Austin Cindric is somewhat amused at the concern about a certain stat on his racing record.
It’s the zero that can be found if you look up his number of wins on oval tracks in NASCAR. He’s winless in 95 starts on paved ovals across the Xfinity and Trucks Series. Since 2018, he’s earned 21 top fives on ovals.
His three wins have come exclusively on road courses.
“It’s funny because I feel like more people put an emphasis on my first oval win or whenever that will be than I do myself,” Cindric said in a Zoom press conference earlier this week. “Personally, I know that I’m capable of it. I’ve proven it to myself enough times. I feel like as far as when it’s gonna happen, I think when it’s your day, it’s your day.”
Could that day be today?
The Xfinity Series competes at Pocono Raceway (12:30 p.m. ET on FS1) in the series’ only visit to the 2.5-mile speedway this season.
But Cindric, in his second full-time Xfinity campaign, doesn’t view a Pocono win as an oval win. Even though you only turn left when racing there, it only has three turns.
“For me, if we win this weekend at Pocono, then it will be my first triangle win and I’ll still be looking for my first oval win,” Cindric said. “You’re never satisfied, but overall it’s been a great year for us. Really, the way we ended last year, I feel like that carries over. We’ve made changes to our cars and made changes to my driving and I’ve been able to really hone in on the last couple percent as far as what it takes to be the best in this series and I feel like that’s carried straight over.”
Through 11 races this year – all on ovals – Cindric has six top fives plus two other top 10s. In the last four races he’s led 160 laps in total without taking a checkered flag.
“I feel like there’s a lot of things in my career building up to this year and being able to use the resources that I have and obviously being able to execute well, I think that’s important,” Cindric said. “I’ve got the same core group of guys that I’ve had the last couple of years and I feel like that’s important, as well as far as being able to run for a championship and I’m proud of that effort.
“It’s been frustrating a little bit the last couple of weeks not being able to win, especially having such fast cars. You probably saw the peak of that frustration in the second race at Homestead (when he led 60 laps, cut a tire and finished 10th), but, for me, I’m pretty motivated to put us at the front of that field.”
His opportunity today to lead the field comes with an extra incentive. Cindric, who starts ninth, is one of the four drivers eligible for the final $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. He’ll take on Justin Haley, Ross Chastain and Alex Labbe.
Today’s race is Cindric’s third Pocono start. He’s earned finishes of fourth and seventh in the first two.
“I feel like you’re always driving your own strategy there,” Cindric said. “I re-watched (an old) race with my team and understanding how we’re gonna play that race. But for me it’s a fun track because it almost reminds me of Fontana in the fact that you have to have a fast car to be able to win the race because it is such a big track, such a long straightaway on both ends.
“But, at the same time, there are a lot of driving characteristics that you have to understand and that you have to be able to manipulate throughout the race to be able to be good there. I think that plays into our hands. I’ve always liked that place. I like anywhere you can use the brake pedal and depending on how your car is you can downshift, so I’m excited for it. I think it’s another great opportunity for us to run well.”