MADISON, Ill. – Austin Cindric pulls off an upset to cap Enjoy Illinois 300 weekend festivities, passing Ryan Blaney on the final lap of the race as Blaney ran out of fuel.

Cindric earns his second NASCAR Cup Series victory over his three-year career.

After the surprise win, Cindric gave credit to his crew for his preparations and walked through his experience near the tail end of the race.

On The Victory

“I’m just happy we were in position there when the 12th car ran out to bring home a win. Because this team deserves it. Everyone’s been super supportive in believing in me through good days and bad days.”

The Late Comeback

“Crazy to think that probably the two best cars at the end of that race both had an issue [with fuel], and the third-place car wins the race. That’s the way I see it. It’s not like I went out there and took the lead away, but we were in position. it was one of best executed races so far this year with probably our best speed we’ve shown this year. Proud to be able to do that. There’s definitely still a little bit of that shock factor left over for me.”

Family ties

Austin’s father Tim Cindric is the president of Team Penske in the IndyCar series. He says it usually doesn’t line up that he and his father have success on the same day.

“I spoke to him and my mom in victory lane over the phone. It’s funny, my pops and I, I don’t believe in luck or any juju or whatever, he and I are both pretty convinced over the last several years, he and I can’t both have good days at the race track.”

“It’s kind of that conspiracy theory that lives in us. Watching the IndyCar race today, they had a really bad race, just had everything go wrong that could’ve gone wrong. We’re still proving that theory correct because I can’t think of a better day for us in NASCAR.”

On St. Louis experience

Austin went to Saturday’s St. Louis Battlehawks game ahead of the race right across the river. He has a good impression of the St. Louis sports culture.

“It shows that there’s a passion for sports and in this place. The facility [WWT Raceway] is always super clean, and they’re always trying to do kind of innovative new things. The teams and the drivers notice that. I’d say my only constructive criticism is maybe more bathrooms in the garage area, but past that these guys have been knocking out of the park every year and I think every team driver does look forward to this event because of that.”

“It’s a people driven sport and it’s people making those decisions making us as race teams feel feel welcome and and like they’ve prepared all year for us to show up. I feel like there’s some some racetracks you don’t get that feeling so and we raised a lot and we go a lot of different places. It’s always good to come here.”

What motivates him?

Cindric feels he has struggled since he winning his other NASCAR Cup Series, the 2022 Daytona 500. He entered Sunday’s race 20th in the NASCAR points standings, but now qualifies for playoffs.

“I’m a very internally motivated person. This isn’t fun if I’m not winning. As you can imagine, it’s not been very fun for a little while. That’s the standard I hold. I don’t want to find myself in a position to be okay with 10th and be okay, like ‘Hey, I finished Top 10, it was an awesome day.’ No, it’s tenth. It’s good, it’s a step forward, but it’s not where I want to be. It’s not the level in which I prepare. It’s not the level in which my team expects to perform. That’s not good enough to race and drive a Team Penske. I know that. No one has to tell me that, there’s no meeting that has to be set in place. I take that very personally the opportunity I have to win at the highest level. It’s the intensity I carry every day when I go to the race shop. I cut out every other distraction in my life, good, bar or indifferent. If that makes me a horribly rounded person, which it does in a lot of ways, all I care about is what I do within the walls of racetrack.”