Friday, Sep 22

Ford Performance NASCAR: Austin Cindric Drives Next Gen Mustang to Daytona 500 Victory


1st - Austin Cindric

3rd - Chase Briscoe

4th - Ryan Blaney

5th - Aric Almirola

7th - Michael McDowell

8th - David Ragain

9th - Brad Keselowski

16th - Chris Buescher

17th - Cody Ware

20th - Cole Custer

21st - Joey Logano

22nd - Jacques Villeneuve

27th - BJ McLeod

30th - Kevin Harvick

33rd - Todd Gilliland

39th - Harrison Burton



  • Austin Cindric drove his No. 2 Ford to victory today for his first Daytona 500 win.

  • Ford’s win in the Daytona 500 is its second straight and fourth in the last eight years.

  • Ford has won the Daytona 500 17 times overall by 14 different drivers.

  • Of Team Penske’s 85 NCS wins with Ford, 58 have come since rejoining Ford in 2013.

  • Today’s win is Ford’s 712th all-time in NASCAR Cup Series competition.

  • Cindric is the 87th different driver to win a Cup race with Ford, and the first new winner since Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 (2021).


MARK RUSHBROOK, Global Director, Ford Performance -- “This has been such a great week with the Duels and the strong Ford Performance and everybody working together to get the two wins Thursday night in the Duels and then the Truck win on Friday night and now to come here for the Daytona 500 and all of our Ford teams and drivers working together. To have so many cars in the top-10 and Austin Cindric with the win it is just fantastic for all of Ford Motor Company”


NOT A BAD DEBUT FOR THE NEXT GEN MUSTANG: “It is a dream. After over two years of working on the Next Gen car. To have that car come here, for the sport, to debut and be so great and have good racing and the cars look great. Then to have that Ford teamwork, working together, which is everything we do with engineering through the week and strategy through the weekend and it all played out on track today, just the way we wanted it to.”


AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW –Oh, my God. Do you know what makes it all better? A packed house. A packed house at the Daytona 500.

“Oh, my God. I've got so many people to thank. First and foremost Roger Penske, happy birthday. Oh, my gosh. Appreciate Ryan being a great teammate. Obviously, he wants to win this one, but I'm so pumped for Discount Tire, Menards, Ford. Everybody works so hard with this Next Gen car, through this whole process, and damn, I am so excited.

This makes up for losing a championship last race I did.

HOW DID YOU ADAPT SO QUICKLY TO GET IT DONE WHEN IT COUNTED ON THE LAST LAP?  “I'm surrounded by great people. That's all there is to it. I know there's going to be highs and lows, being a rookie in a field of drivers this strong. I'm just grateful for the opportunity, excited to climb the mountain we've got ahead of us on the 2 team.

“But we're in the playoffs. That's one good box checked. My gosh, what an awesome group of fans, what an awesome race car. Just really thankful.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 Kohler Generators Ford Mustang – “I thought down the backstretch we were gonna win the race and just the 12 and the 2 got a really good push from the 23 and basically cleared our lane and then our lane kind of broke up there at the end.  It was really close, just green-white-checkers.”


WHAT HAPPENED WITH HARRISON FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE?  “I was just pushing and it just turned sideways and spun immediately out.  I don’t know what happened there.  It was a shame to see it.  I hate it for him.  I was trying to help him win the stage and certainly didn’t want to see him spin out.”


WHAT ABOUT WITH THE 47?  “The same thing.  I was just pushing.  We weren’t even all the way up to speed, so I feel like it was a crazy time to be pushing, but obviously the results say different.”


DID YOU FEEL YOU DID ANYTHING OVERLY AGGRESSIVE?  “Whenever somebody spins out obviously there’s somebody over aggressive, but in the moment I didn’t.”


DID YOU FEEL YOU LEFT EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE TODAY?  “We did.  I hate that the 17 got torn up.  I was trying to give Stenhouse a push there and I thought we could settle it amongst us three and clear with the top lane, but it didn’t come together.”


WHAT’S IT LIKE TO SEE YOUR OLD CAR IN VICTORY LANE?  “I’m happy for them.  There’s a great group of people over there and they deserve all their success.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Blue DEF/PEAK Ford Mustang – YOU PUSHED AUSTIN THROUGHOUT THE RACE.  “Yeah, the last lap I got good pushes on the bottom from the 23 and then I was able to get Austin in front and off of four where we were good enough to make a move I got blocked and I ended up getting fenced.  I’m happy for Roger Penske, winning the 500 on his birthday.  I’m happy for Jeremy Bullins and everyone that works on that 2 car.  It’s just one of those things.  It didn’t work out.  We still ended up fourth, but I don’t know another perfect position we could have put ourselves in to win the race.  It just didn’t work out.”


DID YOU HAVE AN IDEA WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO ONCE YOU TWO GOT CLEAR?  “I made the decision of I wasn’t gonna make a move until I was 100 percent sure that one of our two cars was gonna win, and one of our two cars were going to win and one of them ended up winning.  I was committed to him until I was 100 percent sure that one of us was gonna win and one of us did.”


DID LAST YEAR’S FINISH AND THE WAY IT ENDED FOR PENSKE PLAY INTO YOUR THINKING?  “I wanted to try to win the race for Roger Penske.  Whether that was me or another car, that’s what I was doing and I didn’t want to make a move too early because that throws a big chance out the window.  That’s about it.”


THE BLOCK BY HIM.  WAS THAT FAIR OR FOUL?  “I don’t know.  Congrats to him, I guess.  You’ve got to throw a block in that situation.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang – “I honestly thought I was in a really good position.  I knew it was gonna get kind of dicey and haywire there with the leaders and I thought that they would kind of shove each other around and come disconnected and I would have a bunch of momentum coming from behind.  We’d seen that in the Duels and other races, so I hate to come up short.  I had a really good feeling going into today.  I just felt like it was kind of gonna be one of those storybook type deals where the last Daytona 500 I thought we had a shot at going to Victory Lane and just came up a little bit short.  Dang, that’s fun.  That’s fun.”


DID YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO THINK DURING THE RED FLAG THAT THIS COULD BE THE STORYBOOK FINISH YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT?  “Absolutely.  Yeah.  I thought so.  We were coming there to the end and I thought for sure like, ‘Man, this is setting up nicely to have that kind of storybook ending.’  Yeah, I believed it.  I really did.  I believed it in my heart that it was gonna happen and I still felt like I was in a really good position off of turn two on the white flag.  I’m like, ‘Man, if they let us race back and there’s no crash, we’ve got a shot to win this thing.’  We came out fifth, but it was still fun.  I’m proud of our team.  Thanks to Smithfield and everybody involved – Mobil 1, Ford.  It’s cool to get Ford in Victory Lane.  We swept the week, so I’m proud of everybody and now we go to California and start the season.

HOW DO YOU LEAVE THE DAYTONA 500 FROM A MEMORY STANDPOINT?  “It’s emotional, honestly.  Man, it’s a great feeling to be in the thick of it coming down to the end at the Daytona 500.  You dream about those things as a kid and I remember sitting up in those grandstands, so it’s special.  I hate losing though.”

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang – “It’s crazy.  You dream when you grow up racing just being in the Daytona 500 and I never in a million years thought I would ever get an opportunity to even run in one.  To be restarting sixth with a green-white-checkered was pretty surreal in the first place, but I just couldn’t get to Brad.  I kept trying to get there and I just couldn’t.  He was having to drag so much brake to get back to me.  I just wasn’t much help to him, to be honest with you, and then Kyle got me really good into three and I had such a run that I had to take it.  I wish it was Talladega because I felt like if the start-finish line was a little further down I may have had a shot at that thing, but really cool to start our year off with Mahindra Tractors with a third-place finish in the Daytona 500.  It’s cool for one of my best friends to win the race.  It’s pretty cool.”

DAVID RAGAN, No. 15 Select Blinds Ford Mustang – “For some reason the outside lane just didn’t get the surge that maybe we got two restarts prior.  I saw Brad back just a little bit and I was kind of surprised it was that clean on the white flag lap and then coming through three and four no one lifts and everyone is real aggressive.  The first thing that I saw was the 12 car come across the racetrack and we all started kind of squeezing down and then I felt Michael McDowell come across my left-front fender and that kind of ran us into the wall.  It was right at the start-finish line.  That’s unfortunate to tear up a lot of race cars for that reason, but you’re going for the win in the Daytona 500 and no one is gonna lift and everyone is gonna do what they’ve got to do.  I couldn’t be more proud of our effort.  We really did a perfect job executing the whole race long.  We made some adjustments.  We just kept fighting and tried to be careful and get aggressive when it counted, so happy to come home with a top 10, but you’re disappointed to have a torn up race car.  Select Blinds, Jacob Companies, Envision, everybody that made this possible.  It was a lot of fun and I’m sure we’ll come back one day.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang – “I was not exactly where I wanted to be. I would have liked to been a row or two up.  It’s hard to win from sixth, but I had my Ford teammate in front of me, Aric Almirola, and saw that everybody was pushing hard.  You can’t see too much through the back window of the car, so you’re just kind of pushing and hoping it all works out.  I thought we were gonna get to the finish line, so as I was crossing the line I just got hooked in the right-rear and went straight in the wall.  That was unfortunate because we had a pretty clean race.   That’s not what we wanted.  We wanted to come back here and challenge for the win, but we were close to being in that position again – being in that top five coming to the white, but we just needed to be a few more spots further forward.  All in all, it was a great race.  I thought the Next Gen car did really well and put on a good show.  The pack stayed together quite a lot – more than I thought from the Duels and practice, and we had a fast Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang.  All in all, other than a destroyed race car, we had a decent day going and it would have been nice to get across the line without destroying the car, but glad to come out of here with a top 10 or a top five, I’m not sure where we ended up and get ready for California.”

TODD GILLILAND, No. 38 First Phase Credit Card Ford Mustang – “That was like the one wreck that I thought I had missed from the beginning.  I was going low.  I was on the apron and the 43 was trying to miss it, too, and it looked like he got hit and hit my right-rear and right-reared me into the fence.  That’s racing here at Daytona.  They were joking in the infield care center that this place takes a lot more than it gives.  I feel like I was having a really good day until then, though, so we’ll take the positives out.  I still think this was a pretty good first points Cup race, so we’ll keep moving on.”


YOU WERE RIGHT THERE WITH 10 TO GO.  WERE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR POSITION?  “I was super happy with where I was at.  I thought I was in a great position.  LIke MIchael always says, he wants to be third on the last lap.  I felt like I could have easily been right where I wanted to be, so our car wasn’t the fastest out there today, but I feel like I made a lot of good moves in the draft. I was always hopefully going forward in the correct lane, so I just think overall I learned a lot and could have been in a great position at the end.”

JACQUES VILLENEUVE, No. 27 Hezeberg Engineering Systems Ford Mustang – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS EXPERIENCE?  “It was amazing.  It was a handful.  The car was more difficult to drive than I expected.  It was tight.  It was loose and that was not expected after testing, but just getting the draft was complicated – especially at the start because everybody just jammed and hit the brakes and that was it.  That’s frustrating.  It’s really hard to get back in the pack.”


DID THIS RACE LIVE UP TO WHAT YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE?  “It was amazing.  All the energy.  The concert.  The show, not just the race, the whole atmosphere.  It was really, really amazing.”


WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET BACK IN THIS CAR AND RUN MORE NASCAR EVENTS?  “I want to do more, obviously.  I’ve always wanted to do more and more racing.  Right now, there was only this race planned, but we’ll see how it pans out.  We got a good result.  The car is intact and maybe we can get some sponsors and go racing again.”

HARRISON BURTON, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang – “I’m fine.  I’ve hit a lot harder before, that’s for sure.  It’s just unfortunate. I hate it for the Wood Brothers group.  They brought a really fast Ford Mustang down here and ended up on our lid, so that’s never good.  I’d like to look back and see what happened.  I don’t know, I just got pushed and didn’t take it the right way – the car didn’t take it the right way or got pushed in the wrong spot.  I’m not sure.  I couldn’t really tell.  I was looking out front to see what I had to do next to side draft the next guy that was on me, so just a bummer.  I don’t really know what we could have done different, but we’ll move on and get better from it.”


HOW STRONG WERE YOU PUSHED BY BRAD AND DO YOU FEEL IT WAS TOO MUCH?  “I don’t know if it was too much.  I just think it might have been in the wrong spot.  It’s hard.  These bumpers don’t line up as good as the old ones did.  Through the testing I always found that dead center was the best, so when I was pushing Joey or whatever you want to push in the center of the bumper.  I couldn’t tell.  I haven’t watched a good video of it yet, so don’t take what I say to the bank.  Obviously, I’m not questioning Brad’s ability, but I think he just got a little wide on my right side and kind of shot me on the inside there.  We were working good together up to that point.  There were a couple moments where I was having to save it kind of sideways and obviously just one too many and we ended up upside-down.”


WHAT DID THE CAR FEEL LIKE UPSIDE-DOWN?  “I don’t know.  I’ve never had another one upside-down, so I don’t have any reference.  Obviously, it got real light and blew over right.  I don’t know if it was the diffuser that did it or what, but once I got backwards I just blew right over.  As far as the cockpit and everything is safe.  I didn’t get hit hard at all.  Luckily, all good there and we’ll move on.”


WHAT DO YOU TAKE FROM SPEEDWEEKS?  “We take confidence from it.  At the end of the day everyone knew we were here.  We were leading when we crashed.  Our Wood Brothers group brought a fast Ford down here and we were showing it.  Stage points really matter and as a rookie it’s big to get them, so I felt like I wanted to push for those, but obviously I’d love to be out there racing still.  I don’t know what I could have done different.  It’s kind of hard to be in the lead and say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to be up here.’  You feel like that’s the safest spot, so just have to watch.  It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, I just got a bad push and spun,’ but I feel like the people that always get better are ones that can look at themselves and learn from it, so that’s what I’m gonna try and do and try and get better.”


WAS THERE ANY INTRUSION OF THE ROOF OR ANYTHING WHEN YOU WENT UPSIDE-DOWN?  “The roof line itself is lower, but they’ve got us lower in the car as well, so I’d say my head is in about the same spot as it was in my Xfinity car.  I didn’t notice any intrusion or anything.  I thought it maintained its shape pretty well.  Obviously, it’s gonna move and bend some, but I didn’t notice any intrusion there.  I think, so far, it was a good testament of the car being safe.”


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