On Thursday Morning, Team Penske announced the multi-year contract extension of current NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric, which outlines the team’s plans for the 22-year-old for at least the next two seasons.
Much like 2020, Cindric will return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series full-time in 2021, driving the No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske, with the Mooresville, North Carolina-native looking to chase a championship in the series for the fourth straight season. In addition to his NASCAR Xfinity Series effort, Cindric will pilot a fourth NASCAR Cup Series entry for Team Penske in select races throughout the 2021 season, with a car number and final schedule to be announced at a later date.
For 2022, Cindric will move to the NASCAR Cup Series on a full-time basis, driving the No. 21 Ford Mustang for Wood Brothers Racing – with Matt DiBenedetto holding onto the seat for 2021 — with a continued technical alliance with Team Penske.
“As we continue to position our team for future success, it is important to make sure Austin continues his development in the Xfinity Series with Team Penske,” said Roger Penske. “Austin has made great strides in recent years and he has become a consistent winner and a true championship contender this season. He will continue his natural progression and get some Cup Series experience in 2021. That will help him prepare for a full season in 2022 with the new NextGen car, racing the No. 21 Ford Mustang for Wood Brothers Racing.”
Cindric has had a career year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2020, winning five races and scoring a series-high 17 top-fives, while also collecting the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Regular Season Championship.
“This is a big step forward in my career long-term, and I am humbled and motivated by the opportunity and the confidence that Team Penske, Ford Performance, the Wood Brothers, and all of our partners have expressed in my abilities and my development as a driver,” said Cindric. “Every race car driver wants to advance in his career, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than on a clear path with Team Penske that will eventually lead to a full-time opportunity in the NASCAR Cup Series. I’m really excited for this next chapter in my development to continue working towards competing and trying to win at the highest level. Another season of experience in the Xfinity Series will be beneficial and I’m looking forward to competing in some Cup Series races in 2021 to prepare for a full season in 2022.”
The Team Penske driver has proven to be a versatile driver in his professional racing career, winning races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Truck Series, ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series, while also successfully racing in numerous racing series throughout the world.
“Our Ford Performance family is one of the strongest in the sport, and to know now that we will have a driver like Austin in our camp in both Xfinity and Cup is a very exciting prospect,” said Ford Performance Global Director Mark Rushbrook. “He’s represented our brand so well this year by winning five races and being at the top of the standings, so we know he can get the job done. He’s also a great representative off the track and has helped us connect with an even younger fan base through some of our marketing initiatives. We are happy to see him remain with Team Penske and we are excited about his future with Ford Performance and the Wood Brothers.”
Matt DiBenedetto will retain his spot in the Wood Brothers Racing’s No. 21 next season, but will once again be a free agent after the conclusion of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, as Austin Cindric will take over the No. 21 for 2022 and beyond.
READ MORE from Toby Christie: