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Austin Cindric ‘just happy’ for a shot at a second straight NASCAR Xfinity title

PHOENIX – In the NASCAR Cup Series, drivers seldom win consecutive titles.

In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the feat is almost commonplace.

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are the only two Cup drivers in the last 25 years to earn consecutive championships—Gordon with titles in 1997-1998 and Johnson with a record five straight from 2006 through 2010.

In the Xfinity Series, on the other hand, championships seem to come in pairs. Randy LaJoie won in 1996 and 1997, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1998 and 1999. Martin Truex Jr. was champion in 2004 and 2005, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. claimed trophies in 2011 and 2012.

Most recently, Tyler Reddick won titles in 2018 and 2019 for two different teams, JR Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing.

Austin Cindric will be racing for his second straight Xfinity title in Saturday’s championship event at Phoenix (8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). If he wins, it can’t be considered a break in form.

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Cindric Championship 2020
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“It sounds great to me,” Cindric said of the prospect of a second championship. “It absolutely sounds great. So I’ll take it if you’re handing it out, but otherwise, I’ve got to go get it.

“I think the value for me is having another season to let things slow down and focus on some smaller details that might help me in the future. Those are the things I think I’ve benefited from in the 2021 season versus 2020.”

Obviously, the experience of winning a series championship is unique to Cindric within a Championship 4 that also includes Regular Season Champion AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric.

“I think there’s less newness, as far as that’s concerned for me, as far as what to expect out of myself,” said Cindric, who also is trying for his third straight win at Phoenix. “I feel like I learned a lot in a positive way from the mentality that I took. I think I’m bringing that mentality back—just the fact that I’m happy to be here.

“Yeah, I’ve won the championship, but that doesn’t guarantee me anything on Saturday. So, happy to be here, happy to have a shot, happy to be a part of the conversation, happy to be driving fast race cars. So I’m looking forward to making the most of that opportunity.”