The Round of 16 ended on September 17 with four Cup Series drivers being eliminated from the competition for the championship. Austin Cendrick avoided the proverbial axe, and followed in the footsteps of another New Year’s winner.
Cendric made his way to the round of 12 with two points. He became the first junior player since the 2016 season to pass the first round of playoffs. Chase Elliott was the last rookie to do so, and he accomplished the feat by turning third in the first three races. Christopher Boecher also competed in the 2016 qualifiers as a rookie, but his run ended in the round of 16.
Cindric joins Elliott on this list of outstanding rookie players, but now he has a chance to make more in the playoffs. Elliott did not survive the round of 12 in 2016 after finishing 33rd in Charlotte, 31st in Kansas, and 12th in Talladega.
Cendrick will face one of those tracks – Talladega – during the 2022 Round of 12. He will race at super sprints on October 2 after making his debut at Texas Motor Speedway. He will then finish the 12th round in Charlotte Ruffale.
Cendric saw some struggles at Bristol Motor Speedway
Getting to the round of 12 wasn’t easy. Cindric had his share of struggles during the chops race, falling several laps behind the field. However, he managed to survive the battle of attrition and secure enough points while the others failed.
Cendrick had two tire failures during the race, one early in the first stage. He was also caught up in an incident involving Eric Almerola and Harrison Burton, which nearly ended his night. Cindric was able to go on and finish 20th overall. He beat Tyler Riddick (25) and Kyle Bush (34) by two points.
“For a while, I was trying as hard as I could, and because they fell like flies just tried not to force any problems, try not to force more front-right tire malfunctions,” Cendrick said after the race, quoting courtesy Ford Performance.
From there, I guess I was limited to 18 laps at 100 laps, but only one hell of a night. I still don’t think this place loves me again, but maybe show me a little mercy tonight, so I’ll take her and run with her. We’ll be in case Offensive in the next three races as we were going to start Darlington this round and having some fun with it.”
Cendric starts 12th with another flaw
The 2022 rookie avoided disqualification at the lowest profit margins, but he’s nowhere near as safe as heading to Texas Motor Speedway. Cendric enters the Round of 12 below the cutting line.
NASCAR replanted the playoff points after the trip to Bristol Motor Speedway. Elliott is now top of the rankings again at 3,040 points while Joey Lugano is second at 3,025. Cindric, for comparison, is one of the four engines below the starting streak.
Cendric enters the Round of 12 with 3,006 points. He is one point behind Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez and three points behind Chase Briscoe. That’s a drawback, but it’s within reach of the last moving point where Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin sit on 3,013 points.
Heavier on NASCAR news
Load more stories