The Great American Race was held yesterday, Sunday (2/20). It was rookie NASCAR Cup Series driver Austin Cindric that survived the multiple “Big Ones” to win the 2022 Daytona 500.
Austin took over the # 2 Penske Ford that Brad Keselowski left to become a co-owner and driver at what is now Roush Fenway Keselowski (RFK) Racing. This is Austin’s first full-time season as a driver in NASCAR’s top division. Austin was actually one of three drivers involved in the first caution of the race on lap 42 of the race scheduled to go 200 laps (500 miles). Austin’s car received no real damage in the on-track incident.
The first point race in the seventh version of the next gen car was fairly competitive from start to finish. There were 13 different drivers that exchanged the lead of the race 35 times. Brad Keselowski led a race high 67 laps in his first year in the # 6 RFK Racing Ford. However, it was Martin Truex Jr. that managed to be the race leader at the end of both the first and second stages of the race.
There were seven bail periods during the race, eight if you count the incident that took place as the winning car came to the finish line. The final official bail of the race sent the Daytona 500 to a NASCAR overtime, green-white-checkered finish.
When the green flag waived to re-start the race on lap 199, Austin was the lead car. As the final two laps took place he had to race out to the lead and block the moves of the cars behind him to maintain that lead. Coming out of turn four on the final lap cars behind Austin began wrecking and he was able to hold off the charge of Bubba Wallace to win the race.
Austin Cindric became the ninth driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to win his first race in the series in the Daytona 500. That win gives him the coveted title of “Daytona 500 Champion” for the rest of his career and life. It also locks him in for the 2022 Playoffs to have a chance at the NASCAR Cup Series Championship. That’s a great place to be as it relieves a lot of pressure for a rookie heading through the rest of the 25 races in the regular season.
Bubba Wallace held on to score the second place finish. Chase Briscoe claimed a third place finish with Ryan Blaney crossing the finish line in fourth place. Aric Almirola rounded out the top five in his final full-time NASCAR Cup Series season as a driver. See the complete results for the 2022 Daytona 500 here.
Austin Cindric leaves the Daytona International Speedway as the leader in point standings. Brad Keselowski is in second place. Martin Truex Jr.’s two stage wins helped him start the season in third place. Bubba Wallace takes the fourth place position while Chase Briscoe rounds out the top five. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
Next up the teams and drivers travel all the way across the country to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Sunday, February 27th they will race in the Wise Power 400.
By: Buck Stevens