Austin Cindric will get his opportunity to fight for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drivers’ Championship when he competes in all 33 races of the year with not one but two Ford powered teams.
It’s initially as the thought that he would only compete on a part-time schedule with Roush Fenway Racing for nine races, including the first opening five events of the NXS calendar.
However, Team Penske confirmed that he would compete in either the No. 12 or the No.22 Ford Mustang for the next 24 races, including all Dash 4 Cash events up for grabs at Bristol, Richmond, Talladega and Dover.
Austin Cindric’s 2018 NXS schedule:
Roush Fenway Racing (9 races)
- Daytona (February)
- Las Vegas (March)
- Phoenix (March)
- Daytona (July)
- New Hampshire
- Watkins Glen
Team Penske (24 races)
- Texas (April)
- Bristol (April)
- Richmond (April)
- Charlotte (May/Oval)
- Iowa (June)
- Iowa (July)
- Mid Ohio
- Bristol (August)
- Road America
- Las Vegas (September)
- Richmond (September)
- Charlotte (September/Roval)
- Texas (November)
- Phoenix (November)
We’re not exactly sure how many races Cindric will compete at competitions in the No. 12 or the No.22 Ford Mustang.
However, he will make his full-time NXS debut for Team Penske with the No.12 Ford Fusion on Saturday, February 24 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
He will be assisted by three crew chiefs ranging from Mike Kelley in the No.60, Matt Swiderski in the No.12 and Brian Wilson in the No.22.
These three men have extensive experience with the following:
Mike Kelley (No.60 crew chief)
Mike Kelley has guided Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to double NXS Championships in 2011-12 where he was Stenhouse’s crew chief at the time.
Kelley also worked with an illustrious group of drivers such as David Ragan, Carl Edwards, Erik Darnell, Billy Johnson, Trevor Bayne and Ty Majeski.
Matt Swiderski (Crew Chief of the No.12 car)
He recently served as crew chief of the No.3 car for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
He worked with a range of drivers within the No.3 team such as Ty Dillon, Scott Lagasse Jr. and Brian Scott.
Throughout Swiderski’s time at RCR, he was the team’s Head of Vehicle Performance for the past three years.
He was also the race engineer for both RCR’s Cup and XFINITY programs.
Brian Wilson (No.22 Crew Chief)
Brian Wilson has been a stalwart at Team Penske for 13 years.
He was part of the behind the scenes look in the garage as team engineer with Crew Chief Paul Wolfe when Brad Keselowski experienced his championship swansong year in both the NXS in 2010 and MENCS in 2012.
Having worked as part of the successful setup of Wolfe-Keselowski for over six seasons, Wilson took over the opportunity to lead the team’s No.22 NXS squad as crew chief from 2016-present.
Cindric made his NXS debut in the No.22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske at Road America in August 2017.
He was inside the Top 10 for most of the time.
Cindric at one point was chasing for a win before a tire cut stagnated his progress to the end as he made a vital pit stop under green.
He finished in 16th.
Quick Stats on Austin Cindric’s 2017 Truck Series season
Having seen Cindric finished third in the Truck Series points standings last year, he posted one win at Bowmanville (4.3%) as well as eight Top 5 (34.8%) and 16 Top 10 (69.6%) finishes.
His Truck Series average start is 9.1, and average finish is 10.2.
Looking back at Cindric’s recent activities
Cindric came off from a busy preseason where he competed in two Rallycross Ice events in Sweden.
He also achieved a sixth-place overall finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona driving for JDC-Miller Motorsports.
Austin Cindric is one of many young and talented drivers who is rated as the one to watch by race fans this year with an aim to win the NXS Drivers’ Championship by season’s end in November.
The next time you will see Austin Cindric is when he will pilot the No.60 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing at Daytona International Speedway next Saturday.
Image and Statistical references: Racing Reference.