Every aspiring race car driver dreams of becoming a champion. It’s the ultimate reward for life’s hard work. However, Austin Cindric never imagined he’d be crowned a NASCAR champion just two months after celebrating his 21st birthday.
The Team Penske driver stood out in the NASCAR Xfinity Series last season, winning six races en route to his first title.
Cindric proved he’s a great choice to wheel the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022, but there’s still work to be done in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as Cindric will spend another season as the driver of his familiar No. 22 Team Penske entry.
By Joseph Wolkin
I’m not sure I necessarily changed anything about who I was or how I drove the race cars. If you look at the end of 2019, things were clicking between my team and I. We probably came on strong too late that year. We had momentum and focused on perfecting the little things. In 2020, we were able to do that and we were one of the most consistent teams going to each type of race track. We executed on the day it counted, and that’s what it all came down to.
It’s awesome. It’s something that I’m excited for because in 2022, when I race for the Wood Brothers, it’ll be in the Next Gen car. To be able to get some seat time in the current Cup Series car with something my teammates know and have refined helps me learn in a more known scenario. I’ll learn my strengths and weaknesses versus the guys who have been doing this for a really long time. I’ll learn as much as I can, apply it to my Xfinity Series races and, hopefully, apply it to the races in my rookie year.
I was told about it in September. I wasn’t imagining being able to come back to the Xfinity Series, get a full season in and also have an opportunity laid out for a couple of years to come. That’s an extremely rare opportunity to have in motorsports in general. I feel very fortunate. The Wood Brothers have been very supportive of me since I started racing in NASCAR. I love chatting with them and seeing them at the race track. I’m really looking forward to that opportunity. I’m hoping I won’t be racing for win (No.) 100 because I really think Matt (DiBenedetto) is going to do it this year. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do and what I can do the following year, taking over in 2022.