Austin Cindric drove his brand new NASCAR ride to victory in the Daytona 500 to celebrate team owner Roger Penske’s 85th birthday.
“Oh, my God. I’ve got so many people to thank,” a stunned Cindric said after climbing from his car and saluting the capacity crowd of some 120,000 spectators.
“First and foremost Roger Penske, happy birthday!”
Cindric drove a masterful race at Daytona International Speedway and the Ford drivers synched their strategy all week, then executed their plan to perfection Sunday night. The blue oval drivers pushed each other over 500 miles and were bunched together for the final restart in overtime.
Cindric was the leader on the restart from the top lane and pulled out to a sizeable gap. He then ducked down to the bottom line in front of his Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney so that Blaney and Cindric could work together over the final two-lap sprint to the finish.
Blaney on the final lap made his move for the lead, and Bubba Wallace ducked low for his own look at the front. Cindric slid up to block Blaney, but still had to hold Wallace off in a drag race.