By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
SPARTA, Ky. – The 2016 season has seen 18-year-old Austin Cindric compete in the Pirelli World Challenge Series for K-PAX Racing, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for Martin-McClure Racing and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Brad Keselowski Racing.
On Friday night at Kentucky Speedway, Cindric made just the fifth ARCA Racing Series start of his career, all with Cunningham Motorsports, and earned his first victory. Cindric led a race-high 64 laps in the No. 99 Pirtek Ford and never took tires, beating Dalton Sargeant to the checkered flag by 0.528 seconds in the Crosley Brands 150.
“It’s awesome to get my first win on an oval. I’ve come very, very close in almost every ARCA start I’ve done so far and it means a lot to me to get it tonight,” said Cindric.
Cindric took the lead for the final time at Lap 50 and was cruising to the victory when the final caution of the night came out with five laps remaining to set up a green-white-checkered finish and extend the scheduled race distance by two laps.
“I think coming here to test on Tuesday in that open test was really great. I think it showed when we came here for the test and even in practice, getting your tires scuffed and making sure you have laps on your tires was important. There really wasn’t much fall off and that’s a credit to General Tire.
“I was a little worried heading into the race about how the whole field was going to be able to race together especially based off the XFINITY race here in June where guys weren’t really able to run in traffic. I think we produced a great show. I was able to use about half the high lane, I was able to cut under people, and I think my car was working really, really well and that’s a credit to the team.”
Running a variety of series is nothing new to Cindric, the son of Penske Racing President Tim Cindric. In 2015, Cindric ran 28 races in seven different series, earning five victories and 11 podium finishes.
“Next year I think I’ve got quite a few different paths open, it’s just understanding which path is going to take me furthest in my career,” Cindric said regarding his 2017 plans. “I’m looking really hard next year at trying to become full-time in stock cars.”
Cindric earned quite the trophy for his first ARCA victory as Kentucky Speedway, as part of a sponsorship agreement with Louisville-based Crosley Brands, presents jukeboxes to its race winners.
“The jukebox is probably number one,” Cindric said when asked where it ranked among the various trophies earned in his career.
“The jukebox was very hard not to take home last year; I’ll be very honest with you after cutting a tire with that dominant of a car. I promise you the last two laps tonight all I was thinking about was that jukebox.”