Austin Cindric Deserving of a Second Glance
Since his controversial win at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, there has been a negative light surrounding NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Austin Cindric.
Many disagreed with the move to take out Kaz Grala to go to victory lane and frankly that’s understandable.Aggressive driving and intentionally wrecking somebody is going to result in a reaction, even if it’s for a playoff spot and a first career win. However, because of this negative response, the 19-year-old is now overlooked regarding the championship.
A common misconception since his win is that he can’t drive, which is false. While he has had good quality rides in part due to his last name (father Tim is the President of Team Penske), Cindric has made the most of his opportunities, capturing wins in the ARCA and K&N East Series. He also ran well in his XFINITY Series debut earlier this year. Not to forget he was contention for vvictories before CTMP, most notably Michigan where he led 24 laps and battled with eventual race-winner, Darrell Wallace Jr late in the race.
There should be no doubting what he can do with Brad Keselowski Racing, which includes being a possible championship contender.
Although Cindric currently sits sixth in the standings only eight points ahead of the cutoff heading into the first elimination race at Talladega, his consistency throughout the year shouldn’t be ignored. In the last ten races, he has scored a top-10 nine times, eight of which came on tracks he had never been to in the truck series.
Cindric also showed that he could handle tense times during the playoffs, as at New Hampshire he managed to finish eighth even after a run-in with Grala that sent him spinning during the race. When you can hang with the series’ best in unfamiliar situations, that usually leads to positive results. Especially in a points format, that in the past has rewarded drivers who can finish near the front on a weekly basis.
Obviously, there is still room for improvement for the young driver, most notably he and his team needs to find a way to lead more laps and will likely need to win again to solidify themselves to have a shot come Homestead. However, this is not a team to sleep on. Cindric is a driver who is more than capable surrounded by a solid crew at BKR, that will do whatever it takes to succeed.
Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
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