Austin Cindric

Austin Cindric celebrates with his team after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series, B&L Transport 170 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2019. (Richland Source file photo)

LEXINGTON -- Austin Cindric is scheduled for a full-time ride in the NASCAR Cup Series next season.

If that's the case, the 22-year-old hopes to perhaps leave one last mark on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the track once owned by his grandfather and where Cindric grew up spending summer vacations.

Cindric leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series into the 2.258-mile, 13-turn permanent road course this weekend for Saturday's B&L Transport 170, the stock car circuit's only national stop in Ohio in 2021.

The NASCAR Cup Series doesn't do many road courses and it's unlikely Cindric, who won this race in 2019 and was second in 2018, will be back "home" to race any time soon after the checkered flag flies on Saturday.


Austin Cindric roars out of the Carousel turn in 2019 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. (Richland Source file photo)

"I know the place quite well, growing up watching races as a fan and now racing on it," Cindric said during a phone interview Tuesday. "There are some tracks you just enjoy more than others.

"Whether it's been open-wheel or GT or NASCAR, I have always seemed to have a good time there," said the Columbus resident, again racing in the No. 22 Ford Mustang GT for Team Penske.

"I like any road track that has elevation changes, especially those follow the landscape and are natural. Those tracks have their own type of character and things that make them unique."

Part of that lure could be the fact his favorite spot to watch races as a kid was in The Esses, home to three quick turns and elevation changes before Thunder Valley.

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Austin Cindric celebrates after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2019. (Richland Source file photo)

Cindric has dominated the Xfinity Series this season, with three wins and nine Top 5 finishes in 12 races. He comes back home this weekend after a second-place finish at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"A lot of things are going right this season," Cindric said. "Things could be worse. When you wake up Sunday morning in Charlotte pissed that you finished second, you know things could definitely be worse."

Cindric is the son of Team Penske President Tim Cindric and the grandson of former Mid-Ohio owner Jim Trueman, who died in 1986 from colon cancer at the age of 51.

He has experienced success in all forms of motor racing, including open-wheel, trucks and sports cars, making it hard for him to select his favorite genre.

Austin Cindric

Austin Cindric, seen here during 2019 interview at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course leads the NASCAR NASCAR Xfinity Series points race after finishing second at Charlotte Motor Speedway over Memorial Day weekend. (Richland Source file photo)

"For me, it's always been apples and oranges when I get the question about certain cars and which kind of racing I prefer. There is always something different about a car that can get you excited," Cindric said.

"It's like going to a different track. I have never been hesitant about trying new things and being open to new experiences."

He knows much is expected of him every time he takes a green flag, based upon his family's racing heritage and the fact he races for Roger Penske.

"Obviously, it's a big responsibility. The ball is definitely in your court. We always have the resources we need to succeed. It's up to me and my team to achieve that success. It demands a lot out of you," Cindric said.

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Austin Cindric powers through the Carousel in 2019 during a practice session for Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series B&L Transport 170. (Richland Source file photo)

"I grew up around Mr. Penske almost my entire life. That relationship has given me invaluable experiences at a young age."

That relationship goes to the next level next season when he joins the NASCAR Cup Series full time. The plan was for Cindric to be behind the wheel of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, which is closely aligned with Penske.

But in the last few days, rumors have swirled that veteran racer Brad Keselowki will leave Team Penske at the end of this season to become a driver/owner for Roush Fenway Racing.