Austin Cindric shocked the NASCAR world earlier this year when he pulled off the improbable and won the 2022 Daytona 500.
Driving the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske, the 23-year-old Columbus, Ohio native survived several big wrecks before seeing the checkered flag. These were wrecks that caught up the likes of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, and William Byron, all of whom were early favorites to get the W at the Great American Race. But, it was Cindric's time to shine, and shine he did.
The electricity of Cindric's momentous day at Daytona International Speedway is perfectly captured in the below video from NASCAR's official Twitter account, which shows his crew celebrating on pit road as soon as Cindric becomes the first to cross the finish line. When he eventually saw the video, Cindric said, "Can't describe how happy watching this makes me."
It is without a doubt one of the most electric NASCAR moments of 2022. And, considering that it all went down on Roger Penske's 85th birthday, there was plenty to celebrate that day in Daytona Beach.
Go inside the celebration with @AustinCindric's crew on pit road Sunday! pic.twitter.com/pgXXbNSdjT
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) February 21, 2022
After ripping his post-race burnout, Cindric finally got a chance to join his team in celebrating his first NASCAR Cup Series win. It was at that moment, being with his pit crew members and going wild in Victory Lane, when Cindric's impressive feat truly sunk in for the 2021 Xfinity Series champion.
"Definitely a good time to collect my thoughts and just appreciate the moment there for a minute, to be able to do this in front of a sellout crowd, to be able to do this in general, to be able to be part of this race, having a shot," Cindric said after the race.
"It's a racer's dream, and so many people get close to it, and I feel very grateful and very proud to be able to pull it off."
Fast forward nearly seven months after Cindric's win at Daytona International Speedway, and it's clear that the son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric has had plenty more to celebrate. After locking in his spot in the NASCAR playoffs, Cindric clinched Rookie of the Year honors for the Cup Series. On top of that, Cindric was able to survive to the Round of 12, outlasting Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, and Tyler Reddick.
While his win at the Daytona 500 has been his only first-place finish of 2022, Cindric was also able to secure four additional top-five finishes throughout the regular season, placing fifth at Sonoma, third at Sonoma, second at the Indy road course, and third at the late August race at Daytona. Not a bad start for a driver who no doubt has plenty more top-tier performances left in the tank.
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