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Rookie Austin Cindric wins the 2022 Daytona 500 for his first Cup win

Rookie Austin Cindric won his first Daytona 500 on Sunday, successfully defeating Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace to win the race and delivering Team Penske the win in just his eighth start. Cindric is in his first full year driving for Team Penske on the NASCAR Cup Series after spending the last five years predominantly on the Xfinity Series.

Cindric, 23, was able to block Blaney and hold off Wallace near the start/finish line for the win. He also successfully avoided a pair of late-race crashes including one involving Ricky Stenhouse, who was leading the race with eight laps to go but ended his day after spinning out into the wall.  Wallace, Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski were also involved in the crash but were able to keep driving. Two laps earlier Kyle Larsen crashed into Kevin Harvick, sending him spinning out and causing a six-car crash.  And an eight-car crash on lap 64 saw favorite Denny Hamlin eliminated from the race.

Cindric won the Xfinity championship in 2020, and narrowly lost the title in 2021. At 23 years (and 212 days) old, Cindric becomes the second-youngest driver to win the Daytona 500; Trevor Bayne is the youngest, having won the race at 20 years old in 2011.

Editorial credit: Bruce Alan Bennett / Shutterstock.com

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