Austin Cindric Phoenix post-race comments

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford MustangYOU ARE THE CHAMPION.  HOW CONFIDENT WERE YOU IN THAT LAST CALL TO COME TO PIT ROAD?  “I watched Sheldon Creed do it last night, so why couldn’t we?  Amazing effort by this 22 team.  Brian Wilson and all the guys.  Everybody back at the shop.  There was a lot of work put into this race car.  Roger Penske.  Everyone from Penske Racing.  The Menards family, John, Paul, Jim, Jeff — all those guys that put so much support into racing itself.  It’s awesome to get them a championship in NASCAR, to be a champion in NASCAR, and do it in front of all these great people cheering us on at championship weekend.  Ford Performance, Doug Yates, everybody at Roush Yates Engines.  I’m speechless.  I can’t believe it.  I’m pretty humbled by the effort for sure.”

EARLIER THIS WEEK YOU SAID WHEN YOU CAME INTO NASCAR YOU KNEW A LOT ABOUT CARS BUT NOT MUCH ABOUT RACING.  TO NOW BE A CHAMPION IN NASCAR WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?  “I finally learned how to race a little better, that’s for certain.  The people that have put the support in me and been dedicated — my spotter Coleman Pressley.  All the folks that have supported me throughout my career, not just here but the road racing, driving Rallycross cars.  My mom and my dad.  I can’t forget them.  They’re my parents and they’ve put more support behind me than anyone else.  My mom has been my rock for my entire racing career.  I told you guys that early in the week and I’m so glad she was here to watch.”

WHAT WAS THE TURNING POINT IN THIS RACE?  “This thing came to life lap one.  I mean, talk about a relationship between driver and crew chief.  I can ask him exactly…we were terrible here in the spring race when I moved up, and I asked him, I told him exactly what I needed and he gave it to me and look where we are.  It’s amazing.”

WERE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT THAT LAST PIT CALL?  “You’d think I’d be nervous this entire weekend, but given how important this race was for me and my team I was happy to be here, happy to be racing for a championship and that mentality has paid off.  I’ve been points racing for the last six weeks and I got to drive my ass off for one day and put this Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang in Victory Lane.”

THE CAR SEEMED IT WAS MUCH BETTER ON LONGER RUNS.  DID YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES THROUGHOUT THE DAY?  “I think we gave her a skosh of air-pressure.  I mean, this thing came here perfect.  It’s amazing what these guys are capable of.  It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of preparation.  I know that’s easy to say, but the work gets done and effort equals results.”

DID YOU EVER DREAM YOU WOULD BE A NASCAR CHAMPION AT 9 YEARS OLD WHEN YOU WANTED TO GO RACING?  “When I started racing Bandolero and Legends cars I got a lot tougher because I wasn’t very good.  I guess to any kid out there that’s trying to make a career at this it’s about the hard work you put in.  It’s not about where you start, it’s how you figure it out along the way and I’m very fortunate that I have parents that have seen it all and believe in me and I have a team behind me that does the same.”

IT’S BEEN A DIFFERENT YEAR.  ROGER PENSKE IS HERE.  WHAT DID HE TELL YOU ON THE RADIO?  “He was pumped.  This is a guys that gives his drivers what they need and the fact that we were able to get it done with those resources and have a shot at a championship tomorrow.  We’re just getting the crowd warmed up for Penske Racing.  On Saturday we get the championship and hopefully the boys can get it all on Sunday.”

— Ford Performance —