Team Penske’s Austin Cindric started the 2022 year with a victory in the season-opening Daytona 500 and he took the season’s final checkered flag on Sunday having earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
Cindric, 24, has the Daytona 500 victory, earned five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes this season and advanced to the second round of the Playoffs.
He said securing that all-important early season victory allowed him to essentially learn the ropes of NASCAR’s major league as a rookie with the security of knowing he’d already earned a Playoff position.
“It does change the regular season in the fact I’m able to go through the regular season without the pressure of having to win a race as well as figure everything out,” Cindric said. “And that was probably more of an advantage than I gave it credit for, not having to put pressure on yourself, your team or have to be desperate.
“From that standpoint I think it was something made me be able to be patient or aggressive in areas I needed to be.”
Following Cindric in the rookie standings are fellow Ford drivers – Wood Brothers’ Harrison Burton and Front Row Motorsports’ Todd Gilliland. Burton’s best finish was a third place at the Indianapolis road course this summer. Gilliland’s top effort was a fourth place at the Indy road course.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!