Race Weekend Central

5 Points to Ponder: Something to Talk About, Daytona 500 Edition

NASCAR Cup Series

#2: Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Discount Tire, #23: Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Toyota Camry McDonald’s, #12: Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Menards/Blue DEF/PEAK, #43: Erik Jones, Petty GMS, Chevrolet Camaro FOCUSfactor

After a challenging couple of years for NASCAR, the one unmistakable feeling as the green flag flew this past Sunday (Feb. 20) was that stock car racing was back.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Austin Cindric Snags 2022 Daytona 500 Victory

Austin Cindric Shows Off Ring After Winning the Daytona 500

(Photo: Zach Sturniolo)

Austin Cindric won his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series race in only his eighth career start and second in the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20 by barely nipping out 23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace by a nose. Following him to the line were Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola, who earned a top-five finish in his last Daytona 500 as a full-time driver.

Cindric is the first rookie to win the Daytona 500 since Trevor Bayne in 2011.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2022 Daytona 500

Austin Cindric wins the 2022 Daytona 500. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Many drivers go a lifetime without winning NASCAR’s biggest race, but it took Austin Cindric just eight starts to put that notch on his belt. Cindric powered to the front on the final restart and blocked his way to the win as chaos erupted behind him.

Up to Speed: Brad Keselowski & Austin Cindric Battle at Daytona

#6: Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, Ford Mustang Castrol Violet Defense

(Photo: NKP)

One year ago, Brad Keselowski’s frustration was visible.

As the final laps of the Daytona 500 ticked away, Keselowski made a bold move to set himself up for a last-lap pass for the lead on his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano. But when Logano blocked Keselowski’s path forward, Keselowski got hit from behind by Michael McDowell, triggering a frightening crash that knocked out both Penske cars. McDowell went on to win the race, leaving Keselowski without a Harley J. Earl Trophy for at least one more year.

Austin Cindric Arrives With Daytona 500 Win: ‘We’ve Come a Long Way’

Austin Cindric

(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

Austin Cindric’s final pit stop couldn’t have been worse.

With Daytona International Speedway’s frontstretch lights illuminating them, the pit crew for Team Penske’s No. 2 Ford was slow and lacked coordination.

They also didn’t even bother to put on safety equipment. One even wore a backpack.

Austin Cindric Evades Chaos, Scores 1st Cup Series Win in Daytona 500

2022 Daytona NXS Austin Cindric burnout NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

After a flip, multiple multi-car crashes and late-race chaos, Austin Cindric emerged as the 2022 Daytona 500 champion on Sunday (Feb. 20) as he survived final-restart challenges from teammate Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Bubba Wallace and others as the field crashed through the Daytona International Speedway trioval behind him. Cindric’s most recent Cup start, at …

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Harrison Burton Flips In Wild Daytona 500 Crash

NASCAR Cup Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Things were calm for a while in Sunday’s (Feb. 20) Daytona 500. A couple of cautions dotted stage one, but things picked up in a hurry as the segment wound down. Double-file racing prevailed with rookie Harrison Burton leading the outside lane. Burton’s No. 21 was visibly squirrely, and it culminated in Brad Keselowski pushing …

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Frontstretch 2-Minute Drill: 2022 Daytona 500

NASCAR Next Gen car

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The 2022 Daytona 500 is here. It took three months and 13 days, but we made it through the offseason, folks. NASCAR Cup Series racing is back. Well, if you want to get technical, regular-season NASCAR racing is back, since the Clash at the L.A. Coliseum took place two weeks ago, but the season opener is upon …

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Stock Car Scoop: What Do We Know About the 2022 Daytona 500?

#21: Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, Ford Mustang Motorcraft / Dex Imaging (NKP)

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

With the field splintering into small packs during the Daytona 500 qualifying races and the only major Duels incident on the final lap of the night, how much will the main event reflect the twin 150-mile races from Thursday? Were hosts Bryan Nolen and Adam Cheek surprised by Kaz Grala and Greg Biffle securing the final transfer spots among unchartered teams? And who has the edge among the top drivers entering Sunday’s Great American Race?

The duo discuss these topics and more in a pre-Daytona 500 edition of Stock Car Scoop.

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