By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Ford Performance development driver Austin Cindric will now complete the entire 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. In addition to the nine races already announced in Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 60 Ford Mustang, Cindric will split the remaining 24 races in Team Penske’s No. 12 and 22 Mustangs.
Last year, Cindric finished third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points. A controversial win at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park helped the Columbus, OH native make the Playoffs. Cindric finished the season with eight top-fives, 16 top-10s, and one pole position.
“Just the experience of making the final four last season and getting to race for the Truck Series Championship at Homestead for BKR (Brad Keselowski Racing) was truly special for me, but has made me determined to find a way to try and get in that position again,” said Cindric, who will work with three different crew chiefs over the course of this season.
“Now to have the opportunity to run for a Driver’s Championship this year in the XFINITY Series with both Team Penske and Roush Fenway Racing is a dream come true. I know there’s a lot left for me to learn. That being said, it puts the ball in my court because I have such an incredible and unique opportunity in front of me to be surrounded by the experience of two very successful organizations and that is all a driver can ask for. Much like last season, I feel like it may take a little time to adjust, but I’m eager to get started on that journey.”
On top of the pit box for Cindric when he is driving the No. 12 Ford Mustang will be Matt Swiderski. Swiderski joins Team Penske after serving as the crew chief of Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro SS. There the former SpaceX employee lead the team to four top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes.
“This is a great opportunity to become a part of the winning tradition at Team Penske,” said Swiderski, who also worked for Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), a private aerospace manufacturer and space transport provider that operated some of the world’s most advanced rockets and spacecrafts, in 2012. “I’m really excited to team up with Austin when he’s behind the wheel of the No. 12 Ford while also working closely with (No. 22 crew chief) Brian Wilson. Our goal is to help the No. 22 team win another series Owners’ Title while working with Austin as he chases the Driver’s Championship.”
Cindric is now put in a very unique position. He will help both Team Penske and Roush Fenway compete for the Owner’s Championship. Austin Cindric, the son of Team Penske President Tim Cindric, will also compete for Rookie of the Year honors as well for the driver’s championship. All of this will be with three different crew chiefs as well.
Now Cindric will prepare not only to start the season in the No. 60 PIRTEK Ford Mustang, but for a season-long battle in multiple seats.
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