Cindric stoked to treat Penske to birthday win

Austin Cindric (middle) with Roger Penske (left)

As far as first top-tier triumphs go, Austin Cindric couldn’t have aced it much better.

The 23-year-old earlier today (Australian time) clinched his maiden NASCAR Cup Series race win in just his eighth start at the famous Daytona 500 in the first points race of the Next Gen era.

What’s more? It was on the very day that team boss Roger Penske celebrated his 85th birthday.

Cindric held off Bubba Wallace by a mere 0.036s to take victory, with Chase Briscoe rounding out the podium.

WATCH: 2022 DAYTONA 500 EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS

“Oh, my God. Do you know what makes it all better? A packed house. A packed house at the Daytona 500,” said the son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric.

“I’ve got so many people to thank. First and foremost Roger Penske, happy birthday. Oh, my gosh.

“Appreciate Ryan (Blaney) being a great teammate. Obviously, he wants to win this one, but I’m so pumped for Discount Tire, Menards, Ford.

“Everybody works so hard with this Next Gen car, through this whole process, and damn, I am so excited. This makes up for losing a championship last race I did [the 2021 Xfinity Series finale].”

For Wallace, it marks a second runner-up finish in five attempts at The Great American Race.

“I didn’t have a fighting chance the first time in 2018. This one, being that close, it’s just like a gut punch,” Wallace said.

“Going from all the confidence in the world to literally having it ripped out from underneath you is a really shit feeling.”

Auto Club Speedway in California will host Round 2 of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series next weekend.

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