DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2022) – A day after placing his name in Daytona International Speedway’s record book with his first career NASCAR Cup Series triumph, rookie Austin Cindric was honored Monday during a “Champion’s Celebration” inside the track’s Ruoff Victory Lane. As is customary, there were plenty of special gifts awarded only to a DAYTONA 500 Champion and his team, but then out of nowhere, Cindric began his own tradition.
One of the tasks at hand was for Cindric to place his handprints and footprint into wet concrete that will soon be a permanent square on the Speedway’s ‘Champion’s Sidewalk’ in front of the Ticket and Tours building and Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Every footprint of past DAYTONA 500 Champions actually showcases the driver’s imprint, using the bottom his racing shoe. Not Cindric, however, who took off his shoe and sock before planted his bare foot in the mushy cement.
“I guess I just like being me, and sometimes that may be different from others,” said Cindric, who afterwards wiped down his foot. “I can wash my feet because I decided I didn’t want to mess with my racing shoes, or the shoes I have on today. Hopefully the fans will think it is cool with my actual footprint.”
The Champion’s Celebration also includes the Champion Crew chief and car owner. Cindric, driver of the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske, was joined by crew chief Jeremy Bullins and Greg Penske, who was subbing for his legendary father and car owner, Roger Penske.
They received customary 2022 DAYTONA 500 Champion rings and 2022 black leather jackets while a special Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona was presented to Cindric as the Champion driver. Bullins was awarded the Cannonball Baker (long-time NASCAR Commissioner) Trophy as the Champion Crew Chief, while the unique Harley J. Earl Trophy for the Champion car owner, was on display.
Cindric, the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion, became the ninth driver in history to post his first career victory in the season-opening DAYTONA. He joined Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994), Michael Waltrip (2001), Trevor Bayne (2011), Michael McDowell (2021).
NASCAR returns to Daytona in August with the running of the Wawa 250 (Aug. 26) and the Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Aug. 27), the final race that will determine the driver lineup in the NASCAR Playoffs. For more information, log onto www.