One of the greatest traditions within the world of NASCAR is the yearly tradition of the Daytona 500 race winning car being put on display for the entire year in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona.
With Next Gen parts hard to come by due to supply chain issues, NASCAR had made a compromise with teams heading into the 2022 Daytona 500. The teams would keep their Daytona 500 car in the rotation, if they were to win the race. In place of the actual car being on display in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, NASCAR would scan the race-winning car and produce a replica of the car on one of the sanctioning body’s Next Gen test prototypes that were used as developmental tools in the offseason.
It wouldn’t be the real car, but it would essentially be a 1:1 scale diecast replica of the race-winning car. While it wouldn’t be the actual car on display, at least something was in place to give the race winning team their due in the Hall of Fame.
It sounded like an alright plan in theory, but once a team actually won the race, and the reality of breaking tradition set in, the conversations began immediately to get the actual race-winning Daytona 500 car on display.
Roger Penske, team owner of Austin Cindric’s No. 2 car, which crossed the finish line to score the 2022 Daytona 500 win, says winning the Daytona 500 is special and his team deserved to have all of the perks that come with that, including the car being on display for a year.
“Well, I think as we all know, supply chain was a big issue as we were getting ready for the season. This is a special car for us, also. To me, to see the country come out and see the support here in the Daytona 500 with the fans and our sponsors, certainly a winning car, we needed to be a part of that,” Penske said. “It should be a part of this museum. I think that NASCAR sat down with us, we worked out the details for our inventory going forward and we’re here.”
So, what were the terms that Penske came to with NASCAR to get the Daytona 500 winning car in the museum for the year? Jeremy Bullins, the crew chief of the No. 2 car, says that info is above his paygrade, but he does know Roger Penske genuinely did not want to return the car to competition.
“One of the great things about Team Penske is the legacy and the history of the team. There’s a lot of great wins in the history of the company and one of the great things they try to do is preserve that history. It was fairly obvious, fairly quickly that Roger Penske didn’t want to run this car again, Austin’s first win, another Daytona 500 for him — his third,” Bullins explained. “I’m not really sure all of the details that went into it, but we obviously didn’t want to race the car again. The plan all along, because of parts and everything, a car was not going to go in here. But we were fortuante enough to work together with NASCAR to come up with a solution to be able to put this car here and keep it a part of the Penske legacy as well.”
For Cindric, not only is this his first Daytona 500 victory, but his win also marked the first victory of his NASCAR Cup Series career. The 23-year old is ecstatic that the car is where it belongs and he is equally as thrilled that the entire Team Penske organization was able to sign their names on the car.
“Yeah, absolutely. It’s definitely where this car belongs,” Cindric said. “What an amazing accomplishment, obviously. Life definitely hasn’t slowed down for me since winning the race. Definitely awesome to think I’ll be on that hall of winners and have our race car sitting here. It’s awesome that all of my crew guys got to sign the back of the car and kind of get to appreciate this for the year to come until the race next time. Definitely awesome.”
For Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher, Penske’s decision to make sure the Daytona 500 race-winning car actually made it into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, preserving a longstanding tradition, means the world to him.
“It means everything,” Kelleher said. “There is such a history with the race winning car being here in the Hall of Fame for the hundreds of thousands of fans that come and visit Daytona International Speedway for tours, as well as the Hall of Fame. We have people from all over the globe that stop in and seeing the race winning car of the Daytona 500 really is the focal point.
“Appreciate them letting us have the car this year. Means a lot to the Hall of Fame and definitely means a lot to our race fans.”
From now until the 2023 Daytona 500, you have the chance to witness history as the No. 2 Team Penske Next Gen car, the actual car, not a replica, is on display at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, which is located just outside of turn four at Daytona International Speedway. And it’s all thanks to NASCAR and Roger Penske being willing to come to terms to making that happen, even with supply chain issues with Next Gen parts and pieces.