Ford Performance NASCAR: Austin Cindric Las Vegas Media Availability

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Friday, February 21, 2020
EVENT: Boyd Gaming 300 Media Availability

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – RAIN IS EXPECTED TOMORROW.  HOW DOES THAT CHANGE HOW YOU LOOK AT PRACTICE TODAY?  “I think for us the biggest change in practice for this year is that we only get one set of tires and we have only one practice session.  For us, it definitely prioritizes things to make sure we’re getting base hits and making sure we’re at least close enough.  Obviously, if the rain comes, I think we have enough adjustability in the car to be able to make the necessary changes.”

NOT KNOWING WHEN THIS RACE WILL START HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR DAY AT THE TRACK?  “Ready to go as always.  I’ve been waiting for this weekend for a while.  It’s a great track.  It’s a great weekend.  The fans really love this place.  There is obviously a lot to do in Las Vegas, but I’m really excited to put on a good show and really kick off our year.”
American Muscle

YOU SAID LAST WEEK THAT THE SEASON STARTS AT LAS VEGAS.  “Yeah, I was really proud of the performance we had last fall in Las Vegas.  We has about everything go wrong in that race, but we showed a lot of speed and a lot of promise with a brand new package, so we’ve improved upon that package since then and improved our cars over the offseason, so has everyone else, but we get to see where everything stands here on the west coast swing.”

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO DISTINGUISH YOURSELF FROM YOUR COMPETITORS THIS SEASON?  “More playoff points than everybody else makes my life a lot easier.  That’s what my mindset is this entire season and that’s getting regular season points, being a points contender for that, and then trying to make it to where the second round of the playoffs isn’t so much of a round of perfection, whereas a good, solid race can really propel us in a Championship 4 spot.”

ONLY ONE PRACTICE TODAY.  HOW MUCH DOES THAT COUNT WHEN YOU QUALIFY IN THE MORNING?  “I think our qualifying changeover doesn’t change a whole lot, but our unload speed and how our car drives off the truck is gonna be really critical for this kind of practice setup and the other races that we have this same scenario.  I think it gives rookies a great opportunity to have double the tires, but for us unloading strong starts at the shop.  Our guys have put in a lot of hard work and I’m looking forward to seeing where we’re at.”

HOW DO THESE CARS HANDLE ON THIS TRACK?  “The spring race is definitely more of a track position race because it is a lot faster, it’s harder to follow.  When we were here in the fall it was over 100-degree temperatures and right now it’s 50 degrees or whatever, so that temperature swing is a massive speed difference, so making sure the balance of the car is good for those loads, but I’m excited. It’s a fun race.  I don’t think we’re gonna move around quite as much as what we saw in the fall race, but I still think we’ll work our way up.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC CONTINUED — YOU’RE A TALLER GUY ON THE CIRCUIT.  AFTER WHAT HAPPENED TO RYAN DO YOU GUYS TAKE DIFFERENT PRECAUTIONS TO MAKE YOUR COCKPIT SAFER BECAUSE OF YOUR HEIGHT?  “When you’re tall, bigger, wider, whatever, it limits room in the car and the less room that you have to move around is safer, so the guys at Team Penske – Dave Kenny and all the group that puts a lot of effort into that.  I’ve never had any incident in a stock car, knock on wood, that I’ve really had any adverse effects.  I had a pretty big hit in the XFINITY race on Saturday and I’m 100 percent, so it’s obviously a testament to what NASCAR does and they’ve got a whole team that does that.  As a group of drivers and teams and owners we’ll sit down every year in Daytona and talk about what safety improvements have been made, and it’s impressive the work that group does and NASCAR throughout the season and throughout the winter to really improve what as a driver you might not have even thought was relevant until they bring up that information, so the summary of that is there are a lot of people doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes.”

WOULD YOU HAVE EVER THOUGHT ABOUT YOUR HEIGHT?  “For me, all my height is in my legs, so anything for me is just packaging my legs inside the car and making sure my back is on the correct angle, making sure my hips are in the right spot, but otherwise those are the biggest precautions I’ve had to take.  I’ve never had any back issues or anything like that.  We saw here with Austin Theriault in the truck race a couple years ago he had a back issue because of a crash and I think the NASCAR community learned a lot about that and how to position a driver and where the placement of the legs and back and how all that connects.”

WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’VE IMPROVED THE MOST?  “I think knowing what’s normal.  I think that’s the biggest challenge.  It’s a hard challenge to describe because what was normal for me is so foreign to what makes a race weekend what your priorities are – how do you get the most out of the car?  Where does getting the most out of the car matter?  And where is your head at supposed to be for race day, so that’s somewhere I’m pretty comfortable with on both sides of the spectrum, whether I’m racing a sport car somewhere or racing a stock car.  So I feel pretty confident about that and feel pretty confident that that disadvantage has become an asset for me, so I think that’s where my strengths have come in and I think this year it’s about racing the race tracks and execution for our team.”

WILL YOU GO BACK TO THE EAST COAST AFTER THIS RACE?  “Yeah, I’ll go back every week.  My home is there and I don’t have much going on anywhere else.  I can go work out.  I can go play at the go-kart track if I want.  My dog is at home, so I’d rather just go home.”

IT’S HARD FOR THE TEAM, BUT HOW IS IT FOR YOU?  “The teams will come back as well.  The cars will stay out here obviously.  That’s the big thing.  I think the west coast swing is a big haul on the truck drivers and their families.  I’ve gotten close to some of those guys, not just the guys on my team but the guys I’ve worked with in the past and it’s a long stretch for those guys and their families and coming right after Daytona, especially with the turnover the Cup guys had, but, yeah, for me, it’s just another race weekend – just a longer flight.”


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