DARLINGTON, S.C. — August has been very good to Austin Cindric.
Team Penske’s young talent went from being winless in the NASCAR Xfinity Series to earning two victories and having one of the most impressive drives in recent memory at Road America, wheeling his Ford Mustang from 20th to second on a green-white-checkered finish.
But there is one thing missing from the 20-year-old’s resume: A win on an oval.
“I look at it from a couple different directions. I will use Bristol as my example,” Cindric told NASCAR.com. “That’s a place where we have been able to go back to for a second time this year, apply the same setup, come back and talk to my crew chief and say ‘hey, when we were here last time I needed this and this and this out of the car. If you give me this and this, we can run really well.’ And we ran really well.”
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Cindric ended the night in Bristol with a fifth-place finish, something he says is more encouraging than his weekend sweep at Mid-Ohio. Why? Because the foundation of the Xfinity Series Playoffs is built on ovals.
“You’re going back to places for a second time in the playoffs,” Cindric said. “Places like Dover (and) Richmond, where we have run really well. Texas where we have run really well and Phoenix where we run well, so places like that we go back to another time … I think that’s going to be huge for us.”
Another thing Cindric has in his favor is a teammate this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Ryan Blaney is driving the Team Penske No. 12 in Saturday’s race (4 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Blaney, a seven-time winner in the Xfinity Series and a two-time winner in the Monster Energy Series, can provide valuable feedback for Cindric with just three races left before the Xfinity Series Playoffs start at Richmond Raceway.
“This is the last race for the 12 car this year, so having Blaney here is great to understand where we can keep improving our cars and how I can continue to improve. It’s a great rabbit to chase,” Cindric said. “For the rest of the year we are a single-car team, learning off of my feedback and what my guys can accomplish. I’m looking forward to that challenge.”
MORE: Darlington schedule