By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
The Circle K Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway will mark a milestone in Austin Cindric’s NASCAR career.
The second-year NASCAR Xfinity Series driver will make his 50th career start in the No. 22 Pirtek Mustang on Friday night. In Cindric’s 49 starts to date, he has earned 12 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes. The Team Penske driver has also earned three pole positions.
Overall, Daytona marks 79 combined starts in NASCAR’s National Series for Cindric.
Results on superspeedways have been varied for the 20-year-old. In the three restrictor plate races last year, he was involved in accidents in all three. This year however, Cindric finished fifth at both Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway.
With the chaotic nature of restrictor plate racing, Cindric’s communication with his spotter, Josh Williams, will be key. Williams has been instrumental for several victories at Team Penske in the past.
“Daytona is one of those racetracks as a spotter you circle on the schedule and can’t wait to get to,” Williams admitted. “Spotter and driver communication is key to maximizing a day at a superspeedway. We’ve had two top-five finishes at superspeedways this season and we look to improve on that this week at Daytona and bring the Pirtek Mustang home in victory lane.”
Cindric enters Daytona fourth in the championship points standings, 129-points behind points leader Tyler Reddick. He is also 159-points ahead of the cutoff for the playoffs held by Ryan Sieg.
With 11 races until the start of the playoffs, Cindric has 22 opportunities to close the gap in playoff points. With just one playoff point, he is 27 markers behind Christopher Bell and 25 behind fellow Ford Performance driver Cole Custer. Cindric is one of just nine full-time Xfinity regulars to earn playoff points so far this season.
The No. 22 machine was 11th in the first practice session. The final practice session was canceled due to weather.