By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
At only 18-years old, Austin Cindric has already had a very diverse and successful career in auto racing. This weekend, Cindric will add to the variety of tracks he has competed on when he attempts to qualify his No. 2 Pirtek Ford F-150 for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Fred’s 250 powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway.
Cindric has competed in rally cars in both the Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites, where he has four wins and finished second in points in 2015, and the FIA World Rallycross Championship. In open wheel racing, he has competed in both the Skip Barber Racing Winter Series and the U.S. F2000 National Championship.
Cindric has also competed in sportscars in Historic Sportscar Racing, IMSA Continental Challenge (one win), and the Pirelli World Challenge. Cindric is also the youngest race winner in Historic Sportscar Racing history.
In stockcar racing, he has competed in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Cindric has won from the pole in both of his K&N Pro Series starts and earned his first career ARCA win at Kentucky earlier this year.
Heading into Talladega on Saturday, Cindric has only 12 starts behind the wheel of a stockcar. In those 12 starts, Cindric has six top fives and seven Top 10s.
Cindric is excited to make his first-ever restrictor plate race.
“It’s pretty cool to make my first restrictor plate start at Talladega. This weekend is no different than others I’ve done in the PIRTEK Ford F-150, because I need to be a sponge and absorb everything I can. We have to lean on Tyler and Daniel to understand what it takes to run up front. Obviously, the 19 team needs a win to break into the Chase and hopefully I’ll be able to help them get to the front.”
Cindric expects to learn while trying to stay out of trouble on the 2.66-mile track.
“I just want a nice clean run and to have some fun with it as well. The best thing you can do is study, because it is such a big mental game between the spotter, driver and the competitors. I think that’s where you get the edge and I think that’s where I’m going to need to learn the most. Talladega will be a brand new ballgame. I need to make sure I stay out of trouble and make the right moves in the pack.”
In the two practices, Cindric was 24th fastest in the first session, and 14th fastest in the final practice.
Cindric will now look forward to qualifying and then the race on Saturday. With 36 trucks entered, and only 32 spots available, Cindric, and several others have to qualify their trucks on time in order to make the field.