Xfinity Series regular Austin Cindric will be on standby for the Team Penske No. 2 Ford team in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway as Brad Keselowski tries to recover from flu-like symptoms.
Cindric, 20, split time with Keselowski in the No. 2 Ford during Saturday’s final practice on the 1.54-mile track. With Cindric making his first appearance in NASCAR’s top division, Team Penske crew members applied yellow tape to the car’s rear bumper as a makeshift rookie stripe.
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The organization said earlier Saturday that Keselowski still is scheduled to start Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the second race of the Monster Energy Series season. But Cindric said after finishing 10th in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race that he would be ready Sunday if called upon.
“It’s such a wild card because no one knows what to expect,” Cindric told FOX Sports. “I’ve definitely learned a lot today in my 20 minutes’ worth of laps, but I think I can pull a lot from my truck racing experience to help me out if need be. But from everything I understand, Brad’s in good condition. Brad’s definitely a tough guy, so I don’t see him backing out and letting me do this one.”
Keselowski earned the 19th starting spot in Friday’s Busch Pole qualifying.
Cindric finished eighth in the Xfinity season standings in 2018. He has three NASCAR national series starts at Atlanta with a best finish of seventh in the Xfinity Series last season.