COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus native Austin Cindric will compete in his first ever Daytona 500 after Ryan Preece finished ahead of all the open cars during Thursday’s 60-lap Daytona Duel 1.
Cindric ended the race 16th, but his qualifying speed and Preece’s finish secured him a spot in NASCAR’s biggest race.
It looked like Cindric eliminated himself from qualifying when he was assessed a penalty for speeding on pit row. The mistake dropped him out of the top 10 and he wasn’t able to make up ground after the penalty.
“I get the bone head of the race award for speeding in the last section of pit road when I nailed everything else the whole night that I didn’t know how to do, so my guys can all have a punch at me wherever they want to,” Cendric said in the post-race interview on Fox Sports 1. “I’m obviously very happy to the get the Verizon 5G Ford Mustang into the big show. Obviously, a lot left for me to learn. Racing on the biggest stage against the best drivers, it’s an amazing opportunity.”
The 22-year-old Cindric will pilot a new part-time car for Penske — the No. 33 Ford Mustang.