While the NASCAR Xfinity Series is taking a week off, Austin Cindric will still be in a stock car. On Monday, Team Penske announced Cindric will run Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway, returning to the #33 Ford Mustang. It will be his third career start at the top level.
“Good news,” began the team on social media. “Austin Cindric and the Verizon 5G colors will be back in the Cup Series this weekend at Richmond Raceway.”
After his Cup début in the Daytona 500 ended in a wreck on the final lap and a fifteenth-place finish, Cindric returned to the series in March at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After starting thirty-ninth, he finished twenty-second and two laps behind race winner and Penske team-mate Ryan Blaney. There does not appear to be a pattern to Cindric’s three entries to date, though each have come on a different track type with Daytona being a superspeedway, Atlanta a 1.5-mile oval, and Richmond a short track. As Cindric will move to a full-time Cup schedule with Wood Brothers Racing in 2022, it is likely that Penske wants to acclimate him to premier-series racing at each configuration in advance.
Verizon 5G, which sponsored him in the 500, returns to the #33 for Richmond. PIRTEK served as his Atlanta sponsor.
In his main series, he leads the Xfinity points with a 42-point advantage over Daniel Hemric. Cindric has top tens in all but one race (the exception being a thirteenth at Atlanta) with wins at Daytona and Phoenix. He finished sixth in Sunday’s race at Martinsville.
In six career Xfinity starts at Richmond since 2018, he has five top tens, a pole in the 2019 fall race, and a pair of runner-up finishes in both events that year. The 2021 Xfinity schedule only has one race at the short track in the fall.