Xfinity Series Champ Austin Cindric Reflects on “Extremely Rare Opportunity” in NASCAR Career

Published 12/20/2020, 7:00 AM EST
WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK – AUGUST 03: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 MoneyLion Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Zippo 200 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 03, 2019 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)


Many a time, young NASCAR drivers approach an upcoming season with the uncertainty of which team they will race for and what sponsors will support them. Many of them are also under the pressure of constant performance during a season itself to prove their worth to potential recruiters. However, Austin Cindric is one driver in a totally different zone.

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The current NASCAR Xfinity Series champion does not just have his 2021 plans in place but also knows where he fits in for the following season.

As he gets ready to defend his Xfinity Series title next year, Cindric will also get some much-needed practice for the Cup Series, where he will drive full-time from 2022. The advent of the Next Gen car will also see Cindric replace Matt DiBenedetto in the No. 21 car at Wood Brothers Racing.

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The star driver understands how rarely such an opportunity comes up and is thankful for it.

BOWMANVILLE, ON – SEPTEMBER 03: Austin Cindric, driver of the #19 Draw-Tite/Reese Ford, poses with the championship trophy and sponsor hat at Victory Lane after winning the race at Canadian Tire Mosport Park on September 3, 2017 in Bowmanville, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Austin Cindric thrilled about his immediate NASCAR future

Back in September, I wasn’t imagining being able to come back in the Xfinity Series and get a full season, as well as have the opportunity laid out for a couple of years to come,” Cindric said recently.

That’s an extremely rare opportunity to have in motorsports in general. I feel very fortunate to get called up to the Wood Brothers,” he added.

The 22-year-old already has his plans set for the Next Gen era. The select Cup races he will run in 2021 won’t be useful in terms of getting used to a new car. But they give him a wonderful opportunity to understand the demands of Cup Series racing.

LEXINGTON, OHIO – AUGUST 10: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 PPG Ford, wins the pole award at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 10, 2019 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

In 2022, when I race for the Wood Brothers, it’ll be the Next Gen car. I can jump in and learn in a more known scenario. I’ll learn my strengths and weaknesses,” Cindric said of the same.

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Freedom to focus only on racing

The Team Penske star will practically run another Penske car in the Cup Series. Wood Brothers Racing is a Team Penske-affiliate and uses its equipment and resources. So Cindric will not be far away from home.

He also has sponsors Menards, Money Lion, and PPG backing him. That allows him to focus solely on racing and aim for another Xfinity title, before the Cup Series move.

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While Cindric is aware of the ‘rare opportunity’ he has, it is now up to him to make the most of it.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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