By: Ashley McCubbin
Despite having put together a successful season with five wins and 18 top-five’s (the most of his competitors), Austin Cindric finds himself just 14 points above the cut line with one race remaining in the Round of 8. Oh, and on top of that, he has to race at a track that the Xfinity Series has not visited in quite some time – Martinsville Speedway.
“I feel like it’s definitely gonna be a challenge,” he commented. “It’s gonna be a point of focus for me and my team to come there as prepared as we can be. Obviously, our Cup cars have been able to run well there in the past and although those cars really don’t have as many similarities as you’d like, especially at a racetrack like that, hoping to use some of those notes to get us at least with a better starting point than the rest. I think the mentality is that you want to leave adjustability in your race car and you want to be as close to the mark or closer than everybody else will be.
“There will be points in the race where I’m not gonna be happy with my car and we’re gonna have to work on it. I think that’s everyone’s reality, but from what I understand we’re probably gonna be starting on the pole if not the front row. I haven’t been there in three years, so it’ll be the blind leading the blind and hopefully track position can mean something there at least as far as getting stage points for us. I think that’s probably the most critical part of our race to get out of the way to where we can just have a solid finish and advance on to what would be the most important goal of the year, which is to make the final four.”
With knowing the close quarters he will be competing in, Cindric notes during the team’s post-race debrief following Texas Motor Speedway they discussed which drivers are mad at each other. That, and focusing on the points, will be critical if he wants to move forward.
“I think those are things that are gonna be important, but, as always, knowing the points,” he said. “Obviously, I know who I’m racing and know who I need to get points over and getting ourselves in a position to where we can get stage points and then be in the final stage and just have a solid race. I think that would be an ideal scenario. Obviously, we want to win the race, but I think knowing those two things will be just as important if not more important than most weekends.”
The only good thing for Cindric is he is one of those who has competed at Martinsville Speedway previously, albeit in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series. In three starts, though, he was only able to score a best finish of 10th.
“I feel like my last couple Martinsville races weren’t exactly to my liking, at least in the Truck Series, so I’m looking forward on a personal level to applying the things that I’ve learned in three years time and seeing the benefits of that and hoping to put on a good performance,” he shared. “The Xfinity cars haven’t raced there in a while, so in some ways it’s a clean slate, but, at the same time, managing our own expectations while managing the points while managing my own goals is probably the three for the weekend for us.”
Categories: NASCAR Xfinity Series