NASCAR Driver Austin Cindric Describes ‘Life-Changing Decision’ to Become a Driver

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR rookie Austin Cindric just won the Daytona 500 a few weeks ago, but he might never have become a racer in the first place without having a certain conversation with his parents.

Cindric grew up around racing his whole life, per Essentially Sports. One of his grandfathers, Jim Trueman, owned an IndyCar team. His other grandfather, Carl Cindric, built engines. And Austin’s dad, Tim Cindric, has been the Team Penske president since 2006.

Growing up with so many family members entrenched in racing only inspired the NASCAR driver to pursue it himself. And Austin Cindric declared that to his parents at the early age of nine, he told Dale Earnhardt Jr. on The Dale Jr. Download.

“I walked in my parent’s bedroom one night when I was nine years old. And it’s kind of a weird way to put it and I had no idea why I did, but I said, ‘I wanna have a life-changing discussion,'” Cindric shared with the fellow racer.

“My parents were like, ‘What is this?’ And I’m like, ‘I wanna be a racecar driver. I’ve always wanted to be one, I want to try, I want to do it,’” Cindric continued. “And my dad’s instantly like, ‘You’re gonna be too tall.’”

For the record, Austin Cindric is now 6’4, far taller than most NASCAR drivers. But even back then, he seemed to know what his dad would say and he prepared for the question.

“‘What about Michael Waltrip? What about Justin Wilson?’” Cindric shared. “I hit him back with those two and he was like, ‘Okay.’”

The fact that he knew about these fellow taller racers just goes to show how badly Austin Cindric wanted to race from a young age.

Tim Cindric, Father of Austin Cindric, Explains Why He Didn’t Want His Son to Be a NASCAR Driver

You would think, given Tim Cindric’s profession, that he’d be ecstatic that his son wanted to take an interest in racing. But in fact, Tim told Austin the opposite growing up. In an interview with ESPN, right after Austin Cindric’s Daytona 500 win, Tim explained a bit more about his advice for his son.

“I always told him that there was never going to be a parachute from mom and dad,” Tim Cindric said. “He was probably 10 years old and racing really wasn’t the road I wanted him to take. I told him when he was in high school that we’d been able to help him up to then. But he was going to have to go to college or if he went racing, he’d have to find his own way in racing.”

Tim never specified why that wasn’t “the road” he wanted Austin to take. Maybe because he knew firsthand how dangerous the profession can be. Or any number of reasons. But you can’t deny how proud he must be of his son, a Daytona 500 champion.