MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Story by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell – Performance Motorsports Network audio – IndyCenterBrazil.com photo –
Austin Cindric had little time to breathe in 2014 after racing non-stop in multiple different disciplines.
Cindric, just 16, grabbed a Rallycross Lites bronze medal this summer in Austin (at the X Games), and earned a podium finish at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis on the USF2000 tour this season – both accomplishments highlighting his jam-packed schedule.
“I think the biggest thing that stuck out to me was winning the bronze medal at the X Games,” Cindric explained, “and then earning a USF2000 podium (second at Lucas Oil Raceway) were good personal strides for me and something I was able to capitalize on this season.”
Along with the podium in USF2000 action, Cindric notched five top-10 finishes on the season to land him 14th in the championship standings (285 markers behind points leader and champion Florian Latorre).
USF2000 was not the single series that Cindric was involved in though — he competed in the Red Bull Global Rallycross, Pirelli World Challenge, V8 Supercars Championship in Australia, and even tried his hand in a test session at Daytona for the ARCA Racing Series last month.
“(Each car) was a different experience,” Cindric expressed. “I think just from that fact alone, I have been able to adapt better between different cars – something that has helped me a lot. This season I had to go back and forth between USF2000, Global Rallycross, and the Pirelli World Challenge.”
“I raced a lot of cars in 2014, and that helps me now, like when I step into an ARCA car at a test I can adapt and learn quicker – (which ultimately) makes me faster.”
And adapting is just what Cindric did in the ARCA test for Cunningham Motorsports, leading the final session of testing and beating out stock-car regulars like Sean Corr, Patrick Staropoli and his teammate Tom Hessert.
“It was a pleasant surprise when the Cunningham Motorsports team offered me a chance to test (at Daytona),” Cindric said. “I didn’t know what to expect going into the session, but I talked to my teammate Tom Hessert before the test and figured out what I needed to do.”
“We kept on improving throughout the day, and even got to work on some drafting. To be honest, it was a blast. I got to set a new personal high speed record at 192 MPH, which is awesome for someone who doesn’t even have a driver’s license.”
Cindric now prepares for 2015 and while he is still working on some details, the Columbus, Ohio driver did announce that he will again be racing in multiple divisions, hoping to gain more recognition and continue moving up the ranks.
“I am planning on doing a full season of Continental Tire Sports Car racing,” Cindric said of his plans for the 2015 season. “And then we are doing a little fooling around with IMSA – and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. We (are competing with) a top team (in TUDOR) – the team hasn’t announced the driver lineup though.”
“I would also like to continue with my Rallycross career, so we are looking for a ride in that series – we have a little bit of time to pull that together.”
One thing that Cindric looks to improve upon during his rookie season in the Continental Tire SportsCar Series is learning to share the driving duties and also being able to withstand the endurance events.
And above all that, he seeks to gain respect from the veterans – something that most rookies are unable to do.
“I did the finale at Road Atlanta (in the Continental Tire Series) and it was the first time that I was involved in a race where there was a driver change – and a race I had to share the car,” Cindric said about the endurance events. “That’s something I am going to have to deal with and adapt to this season.”
“And being just 16-years-old in a sports car series like that, there are a lot of professionals and more experienced drivers. But, you have to prove yourself and earn their respect. I feel like that’s what I need to do as a rookie.”
Cindric won’t have to take on the sports cars – or any other series – alone, however; as he will have his father (and Team Penske President) Tim Cindric to guide him.
The younger Cindric does not want to be ‘spoon-fed’ though; he wants prove his worth and then see what opportunities could be presented to him from his father’s organization.
“It is what is,” Cindric explained about being the son of a recognizable figure in racing. “I still have to prove myself and show that I’m as good of a race car driver as anybody else. So I feel like that doesn’t get in the way that much.”
“It may or may not present opportunities for me down the road, but it is just something I have in my back pocket. He (my father) has a lot of knowledge to share with me and it’s definitely great.”
Listen in to an extended cut of Cindric’s interview with Race Chaser Online from last Monday’s edition of Motorsports Madness: