Austin Cindric had a fine debut season to remember, which started with him winning the Daytona 500.
The Team Penske’s No. 2 driver showed a lot of promise after replacing Brad Keselowski in the 2022 Cup Series season. He capped the good year with the Rookie of the year award.
While Cindric couldn’t add to his one win, winning one of the most prestigious awards in his debut season is an achievement in itself.
However, his teammate and 2022 Cup champion Joey Logano is of the opinion that Cindric and other rookies would have struggled last year, prior to the introduction of the Next Gen car.
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Cindric disagrees with Logano in that regard. Having driven the car last year on a part-time basis, Cindric is in a position to disagree with his personal experience.
“Something I was told that I don’t think is true is that 2022 is the best year to be a rookie in the Cup Series. I say this, and I’ve had a good year, some would say a great year. I’ve had a very productive season. And Joey [Logano] and I disagree because Joey thinks if I had come and driven last year’s car, I would have struggled a lot more than I did this year,” Austin Cindric said.
“Well, I drove last year’s car last year, so I feel like I have a gauge on that. And although the playing field in some sense is level, I am not able to consult my teammates or team or anyone about the right or wrong way to do something because this year, no one knew what it was because we learned at a fast pace and it’s very easy to lead the team in the wrong direction.”.
However, Cindric added that without any reference to the new model, it made the drivers’ jobs much harder.
“There is nowhere to hide in 2022 Cup racing when everyone has the same chassis. If you’re bad, you are bad. I‘ve had to pull from a lot of notebooks and be creative and open-minded, and I wouldn’t say it’s the hardest season to be a rookie, but I think not having any baseline or reference point of how you’re doing or how to get better is really challenging,” Austin Cindric added.