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What Are Expectations for Austin Cindric After Win?

Nascar Cup Series

What more can we expect from Austin Cindric in both the regular season and playoffs?

Kevin Nix: Not much in the regular season, but he can surprise people come playoff time. The increased parity of the Next Gen era means that if a non-dominant team nails the setup for a race, the driver has a strong chance to win. World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway was the first time all year that Austin Cindric showed anything close to race-winning speed, and credit to him, he capitalized in the best way possible. That said, Cindric can easily make the Round of 12. Atlanta Motor Speedway is in the first round of the playoffs, as well as Watkins Glen International, and Cindric’s strengths as a driver are road courses and superspeedways. He’s not a first-round bust; instead, he is a dark horse pick to make the Round of 8.

James Krause: Not much. Even after his win, Cindric has just six top-20 finishes this season, the same as he had last season after Gateway. That said, he’s been good when Team Penske’s had the strongest cars at places like Atlanta or last week at Gateway. He was 20th in the points before his win, on the fringe of playoff cutline hopefuls. It’s fair to say he won’t contend for wins often, but he and crew chief Brian Wilson can do everything they can to accrue stage wins and gather bonus points. When playoffs come, don’t bet on him being in the final eight, maybe even the final 12.

Andrew Stoddard: The Ford stable has experienced a surge in performance over the past month or so. However, until last week’s win at Gateway, Cindric did not really partake in that uptick in speed, with three straight finishes of 20th or worse before his victory. The No. 2 team is just not consistent enough to rise to the tier of a championship contender. On the other hand, the early playoff rounds line up well for Cindric, with a superspeedway and road course each in the Round of 16 and Round of 12. Those are two track types that Cindric has raced well on in the past. With some positive momentum, Cindric could make a Cinderella run to the Round of 8.

Nine drivers have won thus far in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season. With 11 races to go, how many more winners will we get?

Austin Bass: Of the winless drivers still searching for their first victory in 2024, I expected Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Ty Gibbs and Martin Truex Jr. to have won a race by now, so I will carry that expectation through the remainder of the regular season….

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