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NASCAR Championship Auto Racing

Regan Smith is introduced before the NASCAR Cup Series Championship auto race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 18, 2018 in Homestead, Fla. Smith returned to NASCAR for the Xfinity Series Saturday at Mid-Ohio. 

LEXINGTON, Ohio — Austin Cindric raced to his second straight NASCAR Xfinity Series victory Saturday, holding off Christopher Bell at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The 20-year-old Cindric won for the first time in the series last week on the road course at Watkins Glen.

"To get my first two wins within a week is incredible," he said. "To win on a road course like this obviously gives you a lot of confidence."

Cato native Regan Smith came in 21st place.

Smith, 35, hadn't competed in a NASCAR event since the Monster Energy Cup Series finale in 2018, but he was recruited by JR Motorsports to drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 8 Chevrolet at Mid-Ohio. Smith ran for JR Motorsports full-time from 2013 to 2015, recording five victories including one at the same track he raced on Saturday. 

Despite a solid showing, Smith couldn't replicate his previous win. Originally scheduled to start in the 12th position, Smith was moved to the rear due to unapproved adjustments following qualifying.

Smith hovered around the top 10 through the first two stages of the race and took the lead on the 59th lap, but his time in first place was brief. Smith was passed by Chase Briscoe and he dropped out of the top 20.

Driving the Team Penske No. 22 Ford, Cindric finished 3.780 seconds ahead of Bell's Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

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A.J. Allmendinger, driving a Chevy for the northeast-Ohio based Kaulig Racing was third, 10.290 seconds behind.

Points leader Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing was fourth. His lead is 28 points over Bell.

Bell was happy to have back-to-back road courses behind him while still being able to stay close to Reddick.

"Road-course racing is obviously not my strong suit," Bell said. "To get out of here and maintain points is good for us."

Cindric, the pole-sitter for a second straight year, took the lead from Briscoe on Lap 63 in the second turn, or keyhole, with an outside move. Cindric led 47 of the 75 laps on the 13-turn, 2.258 mile course.

He is the son of Team Penske President Tim Cindric and the grandson of the former track owner, the late Jim Trueman, who was the car owner when Bobby Rahal won the 1986 Indianapolis 500.

Cindric said his family would vacation at Mid-Ohio and he's dreamt of winning there.

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