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Austin Cindric - CUP
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Austin Cindric

Austin Cindric

Austin Cindric, the 2022 DAYTONA 500 champion, begins his third NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) season in 2024 driving the No. 2 Discount Tire/Menards/Freightliner/Autotrader/Snap-on/Keystone Light Ford Mustang for Team Penske. After reuniting with crew chief Brian Wilson late in the 2023 season, Cindric looks to build upon the success that he achieved with Wilson during their championship run together in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. 
Cindric entered his sophomore NCS season in 2023 fresh off a fierce rookie campaign that included a triumph in the DAYTONA 500, winning his first Cup Series pole and his first series playoff run that resulted in the young driver winning 2022 Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors. After the whirlwind start to his Cup Series career, Cindric hoped to build on his accomplishments with another NCS Playoff run in 2023. Following another strong run in the DAYTONA 500 to start the year, Cindric and the No. 2 Ford Mustang team were determined to produce in the driver's sophomore season.

Cindric went on to secure six top-10 starting positions through the first eight races of the season, as he narrowly missed the pole position for the fifth race of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway by six one-thousandths of a second. While the team was challenged to secure top race results in 2023, Cindric continued his development as the No. 2 crew fought to earn a Playoff berth.

In 2023, the 75th anniversary Cup Series season brought the return of the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway, as well as the addition of NASCAR's first-ever street race in Chicago. An undeniable force on road and street courses, Cindric utilized his road-racing skills to earn a sixth-place finish on the streets of the Windy City.

After the final race of the NCS regular season at Daytona International Speedway, the No. 2 Ford team made a change in an effort to improve results and overall performance for the balance of 2023 and into the future. With both Cindric and Harrison Burton, driver for Team Penske technical partner Wood Brothers Racing, not advancing to the Playoffs, the teams swapped crew chiefs over the final 10 races of 2023 with an eye toward preparing for 2024.

The change brought a familiar face to Cindric's pit box as Brian Wilson reunited with the Team Penske racer, tapping into a tandem that recorded 13 NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and the 2020 Xfinity Series drivers' championship. Over the final 10 races of the 2023 season, the No. 2 Ford Mustang team produced two top-10 finishes and one top-five result that has expectations high entering Cindric's third NCS season in 2024.

The team hopes its results in 2024 are more aligned with Cindric's dynamic rookie season of 2022 behind the wheel of Team Penske's flagship No. 2 Ford.

Cindric's triumph in the 2022 "Great American Race" came in just his eighth start in NASCAR's premier series and, coincidentally, on team owner Roger Penske's birthday. Cindric etched his name in history as the first rookie driver to win NASCAR's most prestigious event. It also marked the first-ever DAYTONA 500 victory for the iconic No. 2 car. 

Riding the wave from Team Penske's third DAYTONA 500 win, Cindric captured his first career Cup Series pole the following weekend at Auto Club Speedway and he became the first series rookie to lead the point standings for more than one race. The former Xfinity Series champion also flexed his road racing muscle as he recorded four top-10 finishes across the five Cup Series regular season road course events.

Cindric earned an automatic bid to the Cup Series Playoffs with the DAYTONA 500 victory, and he was the only rookie racer to claim a spot in NASCAR's postseason. Posting solid finishes, Cindric advanced to the Round of 12 and ultimately finished 12th in the championship standings. He closed the season with five top-five and nine top-10 finishes while securing top series rookie honors. 

Before advancing to the Cup Series with Team Penske, Cindric began to establish himself as one of NASCAR's brightest rising stars during his four-year run (2018-2021) in the Xfinity Series, which included the 2020 drivers' championship and the 2021 owners' title. 

In his first full Xfinity Series season in 2018, Cindric proved he could adapt to changing environments as he raced for two different organizations and three different teams while he produced solid results across the board in 2018. He made nine starts for Roush-Fenway Racing, drove the No. 12 Ford Mustang for Team Penske for eight races, and raced the No. 22 Team Penske Ford in 16 events as he closed the season with a memorable run in his first NASCAR Playoff experience.

In 2019, Cindric performed with consistency over the course of the 33-race NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) season. He won back-to-back races in the middle of the season, capturing his first career Xfinity Series victory with a triumph on the Watkins Glen International road course. The following weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Cindric produced a dominant performance for his second consecutive victory, as he won from the pole and led 46 of 75 laps on the historic road course. In his second full Xfinity Series season, and first with Team Penske, Cindric advanced to the Round of 8 in the 2019 Xfinity Series Playoffs before finishing sixth in the final series standings.

The 2020 Xfinity Series season featured an incredible championship performance by Cindric and the No. 22 Ford team, as they overcame the challenges of competing during a global pandemic. Becoming just the second driver in Xfinity Series history to win five out of six consecutive races, Cindric swept the doubleheader weekend at Kentucky Speedway, produced a victory at Texas Motor Speedway and earned back-to-back wins at Road America and the inaugural road course race at Daytona. The victory at Road America also marked Team Penske's 200th NASCAR win.

As he led 947 laps and captured 11 stage victories in the No. 22 Ford, Cindric became the first Team Penske driver to claim the NXS regular season championship under the series' updated points system. With steady performances throughout the Xfinity Series Playoffs, Cindric raced his way into the Championship 4 title race at Phoenix Raceway. In his 100th career Xfinity Series start, Cindric dominated the championship battle as he led 72 laps and pulled away from the competition during a thrilling overtime race restart to earn his eighth career series victory and his first NASCAR championship.

In 2021, Cindric and the No. 22 team provided a strong defense of their Xfinity Series title, beginning the season in victory lane in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. The victory marked Team Penske's first Xfinity Series win at the 2.5-mile track and the first for Cindric in seven starts at Daytona. Cindric and the No. 22 team captured four more race wins, 22 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes, led 1,150 laps and produced a series-high 13 stage wins as they won the owners' championship while battling for the drivers' title down to the final lap of the season.

In addition to his impressive stock car racing resume, Cindric has consistently demonstrated the diversity of his driving skills. He has competed in select IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races, including the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, and he's produced two wins in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Cindric has also raced in the Pirelli World Challenge and Global Rallycross over the course of his young career.

The 25-year-old racer currently resides in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Cindric Key Accomplishments:

  • Has won races in all of NASCAR's top tier series (Cup, Xfinity, Trucks, ARCA and K&N Pro Series)
  • Won the 2022 Daytona 500 to become the first Cup Series rookie to take the checkered flag in the "Great American Race"
  • Named 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year
  • Finished 12th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings in his rookie season
  • Became one of only five drivers to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in their rookie season
  • Earned first career Cup Series pole position in the Las Vegas spring race in his rookie season
  • Crowned 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Champion
  • Earned Team Penske's fifth NXS owners' championship and finished second in the drivers' standings in 2021
  • Produced 13 career NXS victories from 2017-2021
  • Earned a spot in the NXS Playoffs in each of his last four seasons in NXS competition
  • Scored a memorable 2021 win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, winning the 18th Annual Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard
  • Produced Team Penske's first NXS victory at Daytona International Speedway to open the 2021 season
  • Earned a thrilling overtime victory at Phoenix to claim the 2020 NXS championship
  • Became just the second driver in NXS history to win five of six consecutive races with an impressive run in 2020
  • Finished third in the Truck Series standings in his rookie season
  • Won four races in the 2015 Global Rallycross Lites division and finished second in the championship standings
  • Earned a bronze medal in the 2014 X-Games in Rallycross competition