Cindric talks balancing careers in both NASCAR and sports car racing

Austin Cindric continues to build his racing resume.

Cindric talks balancing careers in both NASCAR and sports car racing
#15 3GT Racing Lexus RCF GT3: Dominik Farnbacher, Robert Alon, Jack Hawksworth, Austin Cindric
Austin Cindric, K-Pax Racing
#63 Erebus Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3: Maro Engel, Bernd Schneider, Austin Cindric
Race winner Austin Cindric
#15 3GT Racing Lexus RCF GT3: Dominik Farnbacher, Robert Alon, Jack Hawksworth, Austin Cindric
Austin Cindric, Toyota
Austin Cindric race winner
Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski Racing Ford
#25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 REX: Austin Cindric
Austin Cindric
Race winner #158 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302R: Jade Buford, Austin Cindric

Despite his recent recruitment by Brad Keselowski Racing as part of Ford’s driver development program, Cindric isn’t ready to relinquish his extra-curricular activities behind the wheel.

Rolex 24 debut

This weekend, the 18-year-old high school senior returns to the IMSA ranks for his debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway with 3GT Racing in the Weathertech SportsCar Championship.

“It will be a lot of fun,” Cindric told Motorsport.com. “We have a brand new car. I’ve never run the series, never run the race. Obviously, making the 24 hours is my number one goal. Anything past that will be a feather in my cap.

“I’m really looking forward to it because I still want to stay relevant in the sports car world. 3GT has given me an awesome opportunity to race a Lexus with these guys and have some fun. I also have some really good co-drivers between Jack (Hawksworth), Sage (Karam), Scott Pruett and Dominik Farnbacher. You’ve got all of these guys with a ton of experience that I can bounce ideas off of. So I’m looking forward to it.”

I want to get in as much as I can to be honest. I’m still pursuing a career.

Austin Cindric

In 2015, when he was just 16, Cindric became the youngest driver to win an IMSA race when he won the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. He’s also earned podium finishes in Global Rallycross and the Pirelli World Challenge.

Transition to stock cars

Cindric’s transition into stock cars began with ARCA races at Iowa Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. He qualified and finished fourth in his ARCA debut at Iowa in 2015. That same season, Cindric auditioned for Keselowski in the Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville. He finished 25th. In his second truck start, Cindric’s result improved by 11 positions at Phoenix International Raceway.

Last season Cindric ran four truck races and added two K&N Pro Series road course events to his schedule. He won from the pole on both circuits — Virginia International Raceway and Watkins Glen International. He also won the ARCA on the Kentucky Speedway oval. His average finish in the four ARCA races he ran was 2.8.

Outside interests aside, the ability to focus on the No. 19 BKR team with veteran crew chief Doug Randolph in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is an opportunity Cindric will cherish.

“The biggest thing for me is I have a team and people that I get to carry with me all throughout the season, whereas beforehand I was doing one-off races in stock cars,” Cindric said. “This will be my first full-time stock car series that I run and I’ll have the same people with the same expectations and be able to build off of that all year.”

Balancing the two

Still, the truck schedule offers Cindric the luxury of racing in other series if he so chooses. There are 23 events on the truck calendar, but the series races just five times in the first four months.

“I’d like to do as much as I can,” Cindric said. “Obviously, the truck series is pretty demanding. Schedule-wise, this spring is pretty nice, so that will be ok. I can still do all the IMSA endurance races with 3GT and Lexus.

“I want to get in as much as I can to be honest. I’m still pursuing a career. I still have a lot of connections and opportunities in the sports car world. I’m definitely pushing the envelope there. But trucks will be my focus. I want to do the best that I can there. But the more things I can drive, the better.”

Although Cindric will graduate from The Cannon School in May, college remains on the back burner. He might consider taking a class or two during the off-season, but Cindric believes that while the chance to further his education will always be available to him, racing might not.

For the third-generation racer — and the son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric — racing the Indianapolis 500 remains a life-long dream.

“The Indy 500 is just one of those races, I’ve been to it just about every single year since I’ve been alive, and if there’s an opportunity one day for me to go run it, then without a doubt,” Cindric said. “It’s one of the coolest racing events I’ve ever been at. It’s a part of my family’s history. If I ever got the opportunity, I would certainly want to.”

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