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Austin Cindric to attempt to make Daytona 500 field

Reigning Xfinity champion Austin Cindric will seek to make his Cup debut in next month’s Daytona 500, Team Penske announced Tuesday.

Cindric will drive the No. 33 Ford. The team does not have a charter and is not guaranteed a starting spot in the season-opening Cup race on Feb. 14. Miles Stanley, who has worked as an engineer at Team Penske, will be Cindric’s crew chief with the No. 33 Cup team in 2021.

“There is a lot to be excited about heading into Daytona,” said Cindric in a statement from the team. “It doesn’t really even need to be said that the Daytona 500 is the biggest crown jewel race in NASCAR and one of the biggest races in the world - so to have a shot to be in the show while driving for Roger Penske is a big opportunity.

“Qualifying our way into the race as an ‘open’ car will be a big challenge. I look forward to working with Miles and all of the guys on the No. 33 team, while also continuing my focus on winning back-to-back Xfinity Series Championships.”

MORE: Tentative schedule released for Daytona 500 week

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Team Penske announced in October that Cindric would attempt to make select Cup races in 2021 while running the full Xfinity schedule. Cindric will move to Cup full-time in 2022 with Wood Brothers Racing.

Stanley joined Team Penske before the 2013 race season and served as an engineer for crew chief Todd Gordon and driver Joey Logano. During his first seven seasons, the No. 22 team amassed 21 wins, including the 2015 Daytona 500, and the 2018 Cup championship before Stanley transitioned to race engineer for the No. 12 Ford team and driver Ryan Blaney last season. Stanley served as crew chief for Robby Gordon’s NASCAR operation before joining Team Penske.

Stanley will continue to work with the No. 12 team during all of the other 2021 Cup Series races.

Additional 2021 Cup Series races for Cindric and the No. 33 Ford Mustang team will be announced in the future.