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AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 07: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 Menards/Richmond Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning  the NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 and the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 07, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) | Getty Images
AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 07: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 Menards/Richmond Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 and the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 07, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Austin Cindric to attempt Daytona 500


Reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion Austin Cindric will look to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut next month in "The Great American Race." Cindric will drive the No. 33 Ford Mustang for Team Penske as he attempts to qualify for the 63rd Daytona 500. Miles Stanley, who has worked as race engineer for Team Penske’s No. 12 and No. 22 Cup Series teams, will serve as crew chief for Cindric and the No. 33 Ford team in 2021.

"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. Qualifying our way into the race as an ‘open’ car will be a big challenge. I look forward to working with Miles and all of the guys on the No. 33 team, while also continuing my focus on winning back-to-back Xfinity Series Championships."

As he tries to earn a starting spot in the Daytona 500, Cindric hopes to make his Cup Series debut following a season that saw him score six victories and 19 top-five finishes on his way to the 2020 Xfinity Series Championship. The 22-year-old Cindric will return to defend his Xfinity Series title this season and he will also compete in select Cup Series races in the No. 33 Ford Mustang before he joins the series full-time in 2022, driving for Wood Brothers Racing.

Stanley joined Team Penske prior to the start of the 2013 race season and served as an engineer for crew chief Todd Gordon and driver Joey Logano. During his first seven seasons, the No. 22 team amassed 21 wins (including the 2015 Daytona 500), 100 top-five finishes,159 top-10s and the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Championship before Stanley transitioned to race engineer for the No. 12 Ford team and driver Ryan Blaney last season. Prior to joining Team Penske, Stanley served as crew chief for Robby Gordon’s NASCAR operation.

"Ever since I joined Team Penske in 2013, I’ve been able to grow as an engineer and learn from some of the best in the business," said Stanley. "Now I get the chance to become a Cup Series crew chief with one of the formidable organizations in the sport, which is an amazing opportunity. To get to do it with Austin at Daytona International Speedway is a perfect recipe for success. I look forward to working with him and hitting the ground running with the No. 33 Ford team in Daytona and the other Cup Series races that Austin runs in 2021."

Stanley will continue to work with the No. 12 team during all of the other 2021 Cup Series races. Additional 2021 Cup Series races for Cindric and the No. 33 Ford Mustang team will be announced in the future.

— Team Penske —