Cendrick suffered a nerve-racking night race when his Penske Ford Mustang struggled with two right front tires, dropping him several laps from the leaders.
But when playoff rival Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota’s engine blew up in the final stage, it actually saved his hopes of advancing to the 12th round. He needed late to make sure he stayed in a title dispute.
Cindric, who is in the rookie season as a full-time driver for car #2, believes the experience will make him even stronger in the upcoming races, as he strives to lift himself off the bottom of the qualifying pile.
“I think it’s more of a motivator for anyone with doubts within the team like, ‘Oh, man, we’re done,'” Cendrick said. “You have to have those thoughts in this situation. You have a right front down and go four laps down and cornered.
“You’re like, ‘Oh, my God.’ We are done. We can’t do this. To anyone who has these thoughts in the race, I can put these thoughts in the car as well. I was not. I had to push my heart to 350 laps or something after we cut through all those moments, but I think inside the team it almost takes away the mentality that we can do it.
“We’ve already proven that you can’t give up in these situations. You don’t know what’s going to happen, so I think having this experience definitely helps but, obviously, the team handled the situation wonderfully and we were able to put ourselves in a position to advance to the next round. “.
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, M&M’s Toyota Camry, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off-Road Chevrolet Camaro, Austin Syndrick, Team Penske, Freightliner Ford Mustang, Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, Motorcraft / Quick Lane Ford Mustang
Photo by: John Harrelson/NKP/Motorsport Images
After the points reset, Cindric is at 3006 and needs to climb four places to get to the next round of 8 over the next three events – starting with Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. He is 34 points behind leader Chase Elliott, and seven points below the cut-off line – with teammate Ryan Blaney currently holding last place to lead.
“I think it’s definitely possible for us to make our way to the quarter-finals,” he said. “But I think anyone in the eighth round, I think you have to win the race.
“I think, especially someone in my position on the points, I have to win and I think I will be competitive enough to race for wins to expect to be in Championship 4.
“This kind of talk is self-evident, but I think anyone who thinks they’re going to make Championship 4 should win the races in Round 8.”