The season-long trials of the No. 60 Roush Ford and its driver rotation have become the subject of social media fodder during Xfinity Series races. So much so that the Ford Development drivers splitting the car — Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe and Ty Majeski — get special recognition when the 60 is NOT involved in a crash.
It’s been especially frustrating for Xfinity rookie Cindric, with four of his nine races in the 60 ending in a crash (Cindric is splitting the Xfinity schedule between Roush and Team Penske). In September, he fought back tears after a tag by Ryan Truex sent him hard into the wall at Darlington just two laps into the race.
Given his quick jump from the Truck Series, where he had just one full season under his belt, the 20-year-old Cindric told Fox Sports that he’s in no rush to move up the NASCAR ladder.
“I’ve obviously got a good support system,” Cindric said. “I feel like this past year, even moving up to the Xfinity Series was pretty quick for me, and I think that shows in some of the mistakes I made this year. But you don’t learn without making mistakes.
“I feel like another year in trucks would have done me some good, just being able to go out and execute races the entire year instead of getting into the playoffs and now just finally starting to execute races the way I think I should.”
Cindric scored a truck win last season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for Brad Keselowski Racing, which was shut down at the end of 2017. With his ride gone, Cindric said his move to Xfinity boiled down to his best available option at the end of 2017.
“I didn’t have opportunities in truck racing [at the end of the year],” he explained. “My only opportunities were to go Xfinity racing, and it was like, all right, it sounds like I’m going Xfinity racing. So you gotta figure it out, either drown or swim.
“I feel like I need at least another year or two in Xfinity. I haven’t been in the NASCAR snow globe for a very long time, so not only do I need to understand more about the sport and what a driver’s expected to do and how to execute a race weekend, but I think I need to know more about what to expect from my team and drivers around me and be part of that social etiquette that’s very unspoken between other drivers.”
That aspect – learning how to compete against his fellow races – is something Cindric says he’s adjusting to. And it could hold the key to executing a race the way he hopes to.
“It’s not that I care [if I’m thought of as a jerk]; that’s what affects how I’m raced, how other spotters spot, how other teams prepare throughout a weekend,” he said. “It’s a very social sport compared to any other type of racing or any other type of sport, in my opinion, because you’re constantly around those same people the entire time.
“If you’re being overly aggressive with that guy, he’s probably not going to cut you any slack next time.”