2021 NASCAR season “a great opportunity” – Austin Cindric


04 Jan 2021

Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images/NASCAR Media

Austin Cindric says that pairing a partial NASCAR Cup series campaign with another full-time run in the Xfinity series in 2021 will provide “a great opportunity” to prepare himself for a future career at the top level.

Unlike main 2020 Xfinity title rival Chase Briscoe, Cindric will remain in the second-tier series next season, but will compete in select Cup races for Team Penske.

Far from being disappointed to not fully graduate after winning the 2020 Xfinity title, Cindric is looking further into the future and sees the long-term benefits of his defined path.

“I think I look at my next couple of years as a great opportunity to set myself up well for a Cup career,” Cindric told Dominik Wilde after the 2020 Xfinity series finale. “That’s an opportunity that any driver in motorsports doesn’t get very often.

“I think that’s a rare opportunity and it’s something I really look forward to.

“Knowing that I have a set path for the next couple of years, knowing what I’m going to be doing and that gives me the opportunity to look ahead and create some goals and create some obstacles for myself to overcome, whether it be the challenges of longer races in deeper fields in the Cup series and trying to, at the same time, chase a second championship.”

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/NASCAR Media

Delaying his full-time graduation also means that Cindric will move up at the same time the Cup series moves to its ‘Next-Gen’ car platform, and the added experience will help him adapt quicker to the big changes on the horizon.

“I certainly hope to be as well-prepared as possible,” he said. “I think having another year in Xfinity is going to be great to be able to do that and really knock out all the small details as far as a driver, but there’s still going to be plenty of challenges as rookie.

“Then there’s going to be the next-gen car coming in 2022 so there’s going to be a lot of new variables to be prepared for so I think that something to where if I can limit my challenges as a rookie to a minimum as I move up, I think that’s going to give us the best opportunity to succeed from day one.

“But there’s going to be challenges, the best drivers in the world are racing in that series so I’m excited for that challenge, I’m excited to show what I can do against the best and obviously have the opportunity to do it.”

Cindric, son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric, will continue to compete for the multi-championship-winning team at Xfinity level and in the Cup series in 2021, before graduating to the top level with the Penske-aligned Wood Brothers in ’22. Driving for two high-level teams so early on in his career is an opportunity not afforded to many young drivers, but it’s also not something he is taking lightly.

“Obviously the opportunity to be in great equipment and be able to go out and try and win races for Roger Penske is definitely an opportunity that you don’t take lightly so I’m very excited for the opportunity to go [and] chase a second championship in the Xfinity series,” Cindric said, “but also to know that I’m moving up into Cup, racing for the Wood Brothers, a team that has a long history in NASCAR, a family that is very well-respected in the industry, I’m looking forward to that as well.”