JOLIET, Illinois — Through the first 14 races of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series, Austin Cindric has quietly been among the best on-track.
The 20-year-old has 11 top-10’s and four top-five’s, which is currently places him fifth in the points standings. When asked what the key to his strong start, Cindric credited the consistency him and the No. 22 team have been able to have.
“I think consistency has been really important,” Cindric told POPULAR SPEED. “We’ve really only had, I think we’ve only had one DNF. As far as that goes, I think we’ve been really strong and being able to at least put numbers up on the board when we need to get stage points every race.”
Another place he has been able to find consistency is in his ride.
Last year, Cindric spent the entire season bouncing around between rides at Team Penske and Roush-Fenway Racing. That is no longer the case though, as he has been able to dedicate all of his time to one team in the No. 22.
“It’s been great to have continuity. I think a lot of things have changed for me during the week, during the lead up to a race, I’ve been able to get kind of a rhythm with my team, with my schedule, with my process,” Cindric said. “As far as preparation goes, I’m not really having to cram so much, not having to jump around town that much. Really being able to generate a relationship with the guys that I work with week in and week out. I think that’s paid dividends and consistency on track and obviously, we want to be winning races every weekend, and those steps are on the way and it’s about that consistency to make that step first.”
The consistency with his team has also allowed himself to apply the lessons he has learned from his rookie season a year ago, as he tries to gain ground on the “Big 3” of Xfinity in Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, and Cole Custer.
“As I start to learn more, and as I start to come to tracks I’ve been to a second time or a third time and really being able to apply what I know, there are things going throughout the year. I think it’s great,” Cindric said.
This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Cindric will have the opportunity to work alongside Joey Logano, and he is excited about the feedback that will be received from the most recent Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.
“This weekend we got a teammate with Joey, and I think I’ll be able to learn a lot from him from the driving side, as well as either get validation or, another direction that we can work on our cars,” Cindric said. “I think having him at a track like this is important. I haven’t had a teammate that often this year, so having someone to lean on is going to be nice. Being able to talk with him in between practices, get his ideas, get his feedback and really be able to use that as a resource.”
Looking ahead, the Ohio-native appears to be a lock for the playoffs; however, he is still looking to do more before the regular season comes to a close.
“The most important thing right now is to be able to generate playoff points, and that’s winning stages and winning races,” Cindric said. “So, we’ve got to be on it up front, and obviously we’ve got some road courses coming up and that’s a strength of mine.”
The upcoming races also play into Cindric’s wheelhouse, which includes multiple trips to road courses where he was constantly a contender a year ago.
“I feel like we’ll be able to have some opportunities to do that, but also to be able to get better on tracks that we know we’re going to be good at in the playoffs. So to be able to circle back and get ourselves in a good position. Hopefully, get some wins before the playoff starts. So, like I said, generate those playoff points.”
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