How Did Austin Cindric Land a Seat at Team Penske and Replace Brad Keselowski?

Published 07/16/2021, 2:09 PM EDT
Daytona Beach, FL, USA; Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric (22) leads the field during the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Earlier this year, many in the NASCAR community speculated that Austin Cindric was destined for the Cup Series. However, they all were under the impression that he will pilot the #21 Wood Brothers Racing car. However, circumstances decided to throw a curveball and Cindric found himself in the Team Penske outfit instead.

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As it turns out, an alliance between Wood Brothers Racing and Team Penske, smoothed down the process. The Xfinity driver effectively succeeds Brad Keselowski, who is leaving the team. And Cindric’s appointment is a huge deal, because the #2 is Team Penske’s most successful number.

“There’s never been a rookie to drive the 2 car in the Cup Series,” Cindric said. “I wouldn’t say there’s pressure with that, but I think there’s definitely an expectation within the shop, and I’m excited to embrace that role and be able to go out there and obviously try to win races for Team Penske.”

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Austin Cindric truly deserves the Penske drive

It is worth mentioning that Cindric is not changing teams during his promotion, as he drives for Penske in the Xfinity Series. In other words, when Brad Keselowski elected to part ways, team owner Roger Penske felt that Cindric’s appointment was a no-brainer.

“I couldn’t be prouder to say that he’s gonna be the driver of the No. 2 car, and I think he’s earned the respect,” Penske said.

“You come in as the son of the guy who is the president of Team Penske, you’d probably come in with a little bit of weight on your shoulders, but I can tell you one thing, as far as I’m concerned, all that’s off. He’s proven to be the driver he is, the individual he is today.”

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Feb 20, 2021; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric (22) leads AJ Allmendinger (16) and Brett Moffitt (02) during the Super Start Batteries 188 at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It is worth noting that Cindric does have some Cup Series experience under his belt. This is because he has competed in six races in the #33 Team Penske Ford. While all this is going on, reports suggest that Keselowski is on his way to Roush Fenway Racing. The 2012 champion is expected to take on an owner-driver role within the outfit.

Keselowski has been in the Team Penske stable for most of his career. And it would have understandably been a difficult decision to lose a driver of his caliber.

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DIVE DEEPER

Harrison Burton and Austin Cindric Earn Promotions to NASCAR Cup Series in 2022

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Dhruv George

11755 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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