Austin Cindric is the defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion and his 2021 title defense has gotten off to an amazing start with 2 wins in the first 8 starts of the season. Although he has clearly shown that he is one of the best drivers in the series and can definity repeat his amazing season last year, nobody seems to be talking about Cindric as a favorite.
Cindric currently sits at the top of the regular season standings 59 points above a winless Daniel Hemric. Cindrics monster start has slowed down, as expected, but he is still always running in the top 5 of races and fighting for wins week in and week out. Although I have Cindric in my final 4 (Austin Cindric, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, Daniel Hemric), I think that there is 1 driver in that list that can make a serious push for the championship as the season goes on.
Harrison Burton is a very young and very talented driver who can seriously do some damage now that he is gaining more experience on the tracks. Burton was not a playoff driver last year but is a serious contender this year and can make a deep run the more time he gets in the car and gains more laps on the tracks. Burton has a lot going for him in terms of a good car, good sponsors, and a good team backing him that has proven to be competitive in the series for years.
Cindric is still a serious contender who also has a lot going for him in terms of cars, sponsors, and teams but he does not have something that Burton does, for the most part Cindric has always been competitive. He has had only 2 seasons without wins and despite being winless in those years he has always been competitive. Burton has not always had the same luck in terms of being competitive in races, and in whole seasons and has fought through more adversity than Cindric. In a 1 race shootout for the championship I think that this is important because if something goes wrong you need to know how to fight back and take the win and for some reason I can’t see Cindric doing it on the big stage this year.
Cindric is still a great driver and someone that I think can contend for the title and defend his championship and all of this is just hypothetical but I do think Burton can contend and it will be awesome to watch these 2 drivers fight it out for the rest of the season.