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BKR Crew Chiefs Revealed

The NASCAR world has known for quite some time that Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe will compete full-time for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Camping World Truck Series this season.

BKR announced the rest of its driver lineup details for this season on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C.

Cindric will be behind the wheel of the No. 19 Ford F-150 and will have Doug Randolph on top of his pit box as crew chief. Cindric has made six career NCWTS starts with a career best finish of 14th coming at Phoenix International Raceway in November 2015.

Randolph has spent the last five seasons with Brad Keselowski Racing, leading eight drivers to six wins, 43 top-fives and 72 top-10s in 116 starts. Randolph spent the last two years working with Tyler Reddick, including a runner-up finish in points in 2015.

“This is a massive opportunity from Brad and everyone at BKR who trusts me and believes in my abilities as a driver to move on to the next level for a full season,” said Cindric. “2017 gets more and more exciting for me with every day that goes by. I’ve only done a handful of one-off races in my brief stock car career, so I’m really looking forward to having the same guys by my side week in and week out. I’ve spent a lot of time at the shop the last few weeks and I know everyone is really excited to get back racing.”

Briscoe will be behind the wheel of the No. 29 Ford with two-time champion crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. serving as crew chief. Briscoe will make his series debut at Daytona next month but is no stranger to big time Stock Car Racing as he won the ARCA Series championship just last season.

Hillman Jr. has 10 years of experience under his belt in the Camping World Truck Series, posting 20 wins, 93 top-fives and 132 top-10s in 235 starts. He spent the past two years at Richard Childress Racing, leading Brandon Jones to a 10th place finish in the XFINITY Series Standings last year.

“It’s is an absolutely huge opportunity and such an honor to drive for Brad,” said Briscoe. “The competition level in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is so high, but I’m going to be in the best equipment out there. It’s really cool to once again be working with the Keselowski family.  When I moved to North Carolina three years ago, I was helping Brian and Bob in their shop, so things have come full circle. I’m truly blessed with this opportunity, and I hope to make the most of it. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning races and championships, and that’s what I plan to do.”

“We’re very fortunate to have partners like Cooper Standard and Horizon Global, with brands like Draw-Tite, Reese and Bulldog, that make it possible to give two young drivers an opportunity. And that’s something I’m very proud of,” team owner Brad Keselowski said.  “Austin Cindric has already had success in various forms of racing, and has shown a lot of potential in our Ford F-150 race trucks. I certainly believe that Chase is ready to take the next step in his career, and we’re excited to have him join the BKR family. He won the ARCA championship in his first full-time season, and he’s proven to have the ability to learn quickly and win races.  We’re pleased to give both Austin and Chase the opportunity to compete full-time at a high level in NASCAR.”

 EMAIL JUSTIN at tuckerjustin65@yahoo.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

 

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Trucks

“They Said What?” Memorable Quotes – Truck Series Part 1

Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face – especially when they’re mad, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.

Throughout the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, I had the opportunity to speak to a bunch of different competitors, whether for features or following events. During those interviews, there were some quotes that stood out. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.

 

“He’s really open to me in how he’s taken me in so far. Just being able to speak with a guy like him with so much experience and been in the same transition as me moving up through the ranks, he’s really taught me what to look for and what not to look out for. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with him.”

After growing up as a Kyle Busch fan, Noah Gragson gets the opportunity to drive for his racing hero full-time in the Truck Series in 2017.

 

“He’s really good for advice. He’s given us rookies, like Christopher (Bell), myself and Cody [Coughlin], all of the resources knowledge that he can, but it is on us to come and ask him the questions. He’s not going to just put it out there for us if we don’t have the interest to ask. I think the biggest thing from the start is just asking him the questions that you have, or even Erik Jones. I’ve been able to talk to Erik Jones a little bit, and he’s helped me as well, with him being a past champion in the series.”

William Byron on what it is like having Kyle Busch as a car owner and someone to lean on. 

 

“I’m sick ‘n’ tired of finishing third – think it’s the third time this year.”

After posting three straight third place finishes, Daniel Hemric was ready to pick up his first career series victory. Unfortunately, he was unable to accomplish that before the season ended, but he managed to finish sixth in points. 

 

“I had a blast. That was my favorite race that I’ve done all season. I wanted to continue to race on and on forever if I could. This is the most fun I’ve had all year. I stalled it on pit lane, and we almost went a lap down, but we had a really fast truck.”

At Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Gary Klutt made his series debut. The Canadian put together a solid day en route to a top-15 finish. 

 

“I’ve been waiting for a long time to get this opportunity, and very thankful that I have the opportunity that I do here at GMS Racing. It’s my first year in the Truck Series, but I’ve been racing forever, and I do have a lot of experience in a lot of other divisions. Like I said, I’m happy to get the chance and definitely hell-bent on making the most of it.”

After signing a deal to run a partial schedule for GMS Racing, Grant Enfinger was set to do the best job possible. His partial schedule paid off as he was able to pick up his first career series victory at Talladega Superspeedway in October. 

 

“You’re never satisfied till you do even better. We just gotta keep digging and working. But it is definitely positive, as you have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. We do realize that we’re a long ways from being right there and we’re not the biggest team and it’s tough, but you can’t tell us that we won’t win the race. We’re going to keep trying.”

Following a ninth place finish at Atlanta, smiles were big on the faces of Celeb Holman and team. However, he wanted to make it known that he wasn’t done yet with more plans in store. 

 

“It’s a two-way street. I lean on them just as much they lean on me. There’s something to be said about pre-conceived notions as sometimes experience makes you think you know it all versus young and not knowing.”

Paired with a group of young teammates, you’d think Johnny Sauter would be the only one dishing advice. However, sometimes those youngsters were able to help the veteran. 

 

“If we have a really good run or win the race – that changes a lot. But, at this point, cause we’re not running for the points, to me it’s more important when I get the opportunities to bring it all out and get the best finish and result possible. If something builds from that, great, but there’s not the pressure to find something else to do.”

Austin Theriault got the opportunity to run a couple races for BKR, and was set to take a calculated approach – rather than push too hard and mess it up. 

 

“You get to meet a lot of cool people, make a lot of friends, and learn all kind of different racecars and set-ups and techniques for drivers, crew members. It’s definitely a great stepping stone to learn and take it wherever you want. If you want to go big, just work hard and try to get every opportunity that you can to work with whomever possible.”

Matt Crafton‘s Tire Specialist Scott Simmons on why crewing at your local short track can be a good way to get started in the sport. 

 

“We hired more experienced guys near the end of last year, and they were able to bring knowledge and put information into the team. It’s just like any other team, whether Sprint Cup, Truck Series or ARCA. It’s all about having good equipment and smart people working for you. This is definitely a people sport. Obviously, you have to good equipment, that’s a key, but that’s a given. But the difference from a 10th-place truck to a winning truck is the personnel and engineering. Hands on — physically on the truck — makes the difference. We’re a long ways away from being a contending effort, but we try to make few steps every week and improve on what we do have and continue to grow the program.”

Travis Kvapil breaking down MAKE Motorsports’ early-season success following a fifth place finish to start the year at Daytona. 

 

“We have to win – that’s the bottom line.”

After wrecking at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Cameron Hayley didn’t sugarcoat what he had to do the following week at Chicagoland if he wanted to qualify for the Chase. 

 

“I want to be a professional racecar driver when I’m older, and however I can get to the path, I’ll pursue it. You’ve seen that in the different things that I’ve done throughout my career. It’s all about finding what it takes to be a professional driver.”

Austin Cindric‘s perspective on his diverse background in racing, ranging from sports car to stock cars. His persistence is paying off as he’ll drive full-time next year for Brad Keselowski Racing.

 

“You have no business being on the track if you don’t think you can go out there and win in good equipment. I know I’ve got good equipment in both the Pinty’s Series and the truck series, so I want to go out there and do my best and wherever the chips fall, they fall.”

Gary Klutt’s response when asked what his expectations were heading into CTMP for his truck series debut with KBM.

 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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News

Cindric Promoted to Full-Time Status with BKR

Fans now know one of the drivers who will race for Brad Keselowski Racing in 2017, and they don’t have to look far to see who it is.

Austin Cindric will drive one of the team’s Ford F-150 entries next season after running a partial schedule this past season.

“One of the things we wanted to do at BKR is give talented young drivers an opportunity to take the next step in their career,” said team owner Brad Keselowski.  “Austin Cindric has already had success in various forms of racing and he has shown a lot of potential in our truck. We’re happy to give him an opportunity to compete full-time at a high level in NASCAR next season.”

The son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric has ran five races with Brad Keselowski Racing over the past year, qualifying a career-best second at Canadian Tire Moorsports Park. He got the opportunity following success in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA Racing Series, which includes a total of three wins.

“This is a massive opportunity from Brad and everyone at BKR who trust me and believe in my abilities as a driver to move on to the next level for a full season,” the 18-year-old said.  “The number one thing is you’ve got to get results on the racetrack, and that’s something that BKR has done consistently year after year. One of the things I’ve learned in my short career is that it’s all about people.  You must have good equipment, but you can’t have success without good people, and they definitely have that.”

The specifics of Cindric’s 2017 BKR program, including sponsor partners, will be announced at a later date. BKR also hasn’t announced any details surrounding a second entry, but both Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick will not return next year. Hemric is moving up to the XFINITY Series with Richard Childress Racing, while Reddick has yet to announce plans but stated he would not return to BKR.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Trucks

Cindric to Make Final Truck Start of 2016 at Phoenix

Brad Keselowski Racing will field a third entry for the Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix next weekend.

Eighteen-year-old Austin Cindric will drive the No. 2 Ford for BKR at the mile-long track, which was the site of his second career start in Nov. 2015.

Cindric has five career Truck starts with his best finish coming at the desert oval last year when he crossed the line 14th. This year, he also made two starts in the K&N Series Pro East at Virginia International Raceway and Watkins Glen and won both events.

“I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to run one more race with Brad Keselowski Racing this season,” Cindric said. “Phoenix is the first time that I’ve returned to a track with the Ford F-150, and for me, that’s definitely important.

“Now I know what to expect going into practice, what I need to work on, and how to improve. We were strong in the race last year, but things just didn’t work out for us. I’m excited to go back there and apply all the things I’ve been able to learn this season.”

Cindric’s last start for BKR was at Talladega where he finished 20th. The highlight of his part-time truck season was a second-place qualifying effort at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

In the last two ARCA seasons, Cindric has six starts under his belt, including a victory at Pocono in June.

EMAIL JOHN AT john.haverlin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Trucks

Cindric Continues to Expand His Racing Resume

Continuing to gain experience, Austin Cindric will drive the No. 2 PIRTEK Ford F-150 at Dover International Speedway in a third truck for Brad Keselowski Racing.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Cindric told POPULAR SPEED. “It’s good to back in a truck again since my last race at Phoenix. I thought there was a lot that I learned from a few races last year that I think I can apply here, so [I’m] hoping the rains hold off and we have a good run.”

Friday evening’s race will be Cindric’s third career truck series start. He finished 25th in his debut at Martinsville last October, followed by a 14th-place finish at Phoenix.

Cindric was quick to shake off any rust, posting the sixth-fastest time in practice Thursday.

“I’m quite happy with that, especially from where we started the day, coming in knowing nothing about Dover,” he said. “So, really happy about that and can carry over tomorrow. I think we have a good package.”

With little experience in stock cars, Cindric is still getting used to driving a truck and learning how to tell whether it’s loose or tight has been the biggest lesson so far.

Cindric isn’t new to racing, though. He has raced in both USF2000 and Global Rallycross over the past couple of years. Family ties in motorsports also run deep as Austin’s father, Tim Cindric, is the President of Team Penske.

“I want to be a professional racecar driver when I’m older, and however I can get to the path, I’ll pursue it,” Cindric said. “You’ve seen that in the different things that I’ve done throughout my career. It’s all about finding what it takes to be a professional driver.”

Cindric currently doesn’t have any other events planned beyond Dover. He’s hopeful that sponsorship materializes, particularly for a start at Talladega.

“Talladega would be a big one as it’d be nice to get a restrictor plate race checked off the board,” he said. “It depends on sponsorship, but hopefully, it’s possible.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Cindric Earns Hard Fought Victory

Brooke Franceschini (NASCAR) Alton, Va. Austin Cindric had the dream NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut at VIRginia International Raceway.

The 17-year-old muscled his way to victory over a charging Justin Haley to capture the checkered flag at the 2.250-mile road course and his first NASCAR victory.

Cindric, the son of Team Penske President Tim Cindric, started in the top position after winning the 21 Means 21 Pole Award earlier in the day. He battled Haley and Noah Gragson throughout the 55-Lap race for the lead and led a total of 29 laps.

The Mooresville, North Carolina, native also dominated the sole practice session of the day with a time of 87.792 seconds to almost break the track’s qualifying record set by Scott Heckert. 

His trip to the winner’s circle marked the second consecutive trip for his team, Martin-McClure Racing. A team owned by NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Eric McClure and Hal Martin.

Haley and Austin Theriault finished second and third consecutively, while Kyle Benjamin and Ronnie Bassett Jr. rounded out the top five.

Hunter Baize, Jairo Avila Jr., Ruben Garcia Jr., Brian Henderson and J.P Morgan completed the top 10.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to action on May 30 at Virginia’s Dominion Raceway.

1. (1) Austin Cindric, Mooresville, NC, Toyota, 55 laps, 54.250 mph.

2. (2) Justin Haley, Winamac, IN, Chevrolet, 55.

3. (5) Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, ME, Toyota, 55.

4. (7) Kyle Benjamin, Easley, S.C., Chevrolet, 55.

5. (18) Ronnie Bassett Jr., Winston-Salem, NC, Ford, 55.

6. (19) Hunter Baize, Bremen, Ky., Chevrolet, 55.

7. (13) J.A. Junior Avila, Alhambra, Calif., Toyota, 55.

8. (12) Ruben Garcia Jr., Mexico City, Mexico, Toyota, 55.

9. (9) Brian Henderson, Falmouth. Va., Chevrolet, 55.

10. (14) J.P. Morgan, Mooresville, NC, Chevrolet, 55.

11. (10) Harrison Burton, Huntersville, N.C., Chevrolet, 55.

12. (23) Sergio Pena, Winchester, VA, Toyota, 55.

13. (22) Dillon Bassett, Winston-Salem, N.C., Ford, 55.

14. (21) Ali Kern, Fremont, Ohio, Toyota, 55.

15. (15) Gracin Raz, Lake Oswego, Ore., Ford, 55.

16. (20) Sarah Cornett-Ching, Summerland, B.C., Ford, 54.

17. (4) Noah Gragson, Las Vegas, N.V., Ford, 51.

18. (17) Dominique Van Wieringen, Amherstburg, Ont., Ford, 50.

19. (6) Tyler Dippel, Wallkill, N.Y., Chevrolet, 48, transmission.

20. (3) Kaz Grala, Westborough, Mass., Toyota, 46.

21. (8) Collin Cabre, Tampa, FL, Toyota, 44, accident.

22. (16) John Holleman IV, Winston-Salem, N.C., Ford, 44, accident.

23. (11) Spencer Davis, Dawsonville, Ga., Chevrolet, 37.

24. (24) Trey Hutchens, Lexington, NC, Chevrolet, 26, transmission.

Categories
Trucks

Getting to Know: Austin Cindric

Each week during the NASCAR offseason POPULAR SPEED will post a “Getting to Know” driver profile, featuring some of the younger talent coming through the racing ranks. We continue our series this week with Austin Cindric, the son of Team Penske president, Tim Cindric. Austin, who competes in both IMSA and Red Bull Global Rally Cross, made his NASCAR debut in 2015 in the Camping World Truck Series.

Birth Name: Austin Cindric

Nickname: N/A

Hometown: Mooresville, NC

First thing I do when I wake up is: Hit the snooze button

Favorite sports team: Indianapolis Colts

Biggest accomplishment: Earning the first win for the new Shelby GT350R in competition at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for Multimatic and Ford Performance

My most memorable race was: My first NASCAR start at Martinsville in the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 29 truck or Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites in LA

The food I eat the most is: Caesar Salad

How I describe myself in three words: Tall … Loyal … Passionate

My racing mentor: I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of different people over time

Playing on my iPod right now: “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendricks

Favorite racetrack: Mount Panorama (Bathurst)

If I could guest star on a TV show it would be: Survivor

When I’m not racing I’m: At school

In 2016 I will: Continue to challenge myself to be versatile and successful

EMAIL KELLY AT kelly.crandall@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @KellyCrandall

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, it’s owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement. 

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Home Tracks

“Human Sponge” Austin Cindric to Make ARCA Debut on Friday at Iowa

Making his official Stock Car debut on Friday night at Iowa Speedway, Austin Cindric says he is setting no tangible expectations and just wants to learn as much as possible during the ARCA Racing Series #ThisIsMySpeedway150.

Cindric, the 16-year-old son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric, just recently became the youngest winner in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series and has also enjoyed success in Red Bull Global RallyCross and USF2000.

His IMSA victory came alongside co-driver Jade Buford and occurred on Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the Multimatic Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R-C. He also won the most recent GRC event on June 21 at Daytona International Speedway.

Now the versatile and well-regarded teenager has set his sights on ARCA — driving for Penske-affiliated Cunningham Motorsports in the No. 99 Ford Fusion. Cindric says he plans to do what he has done throughout his brief career by simply absorbing all the advice he can while at the event.

“I just feel like it is important that I just learn as much as I can,” Cindric told Popular Speed on Tuesday afternoon. “I’m just going to be a human sponge and take it all in. I’m not expecting to light the world on fire because it’s my first start.

“I just want to take it one step at a time.”

Cindric tested his Cunningham Ford at Iowa several weeks ago in anticipation for the event and also turned laps at Daytona in February. Drivers are allowed to test at The World Center of Racing at 16-years-old but ARCA and NASCAR rules mandate a racing ban until their 18th birthday.

It was there that he first worked with teammate Tommy Hessert, who he expects to lean on heavily come Friday afternoon.

“They have really good people there,” Cindric said. “Crew chief Chris Carrier has accomplished a lot in NASCAR and Tom has had a lot of success in ARCA. I raced Legend Cars with Kyle Weatherman, and although I haven’t seen him in a few years, I consider him a good friend.

“I can’t wait to mix it up with him this weekend.”

Cindric has raced a wide variety of machines during his career but hasn’t settled on one discipline. With youth on his side, he knows he has a little bit of time to figure it all out.

“I think about it a lot,” Cindric said. “For me, it’s about following the path that presents the most opportunities. I don’t really have one preference at this point. I’ve been very fortunate to drive a lot of different cars and each one has been fun, exciting and challenging.”

Cindric will carry the AutoZone colors on his car — the same sponsor that Juan Pablo Montoya will fly the IndyCar event the next day at Iowa. That represents additional pride and pressure for Cindric on Friday night.

“I’m very excited to get the opportunity to race in the ARCA Series. Representing AutoZone in my first race is really special,” said Cindric, who just finished his sophomore year at Cannon School in Concord, North Carolina. “I’ve grown up around some of the most respected names in the sport, and I really appreciate all of those who have supported me.”

The #ThisIsMySpeedway150 is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET on Friday night and will be televised live on Fox Sports 1.

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

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