AUSTIN CINDRIC (TEAM PENSKE RACING) FORD
2023 DRIVER FANTASY POINTS: 27th
2024 FANTASY NASCAR RANK: 24th
* The 2024 ranking are based on the driver’s projected points scored for the 2024 season and not his predicted finish in the Cup Series standings. The rankings are based on the driver’s performance last year, momentum heading into the 2024 season and the strength of the driver’s team.
2023 RECAP: Austin Cindric won the Daytona 500 and scored the 20th most fantasy points in 2022. He was not as good last year. Cindric did not win a race, only had one finish in the top-five (Talladega) and he had an average finishing position of 21.6. Those types of stats will not cut it when your teammates won the last two Cup Series Championships.
Austin Cindric won the Xfinity Series Championship in 2020 and he finished second in the standings in 2021. That success has not translated into success at the Cup Series. Cindric has the same notes, the same setups and the same cars as Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano. Maybe Cindric just does not have the talent to be a top-15 driver in the Cup Series. I ranked him 18th last year and he was a major disappointment. I will drop Cindric six spots and hope he can find the speed that his teammates have found.
2024 PREVIEW: There are reports that Austin CIndric signed a one year deal with Team Penske Racing, so there is a lot of pressure for him to produce in 2024. His dad (Tim Cindric) is the President of Team Penske Racing, so Cindric will have a longer leash than other drivers have, but Team Penske is just too strong of an organization to have a driver consistently finishing outside the top-20.
So what should we do with Austin Cindric in our Fantasy NASCAR leagues? The Fords had the advantage on the Superspeedways in 2023 and I doubt that will change in 2024. Cindric will have his most fantasy value at Daytona and Talladega this year.
Do not overlook Austin Cindric on the road courses. His finishing position is not as consistent as we would like, but he does know how to navigate these tracks. COTA and the Chicago Street Course have been his best tracks. It may be a good idea to use Cindric as your One & Done driver at one of these two tracks.
SUPERSPEEDWAY VALUE (DAYTONA, TALLADEGA, ATLANTA)
Austin Cindric won the Daytona 500 in 2022. Was it a fluke? I do not think so. Cindric backed up his win in the Daytona 500 with a third-place finish in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in 2022. He crashed out of both races at Daytona last year, but he was still able to run up front and score some Stage Points. Cindric is a good sleeper pick for your season-long leagues at Daytona.
Austin Cindric has been good at Talladega in the Cup Series, but ONLY in October. Cindric finished 5th and 9th in his two October races at Talladega. He finished 26th and 21st in his two spring races at the track. I know it is a small sample size, but I do see a trend. I will play Cindric at Talladega in the fall and fade him in the spring.
Austin Cindric has been pretty good at Atlanta since the track started to use the Superspeedway package. Cindric finished 3rd, 11th and 12th in his last three races at the track. Cindric will be a good sleeper pick to use in Fantasy Live and the Driver Group Game at Atlanta so that you can save your top drivers for the more predictable tracks.
Austin Cindric will only have value in DFS Contests if he qualifies outside the top-25, with a good chance to score place differential points.
(Austin Cindric ranked 8th in fantasy points scored on the Superspeedways last year with an average finishing position of 19.3)
SHORT-FLAT TRACK VALUE (PHOENIX, RICHMOND, MARTINSVILLE, GATEWAY, NEW HAMPSHIRE, IOWA)
The best short, flat track for Austin Cindric is Gateway. He qualified second, led 26 laps, won Stage 1 and finished 11th at Gateway in 2022. Last year he qualified 10th, scored Stage Points in Stage 1 and finished 13th. There are better drivers to use in Fantasy Live league, but Cindric is worth consideration for your Driver Group Game lineup and DFS Contests at Gateway.
The other track where you may want to consider using Austin Cindric is at Iowa Speedway. I recommend fading Cindric at Phoenix, Richmond and Martinsville, unless he runs well at these tracks in the spring.
(Austin Cindric ranked 17th in fantasy points scored on the short-flat tracks last year with an average finishing position of 23.3)
HIGH-BANKED TRACK VALUE (BRISTOL, DOVER)
Bristol Motor Speedway ranked as the worst track for Austin Cindric in the Xfinity Series and it is his second-worst track in the Cup Series. His average finishing position in Thunder Valley is 26th and his driver rating is 36.6. There are better drivers to use in your Fantasy NASCAR lineups when the Cup Series competes at Bristol.
Austin Cindric won at Dover in the Xfinity Series in 2021 and his average finishing position in his last four Xfinity Series races at the Monster Mile is 2.25. Those stats have not translated into success in the Cup Series at Dover. Cindric has two races at Dover on his Cup Series resume. He finished 36th and 26th in the two races. Save your allocations with Cindric for the road courses and Superspeedways. Make sure you fade him at the high-banked tracks in 2024.
(Austin Cindric ranked 27th in fantasy points scored on the high-banked tracks last year with an average finishing position of 29th)
ROAD COURSE TRACK VALUE (COTA, SONOMA, WATKINS GLEN, CHICAGO STREET, CHARLOTTE ROVAL)
Austin Cindric has a background in racing the Sportscars in the Weathertech Series. That experience has helped Cindric be competitive in the Cup Series on the road courses.
Austin Cindric started 31st and finished 6th at the Chicago Street Course last year. That race was affected by rain and NASCAR threw the checkered flag early to end the race. It is tough to use the stats from that race for our picks this year. I will keep Cindric on my radar for the second race at Chicago though.
The best road course track for Austin Cindric has been COTA. He qualified in the top 10 in all three races, scored Stage Points in five of the six Stages, led laps in every race and finished the last two races at COTA in the top-eight. Make sure Cindric is in your Fantasy NASCAR lineups at COTA and it is the best track to use Cindric in your One & Done contests.
Austin Cindric has been pretty good at Sonoma and Watkins Glen too. He will be a good choice at these tracks “if” he qualifies up front. The only road course where Cindric has struggled is at the Charlotte Roval. There are better drivers for your Fantasy NASCAR teams in Charlotte.
(Austin Cindric ranked 9th in fantasy points scored on the road courses last year with an average finishing position of 15.5)
HIGH TIRE WEAR TRACK VALUE (AUTO CLUB, DARLINGTON, MICHIGAN, HOMESTEAD)
Austin Cindric has been good but not great at Homestead. He finished 12th and 19th in his two races in Southern Florida. I would expect similar results in 2024. You can probably find better drivers for your Fantasy NASCAR teams when the Cup Series races at Homestead.
The stats for Austin Cindric at Michigan are a bit misleading. His average finishing position is 24.5 in his two races, but that is because he crashed at the track in 2022 (it was not his fault). Cindric bounced back with a 12th-place finish at Michigan last year. Michigan is one of the better tracks for Team Penske, so I expect Cindric to finish in the top-15 in Ford’s backyard this year.
You can fade Austin Cindric at Darlington. His average finishing position in his four Cup Series races at “The Track Too Tough to Tame” is 21st. That is not good enough to win you any money in DFS or to move you to the top of your league standings in season-long leagues.
(Austin Cindric ranked 21st in fantasy points scored on the high tire wear tracks last year with an average finishing position of 20.4)
INTERMEDIATE TRACK VALUE (LAS VEGAS, KANSAS, CHARLOTTE AND TEXAS)
The reason why Austin Cindric won the Xfinity Series championship in 2020 and the reason why he finished second in 2021 is because of his success on the intermediate tracks. Those wins and top-five finishes have not translated into success in the Cup Series.
Austin Cindric has an average finishing position of 24.4 at Kansas, 19.3 at Las Vegas, 21st at Texas and 32.5 at Charlotte. Ford will introduce the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse this year. Ford Racing has said the car was designed to improve the speed for the Fords on the intermediate tracks. It would have to work miracles in order for Cindric to bring his Ford home in the top-10 consistently on the intermediate tracks. There are better drivers for your Fantasy NASCAR lineups at Las Vegas, Kansas, Texas and Charlotte in 2024.
(Austin Cindric ranked 20th in fantasy points scored on the intermediate tracks last year with an average finishing position of 24.8)
Best Tracks for Austin Cindric: 1) COTA, 2) Gateway, 3) Daytona, 4) Chicago, 5) Atlanta
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* Team Information from Jaysky.com
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