NASCAR Playoff Contenders, Christopher Bell And Austin Cindric Face Differing Paths Following Championship Weekendby Benjamin Sanders November 16, 2017
Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric, two of the brightest young drivers in NASCAR, face differing paths on the eve of the biggest professional evening of their careers.
It was finally confirmed on Wednesday that Bell will pilot the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota in the XFINITY Series next season after impressing in limited starts this year in addition to his dominant NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Bell is set for stardom as the newest star in Toyota’s universe, but he still struggles to comprehend how quickly he has moved from dirt cars to NASCAR.
“I remember watching it happen to Larson and thinking how cool that was,” Bell said. “I think his was a three‑year span maybe. So that was incredible to watch. I’m just focused on my task at hand, and that’s to win a Truck Series championship tomorrow and another race, but going into next year, I’m stoked to go XFINITY racing. Hopefully I can continue to win races.”
Meanwhile, Austin Cindric has no clue if he will even be in a stock car come 2018. Cindric, who has a diverse racing background, is still searching for his next opportunity within or outside the Team Penske banner. Cindric has experience in GT cars and rallycross, but maintains stock cars is where he wants to be.
“I’d love to know what I’m doing next year,” Cindric said. “We are working on it. That is my week job. I mean, to be able to make the Championship Four in the Truck Series and to not be in NASCAR next year I feel like would be a shame. I am working very hard to try and work on several opportunities to keep relevant in the NASCAR world. Obviously, I have a lot of different fishing lines in a lot of different ponds in the motorsport world, but it’s the time for me to be in NASCAR.”
This uncertainty will force Cindric to race as hard as he ever has on Friday night, despite not racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway in a competitive setting before.
“I don’t think anyone anticipates us winning the championship, which I love, because that means we are the underdog,” Cindric said. “It is called being a rookie, right? No experience and trying to figure it out on-the-fly and that’s what my career has been about. That’s what this season has been about for me.”
However, Bell has been here before and is looking forward to finishing out his tenure with Kyle Busch Motorsports and JBL Audio in the best possible way.
“I’m going to miss the people,” Bell said. “I really enjoy everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Through my three‑year run there now, I’ve worked with every team, and so I know everyone in the building at Kyle Busch Motorsports, and they’ve become really good friends of mine. I’m going to miss them.”
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 8 p.m. ET on Friday night.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com