Most drivers will never forget their first start at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and for Austin Cindric, it will be for all the right reasons.
Cindric (@AustinCindric) made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in the Kroger 200 and the young driver did an impressive job in his first series start and was in position to score a top 10 finish as the race drew to a close.
Cindric qualified a most respectable 14th on Saturday morning. He was running just outside the top 10 when he made his first scheduled pit stop for four tires on during the second caution on lap 36. Austin restarted 14th when the race went green on lap 42.
He was 12th when the fifth caution slowed the race on lap 86. One lap later crew chief Chad Kendrick called his driver to the pit lane for four tires and adjustments. Cindric restarted outside the top 25 when the green flag waved on lap 90.
Armed with fresh tires, Cindric began to work his way through traffic. He climbed inside the top 15 at the time of the sixth caution on lap 122. One lap later Austin pitted for four tires and adjustments. Quick service by the Cooper Standard team moved him up to 13th place when the race went green on lap 129.
Cindric again went to work. He climbed up to 10th by lap 140 and four laps later was ninth. Austin had just picked off eighth place moments before the eighth caution flew on lap 157. He restarted seventh when the race went green on lap 161 and was running sixth at the time of the ninth caution on lap 173.
As the race entered its closing laps, Cindric was seventh. On lap 194 - just six laps from the checkered flag - Caleb Holman dove inside Cindric at the entrance to Turn 1. The two made contact and the Cooper Standard Ford F-150 briefly slipped sideways.
Austin kept control of his truck until he was clipped by Erik Jones at the exit of Turn 2. The contact from Jones turned Cindric into the path of Spencer Gallagher and the backstretch wall. Austin did finish on the lead lap and was credited with a 25th place in the final rundown.