AP Sports Writer
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Tim Cindric got 14-year-old son Austin a sporty car and wants him to drive it really fast.
Carefully, too, of course.
Cindric is president of powerhouse Penske Racing by day and is working on the side to help his son navigate both the eighth grade and his first season racing on the USF2000 Championship series.
"My day job's a lot easier than being a father and a car owner," he said Tuesday during a break from IndyCar testing at Barber Motorsports Park.
Austin Cindric is the only 14-year-old currently competing in that series. Part of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, USF2000 lowered its age limits to allow 14-year-olds to seek admission this year and dad thinks he's up to the challenge.
Austin is driving for Andretti Autosport, though Cindric owns the car. He's been racing at different levels since 2008.
Even with that kind of backing, watching your son speed around tracks is a little more anxiety-inducing than when Penske IndyCar veterans like Will Power and Helio Castroneves get behind the wheel.
"The Penske guys actually helped build his car and the Andretti guys are racing it," Cindric said. "He has the best support structure behind him, and he appreciates it.
"For me as a father, I'd much rather he have a golf club in his hand than a steering wheel."
Austin, says the proud dad, is "basically a straight-A student" who plays in the band at Cannon School in Concord, N.C.
He got a little ribbing from the Andretti crew for doing homework for a Chinese class in between testing sessions at a previous stop. Then came another reality check.
"He went from running 150 miles an hour to going back to the eighth grade," Cindric said. "He said it's a pretty big change."
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