Team Penske Continues Dominant Season at Pocono

Austin Cindric

Getty Austin Cindric prepares for qualifying at Nashville Superspeedway.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers took on Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 27, kicking off a busy day of racing. There were several in need of a win to reach the playoffs, but the defending champion shattered their dreams. Team Penske‘s Austin Cindric captured the win, his fourth of the season.

The driver of the No. 22 did not have an easy outing at the Tricky Triangle. He had to avoid multiple incidents on the track that sent several other drivers to the garage early. He also contended with part-time driver Ty Gibbs, the winner of two races in 2021. Gibbs finished second, marking the fourth time that he and Cindric finished in the top two together after fighting during the final laps.

Prior to the green flag, the NBC Sports broadcast noted that Cindric was back in the pink and white No. 22 Ford Mustang. He previously found mixed success in the paint scheme. He won at Dover International Speedway on May 15 and then crashed at Nashville Superspeedway

Penalties Derail Daniel Hemric’s Strong Outing

Daniel Hemric

GettyDaniel Hemric prepares for a race at Nashville Superspeedway.

Entering the race weekend at Pocono, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Hemric had plenty of attention on him. He had made 102 starts in the Xfinity Series and posted 36 top-five finishes. However, he had never reached Victory Lane. Hemric was within reach of finally achieving this goal at Pocono, but a series of penalties disrupted his day.

The driver of the No. 18 Toyota Supra finished second in Stage 1 behind teammate Harrison Burton. He then took the lead from Justin Allgaier on lap 32 while showcasing impressive speed, creating comments about how he would fight for the win at the Tricky Triangle. However, Hemric sped on pit road four laps later, resulting in a penalty.

Despite dropping to the back of the pack, Hemric made some moves to work his way through the field in the final stage. He took back the lead on lap 58 while his fellow drivers headed to pit road. Hemric continued to build upon his advantage before finally heading to pit road on lap 71, where he received another speeding penalty.

This second penalty dropped Hemric to the rear of the field once again, taking away any chance at a career-first win. The driver of the No. 18 ultimately worked his way back through the field to reach sixth, but he ran out of time to contend for the checkered flag.

The Xfinity Series Rookie Had an Inconsistent Outing

Sam Mayer

GettySam Mayer celebrates a Truck Series win.

The race at Pocono marked the official JR Motorsports debut of driver Sam Mayer. He turned 18 years old on Saturday, June 26, and then got behind the wheel of the No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet Camaro the following day. Mayer started 20th overall and quickly began making moves.

The youngster finished the first stage 13th overall before working his way into the top 10 midway through the second. He had to make a trip down pit road for minor repairs, fuel, and four tires, which dropped him to 17th at the end of the second stage. However, Mayer began making moves once again in the final segment reaching sixth at one point and pushing for a top-10 finish.

The driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro headed to the pits for fresh tires and fuel midway through the final stage, but he encountered an issue. Mayer slid through the pit box, resulting in a slow stop. He fell to 33rd overall, well behind the pace, but he worked his way back to an 18th-place finish.

Mayer will have another opportunity to reach Victory Lane for the first time in the Xfinity Series with a Fourth of July trip to Wisconsin. The drivers will take on Road America on Saturday, July 3.

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