Thursday, Aug 18

Ford Performance NASCAR: NCS Pocono Media Availability (Austin Cindric)

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Keystone Light Ford Mustang -- WHAT DO YOU THINK THE EFFECTS WILL BE OF LOSING JEREMY BULLINS FOR THE NEXT FOUR WEEKS AFTER THE WHEEL CAME OFF LAST WEEKEND? “Obviously the strength of our team is having good people and we have a lot of depth in the team. In the last couple of years, I think race teams have gotten a lot of experience working remotely, so from that standpoint, a lot of the guys on this team have worked together a long time. I think Pocono is probably a softer race to start that with. At Charlotte, we had to have Grant as the guy on the box, so I had some experience from the 600. I don't think it should really affect us a whole lot, but it is good to get out of the way before the playoffs.”

 

SPEAKING OF PLAYOFFS, YOU HAVE THE ONE WIN BUT HOW MUCH DO YOU POINTS WATCH TO BE THE LOWEST IN POINTS WITH ONE WIN IF WE GET MORE THAN 16 WINNERS? “There is certainly a domino effect. I think you have to be cognizant of it. At the same time, I looked at Atlanta as a wild card race and then after Atlanta you start looking at points. We have been able to have some pretty good weeks here and get ourselves up in a reasonable position. That points picture is incredibly tight so it certainly could be a talking point. From my standpoint, I just do my job and try to stay above that top-16 and the rest will work itself out.”

 

WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE SUSPENSIONS? “That has been a pretty consistent penalty throughout the year. I would say with the 20 car, that was probably an anomaly and NASCAR has the data and NASCAR makes the call and that is what we got.”

 

WERE YOU EXPECTING A PENALTY BECAUSE OF HOW FAR YOUR WHEEL TRAVELED? “I knew that there is certainly the possibility of the penalty and it isn’t a position you want to be in. Like I said, NASCAR has the data and NASCAR makes the call.”

 

DID YOU NOT APPEAL THE PENALTY SO THAT YOU COULD ENSURE YOU WOULD HAVE YOUR GUYS BACK FOR THE PLAYOFFS? “I think there is certainly a strategy to that, for sure. Obviously, in four weeks we are pretty close to the start of the playoffs. I don't think you are going to ask NASCAR to rethink what they thought. I don't think with the data that we have and the call that NASCAR made, I don't think there is any reason to appeal it. We just move forward and adjust accordingly, try to have some good weeks here and get ready for the playoffs.”

 

HOW DIFFICULT HAS YOUR ROOKIE YEAR BEEN TRYING TO ADAPT TO THIS NEW CAR? “I think it certainly adds a lot of layers. When the weeks are going right and you feel like you have maybe figured something out, you show up the next week and end up qualifying 28th or wherever I was last week. It is highs and lows. I think it has been challenging for everybody to find consistency. That is what makes showing up to the race track every week a new opportunity. This week is certainly no different. There is no real consistency in the tracks on the schedule, which makes it fun for the race fans who tune in every weekend. I think it makes it fun for me to prepare differently for every weekend. To your point, it makes the challenges different every weekend.”

 

WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT THE DRIVER HAS FOR A CHALLENGE WHEN YOU HAVE THOSE CREW GUYS SUSPENDED. WHAT DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH? “It is really the loss of normalcy, basically communication. Communication is very important in this sport. Making quick decisions. I feel like with the way the strategy plays out at Pocono, it is kind of a softer race to start with because you can make those decisions and you have time to pit under green and make your own strategy like flipping stages and so on. Not that I know what our race strategy is quite yet, but from that standpoint, you have time to react at a track this big. If it was Bristol or Martinsville, that is a pretty tough position to put someone in that is usually at the race shop doing races remotely like Grant does. Grant has done it quite a few times for the team already in the past. We worked together at Charlotte. I don't really see much of a challenge there. Obviously introducing new pit crew members is certainly a challenge. That group has been a group that I have raced with for quite a while. Having changes certainly changes the choreography for those guys. They practiced through the week anticipating a change, so I expect those guys to be in good shape, do the race accordingly, and play it as it lies, I guess.”

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