BY KEITH WALTZ
At 22 years old, Austin Cindric is the defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion and the young racer won two of the series’ first five races in his quest to claim back-to-back titles.
Born Sept. 2, 1988, in Columbus, Ohio, Cindric grew up in Mooresville, North Carolina. His father is longtime Team Penske executive Tim Cindric and his grandfather, Jim Trueman, was a longtime open-wheel team owner whose car won the 1986 Indianapolis 500.
After working his way through the Bandolero and Legend Car ranks, Cindric’s career veered off the traditional NASCAR path. He spent two seasons competing in the U.S. F2000 National Championship series and then made his mark in Global Rally Cross. IMSA sports car racing was the next step up the career ladder.
Eventually, stock car racing entered the picture as Cindric made his ARCA Menards Series debut in 2015. Since then, he has visited Victory Lane with the ARCA Menards Series, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Driving the No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske since 2018, Cindric posted six victories and 26 top-10 finishes in 33 starts last season en route to the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
No matter how his title defense unfolds, Cindric will be a NASCAR Cup Series driver in 2022 as he’s been named to drive the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing.
“Austin has made great strides in recent years and he has become a consistent winner and a true championship contender this season,” team owner Roger Penske said last year. “He will continue his natural progression and get some Cup Series experience in 2021. That will help him prepare for a full season in 2022 with the new NextGen car, racing the No. 21 Ford Mustang for Wood Brothers Racing.”