Reigning Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric is the latest driver to announce that he will attempt to make the Daytona 500 field next month.
Cindric will drive the No. 33 Ford Mustang for Team Penske, with Miles Stanley serving as his crew chief. Stanley is a Team Penske engineer on the No. 12 team of Ryan Blaney.
Cindric will have to qualify his way into the race because the team does not have a charter. Should Cindric make the field, it will be his debut in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“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.”
Cindric won six races and his first NASCAR championship last season. He returns for his fourth full season in the Xfinity Series this year.
In October, Team Penske announced a contract extension for Cindric that will see him move into the Cup Series full-time in 2022 with Wood Brothers Racing. In preparation, Cindric will run select Cup Series races with Penske this season. His schedule beyond Daytona has not been announced.
Stanley joined Team Penske in 2013 and served as the race engineer for Joey Logano before moving to Blaney’s team last year. He will continue his role on Blaney’s team when Cindric is not running the No. 33 Ford.
“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.”