Sometimes, only one lead change is all it takes.
If you are the reigning champion, this is all you need.
2020 Xfinity Series Champion Austin Cindric maintained a steady presence inside the top 10 for most of the race. Being at the right place at the right time, coupled with a few solid long-runs, was all it took for the Team Penske star to pick up the win at Dover International Speedway Saturday afternoon.
The win is Cindric’s third of the season and his first since Mar. 13 (Phoenix Raceway). Cindric has now finished inside the top 10 in all seven career Xfinity races at Dover.
Experience at the “Monster Mile” was the x-factor through the opening laps of the Drydene 200 Saturday afternoon, as two-time Dover winner and “Dash 4 Cash” contestant Justin Allgaier vaulted ahead of Daniel Hemric for the lead less than two laps into the race.
While Hemric still lingered for a time, an additional “Dash 4 Cash” contestant in Josh Berry made the most noise, especially through the inside lane. However, a brief slide through turn one with a handful of laps to go in the first stage was all the difference, as Allgaier was able to hold off the rookie and collect his first stage win of the season.
Upon the start of stage two, Allgaier heated up the engine and rocketed from fourth to first through the first turn of the restart to regain first. After a red flag via Matt Jaskol slamming on top of Jesse Little, Allgaier continued his torrid run once the caution was lifted.
After Brandon Jones and Zane Smith went around for a yellow, Berry capitalized on lap 75 after Allgaier got loose. Berry then padded his lead by over one second before Kyle Sieg scrapped the wall through turn one. As a result of the caution, Berry won stage two under yellow.
The two-driver bout between Allgaier and Berry only continued through pit road, as the former beat out the latter for the top spot coming out of the pits. However, Berry’s long-run speed through the inside lane helped retake the lead from Allgaier with 86 to go.
After Allgaier briefly maintained the top position through a handful of laps, another driver started to make noise. Quietly, Cindric made his way up the field, and before everyone knew it, the 22-year-old for Team Penske took his first and only lead of the day on lap 150. Cindric did not falter from there on and quickly built his lead by close to four seconds by the time he crossed the finish line to collect the victory.
Berry’s runner-up finish helped net the 30-year-old the $100,000 prize in the final “Dash 4 Cash” installment of the 2021 season. It is Berry’s second consecutive second-place finish and his third top-five finish of the season.
Allgaier finished third. The finish gives Allgaier three top-five finishes this season. In 21 career Xfinity starts at Dover, Allgaier now has 10 top-five finishes. Additionally, Allgaier has finished inside the top 10 in his last eight Xfinity races at the track.
Outside of Cindric and Berry, the two remaining “Dash 4 Cash” contestants in Noah Gragson and Jones finished 15th and 35th, respectively. It is Gragson’s worst finish since his Phoenix back in March (39th). The finish for Jones now gives the 24-year-old five finishes outside the top 30 this season.
The Xfinity Series will continue onward next weekend when it treks west for a much-anticipated trip to Circuit of the Americas on May 22. Coverage for the race will begin at 4:00 p.m. EST on FS1.
Unofficial race results: