Despite all that links the two major races on the greatest day in American motorsports, there generally isn't an overt amount of crossover between IndyCar's Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600. What's happening at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and what's occurring in Charlotte, N.C. is usually a matter of whichever end of the geographical divide one is experiencing: Be in one place or another, and the matter of what's going on "here" and what's going on "over there" becomes completely different.

For virtually all of Austin Cindric's life, the Indianapolis end of Memorial Day Sunday was the only one he ever experienced. The grandson of Indy 500-winning car owner Jim Trueman and the son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric, Austin became deeply ingrained in the traditions of race day at Indianapolis, be it the ones collectively experienced by the Speedway, Indiana faithful or simply the ones he developed for himself. For many who experience the Indianapolis 500 in person, the bond that is forged with the race is incredibly strong -- and for many, it becomes unbreakable.

But Cindric's racing career has forced him to break with tradition and go from one end of Memorial Day Sunday to another. And for the third year in a row now, Cindric will have to keep tabs on what's going on "over there" in Indianapolis as he gets set for the Coke 600, the culmination of stock car speedweeks in the Carolinas, as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver.

"I have yet to adjust. It still feels just as weird as the first time missing it," Cindric told CBS Sports. "I feel like I've always said since 2021 that my next time at that race will be either because I'm entered in it or because I'm out of a job. One of the two. So I can tell you which one I'd rather it be.

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"It's a special race. It's tradition for me and my family, and in a lot of ways it's hard to describe something that you've done your entire life leading up to a certain point, and having to kind of watch it from afar is definitely strange."

Long before Cindric's racing ambitions took him to NASCAR and to North Carolina, watching the Indy 500 from afar was a part of the day for many in Charlotte in the lead-up to the Coke 600 and the longest race in all of NASCAR in the evening. But this year, the eyes of Charlotte will be especially transfixed on Indianapolis as Kyle Larson makes his first start in the Indianapolis 500 and becomes just the fifth driver to attempt the Indy-Charlotte Double and run both races and all 1,100 miles in a single day.

To race in the Indianapolis 500 has long been a dream of Cindric's, but it became a dream deferred as he rose through the ranks in NASCAR to becoming a champion of the Xfinity Series, a Daytona 500 winner and the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year. To see one of his contemporaries in Larson compete in the Indy 500, however, gives Cindric a glimpse into what's possible for himself and how much more viable racing in the 500 could potentially become while he continues to make a career in NASCAR.

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"I would love to find myself in a position with the right opportunity and the right timing in my career to be able to go do that and also have it not be a distraction to my job -- because right now it probably would be," Cindric said of running the Indy-Charlotte Double. "But given the right time, I think it's a great case study for somebody like myself that has a great interest in that race. Because although Kyle and I are probably pretty different drivers with different experiences, the one thing I can say that I share with him is there's a certain level of skill that it takes to run in the Cup Series and to be in that field. To try and understand the skill sets that he can carry over will certainly be interesting.

"He's made a lot of comments about how surprisingly similar the Cup car is to the IndyCar. It'll just be really interesting to see how he runs and what he thinks of it afterwards."

Putting off racing in the Indianapolis 500 until the future, at least, has given Cindric the chance to put himself in the same category as some of the greatest racers ever.: Thanks to his Daytona 500 triumph in 2022, a future run in the Indy 500 would give Cindric at least an opportunity to join Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt as the only drivers to ever win both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Andretti and Foyt's wins came long before the Indy-Charlotte Double became feasible in the early 1990s, and to this point, the best outing for any full-time NASCAR driver to do the double has been a sixth on three different occasions.

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As it pertains to Larson, there is undoubtedly a great amount riding on his shoulders in his Indy 500 bid -- including whether it compels other NASCAR stars to do the double in future years, and whether Cindric in particular tries to realize his dreams of racing the Indianapolis 500 sooner than he anticipated.

"It's hard to say, it's certainly speculative," Cindric said. "But if Kyle goes out there and sets the world on fire, I feel like that can only do good for me or anyone else like me that has aspirations to run it that isn't a full-time IndyCar driver -- at least from the crop of Cup Series drivers."

For now, Cindric's focus will remain on the stock car and Carolinas end of the month of May, which takes him this week to the legendary North Wilkesboro Speedway for the NASCAR All-Star Race. Cindric will attempt to qualify for the All-Star Race through the All-Star Open, driving the Keystone Light Ford and continuing another tradition aboard the Penske No. 2 -- which has been adorned by Miller products, from Miller Genuine Draft to Miller Lite to now Keystone Light, since 1991.

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"There's a legacy to that partnership, and it totally resides in the 2 car. And I think there's a sense of pride, whether if it's for me or the guys that work on the car, that we get to go to the track this weekend with the Keystone Light colors," Cindric said. "I think that's exciting for us for a number of reasons, but that partnership being around for so long on that car. When I first got in the car in 2022 as driver of the 2 car, I kind of looked at it as the next chapter. And it's the same way that I feel with having the Keystone branding on the car. It's the next chapter for us to keep adding to that partnership and that legacy.

"I can't think of a better way to do it than race my way into the All-Star Race and go win a million bucks. We've got a great opportunity for that this weekend with a great looking car."