Austin Cindric to Attempt the 2021 Daytona 500 With Team Penske

Published 01/20/2021, 10:20 PM EST
LEXINGTON, OHIO – AUGUST 10: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 PPG Ford, wins the pole award at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)


For the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, the Team Penske outfit plans to field Austin Cindric for the Daytona 500. For the opening race of the season, Cindric will take the wheel of the #33 Penske car. Of course, the main hurdle for the 22-year-old is to qualify for the iconic event.

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Apparently, Cindric will race in other Cup events, though the exact details are still under wraps. Additionally, Miles Stanley will link up with the driver as his crew chief for the season opener. According to reports, Stanley will split duties between Austin Cindric and Ryan Blaney.

Team Penske confirms Austin Cindric to attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 in a Penske car (an open car). Car number 33. Miles Stanley, engineer for Blaney, will be Cindric crew chief for D500 & other Cup races (TBA). Stanley to work with Blaney when Cindric doesn't race Cup

— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) January 20, 2021

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Austin Cindric is excited to go to Daytona in a Cup car

“There is a lot to be excited about heading into Daytona,” said Cindric. “It doesn’t really even need to be said that the Daytona 500 is the biggest crown jewel race in NASCAR and one of the biggest races in the world – so to have a shot to be in the show while driving for Roger Penske is a big opportunity.”

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WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK – AUGUST 03: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 MoneyLion Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Zippo 200 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 03, 2019 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Last year, Cindric visited Victory Lane on at least six occasions to wrap up his maiden Xfinity title. One of those wins included the all-important season-finale at the Phoenix Raceway. Now, the Penske team has rewarded his efforts with a part-time Cup drive for the 2021 season.

Admittedly, Austin Cindric has performed fairly decently at the Daytona International Speedway. He may not have won the Daytona 500 yet, but he has won at the track in 2020. To be precise, he won the UNOH 188, which became his seventh career win in the Xfinity Series.

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Without a doubt, Austin Cindric is a hugely talented driver. Who knows, this part-time gig with Penske could just be a way for the team to assess him before they think of something permanent. However, this could place a bit of pressure on the youngster’s shoulders, but this is a trial by fire. Hopefully, he does enough to impress the team so that they consider him for the future.

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Dhruv George

11318 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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