Track: Daytona International Speedway
Race: Beef. It's What's for Dinner 300
Date: February 13, 2021
No. 22 Verizon 5G Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 3rd
Laps Completed: 122/122
Laps Led: 28
Driver Point Standings (ahead of second): (+15)
- Austin Cindric held off Brett Moffitt and Harrison Burton in NASCAR Overtime to win the Beef. It's What's for Dinner. 300 Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. The victory was Team Penske's first NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) victory at the 2.5-mile speedway and the first for Cindric in seven starts at Daytona. The driver of the Verizon 5G Ford Mustang now has wins on the superspeedway, road course and in rallycross competition at the World Center of Racing. Cindric also becomes the second Xfinity champion from the previous season (2020) to win the season-opener at Daytona the following year (2021) joining 1996 champion Randy LaJoie.
- Persistent rain on Saturday morning washed out NXS qualifying. The starting lineup was set per NASCAR rule book, which gave Cindric the pole position.
- Cindric opened his 2021 race season leading twice for nine laps in Stage 1 and finished fourth when the 30-lap segment concluded on lap 30. The defending series champion came to pit road during the stage caution on lap 33 for two tires, fuel, slight adjustments, and restarted 14th when the race went green on lap 36.
- In Stage 2, Cindric shuffled out of line and briefly fell outside the top 20 before rallying back through the field. Showing his maturity and skill, the driver of the No. 22 Verizon 5G Mustang raced to the third position by the conclusion of the second stage on lap 60. He avoided a four-car accident that happened just behind him as the field crossed the finish line to complete the second segment. Debris from the incident forced NASCAR officials to briefly halt the race for track cleanup. When the race resumed, Cindric pitted on lap 62.
- The driver of the Verizon 5G Ford restarted in second position on lap 65 and took the lead one lap later, holding the top spot until lap 74 when he slowed to enter the pits for a scheduled green flag stop. As he led a group of cars to pit road, an accident occurred in the middle of the pack, bringing out the caution and causing the Verizon 5G team to call an audible. Crew chief Brian Wilson told Cindric to forgo their stop to avoid a penalty. Cindric remained on track and pitted the next lap. He restarted 12th when the event went green on lap 83.
- The race would be slowed by three more cautions, with the final one pushing the finish into NASCAR Overtime. As the green flag waved for the final time on lap 120, Cindric lead the field to the green and did a masterful job holding off Moffitt and Burton in the final two laps to capture his first career victory at Daytona, crossing the finish line .104 seconds ahead of Moffitt. The win was Cindric's ninth career victory.
- Cindric will be back in action on Sunday afternoon as he makes his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Daytona 500 behind the wheel of the No. 33 Verizon 5G Ford Mustang.
Quote: "What an awesome race and what a really fast Verizon 5G Ford Mustang. Unbelievable effort by everyone at Team Penske. Obviously, coming off a lot of momentum winning that championship last year, but nothing is guaranteed, and we keep working hard. Congrats to my man Coleman (Pressley, spotter) up on the roof. He puts in just as much effort or more than I do and I'm proud of him. Our guys have delivered on bringing us extremely fast Ford Mustang race cars. The thing that's really cool about winning tonight is that I've won on the road course here, I won the rallycross race they had here and now the superspeedway. I'm really proud of the effort."