Austin Cindric will be busy this year, but in a unique way as he will run the full NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule, but for two different teams – Roush Fenway Racing and Team Penske.
Recently, the 19-year-old shared his thoughts going into the year, and more, with POPULAR SPEED.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts going into this season?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: For me, no expectations and lots to learn.
PS: Now having no expectations, though, what are your goals?
AC: I’d like to see myself at a point where we’d be in the playoffs and have a shot at contending for the championship. I’ve got a lot of smart people around me on both sides, between drivers and team personnel. For me, it’s going to be absorbing that information and making myself as quick as possible.
PS: Now, what’s it going to be like balancing between running so many races for Roush Fenway, and so many for Team Penske?
AC: For me, I’m not really much of a stranger to not having continuity. I’ve ran for a lot of different crew chiefs, and driven a lot of different cars for a lot of different teams in a lot of different platforms. So, I’ve always had the ability to build a relationship so I’m not afraid of that. I have a lot of smart people around me, like I said, in both programs so I have a lot of confidence.
PS: What track are you most excited to get to this season?
AC: I think the road courses are going to be pretty exciting. I’m going to be run at least one event for each team on the road courses, so I’m excited to do that. I look forward to those because I feel like I have a lot of fun and experience there. I’m also excited to run Darlington; I’ve never ran Darlington before. The Dash for Cash races will be exciting for XFINITY Series regular guys. I am always excited about going to Dover. Atlanta and Homestead are also good tracks to race on. I got a lot of stuff to look forward to, that’s for sure.
PS: Now, you got to open the year by running the Rolex 24 at Daytona. How was that experience for you?
AC: It was a humbling experience, not just doing the Rolex, but actually getting to do double-duty. It was neat getting a chance to race for the overall win in the prototype, and we finished in the top-six. They actually let me finish the race and get us there at the end. That was an awesome experience to have, in doing double duty, doing the 24 Hours of Daytona, as well as doing the four hour Continental race. Obviously, there were a lot of big names that ran that race, including Fernando Alonso, with Penske and the others coming back to the series. So those are some pretty neat challenges to go through and a fun way to start the year.
PS: Could you see yourself doing more racing outside of stock cars?
AC: I’d like to. With the XFINITY Series schedule, it’s pretty demanding. But when it comes to running more races, there’s obviously not a lot of wiggle room for me to find other things to do in the schedule. I’d like to run the Petite LeMan in any kind of car. I’ll be back there in the mustang in the Continental Tire race. But other than that, I’m fully committed to running this XFINITY schedule and spending all my time and resources that I can personally towards this so I don’t leave anything on the table.
PS: Touching back on the NASCAR side, what did you think of the stage racing, and will it change your strategy this year?
AC: I think, for me, personally, from experience last year in the Truck Series, we kind of got off on the wrong foot at the beginning of the year and had to go for wins right away, and never really got the stage points. That really hurt us when we got to the playoffs, and made our job 10 times harder. That’s definitely something that will be in the back of my mind this year when we go to make strategy calls and try to run for stage points. I think everybody saw what happened last year, as far as playoff racing, how valuable they are when you get there.
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