS TODAY. DID YOU FEEL THOSE WERE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES TO GET WHAT YOU COULD GET?
“Yeah, probably. It’s the easiest one. I got up through the middle one time and the middle never really opened one of the last couple restarts. I was protecting right and I guess whoever it was behind me didn’t care. I don’t know. They jumped over the curb and just wipe you out. I just didn’t even have a shot at it. I didn’t have a shot to get to the 8 to try to put the bumper to him or anything like that, just get wiped out. I don’t know. I’m pissed off about it and I have every damn right to be.”
TURN ONE WAS A MESS TODAY. DID YOU FIGURE SOMETHING STUPID WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?
TODD GILLILAND, No. 38 Ruedebusch Development & Construction Ford Mustang
“It s just really exciting. This rookie season has been really tough. The Cup Series is hard. I’ve learned that. It’s easy to give up and that’s one thing, too. You have confidence when you come to the Cup Series, but you get beat down quick. Even just having a ninth-place qualifying effort and just to run up front the first stage. We stayed out and got stage points and kind of had to come from the back again, but that’s what me and my crew chief was talking about. That’s really our best weekend start to finish by far, so hopefully that’s just something to build on. For me, that’s a lot of confidence. Road course racing is tough, too. I’ve always loved it, but it hasn’t really loved me so much this year, especially the first time here at Indianapolis. That’s really cool.”
HOW CRAZY WAS IT GOING THROUGH TURN ONE TODAY?
“It definitely was. I would drive in and try to get to the guy in front of me and then I would just get pounded from the back, hit the guy in front of me, bounce off both guys to my sides. You have tunnel vision. Guys are getting spun right in front of you. Your facing somebody and then you’re past them, off in the grass and then you’re just trying to merge out and get single-file as quickly as possible. Even right there, I was side-by-side with the 23. Thanks to him for racing me clean. It could have been a wreck for both of us, but, overall, I’m super happy to have survived those last few restarts and then obviously to put myself in position to capitalize on those restarts.”
COLE CUSTER, No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang
“You just hope for the best pretty much every time on a restart going through turn one. We were able to have it worked out pretty good the last couple times, but we just had a long run car. Honestly, we were one of the best cars on the track when it was a long run, but we just couldn’t fire off good. It’s good to come up with a solid run and hopefully get ourselves a little bit better points-wise and keep chipping away at it, but move on to the next one.”
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang
“It was a situation where we had to try to get that first stage win and just kind of buried us after that. We got back there and struggled to get back up there. A couple times we thought we were gonna be OK and then I just made a mistake. There at the end that restart was just chaos and tore us up. Obviously, I wish we would have finished a lot better than where we ended up. I don’t think we had anything for the 8 car, but us and the 2 were pretty close and he ended up second. That was kind of the strategy we had to kind of play today and for our points and playoff situation. Obviously, the playoffs are more important than trying to win here. It’s unfortunate we had to be in that situation, but overall we were able to get a playoff point, which will be big come playoff time.”
DID THE COURSE PUT ON A BETTER SHOW?
“Yeah, I think this year definitely things were a lot more put together, just with last year all the stuff we had with the track coming up. I feel like we’re in a good place now. I feel like today was really good at least from the racetrack. I would just leave it like it is for next year and see if we can find anything else to tear up.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Mobil 1/GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang
“We broke the left-front suspension I got into turn one and locked up the rear tires and it just kind of took off on me and I got into the 5. I hate it for those guys. I hate it for our guys. Man, this was just a frustrating weekend. I felt like the guys did a great job of bringing me a car that was pretty good and thought we were gonna have a good day. Just not the day we were hoping for. I made a mistake or I’m not sure what happened, but I locked up the tires getting into one and killed our day and tore up the 5 car at the same time.”