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2022 Daytona 500 Results: Austin Cindric Wins The Great American Race

After an entire Speedweek’s worth of build-up and anticipation, Daytona Day finally arrived. Sunday afternoon’s Daytona 500 marked the 64th running of The Great American Race. This year’s race also was the official debut of the new Next Gen Car. It was a wild race throughout, as is almost always the case at The World Center of Racing. While plenty of veteran drivers hoped to make history on Sunday, it was actually a rookie who stole the spotlight. 23-year-old Austin Cindric blocked his way to the win in the 2022 Daytona 500.

Below, we’ll go over the 2022 Daytona 500 results and other headlines from the race today.

NASCAR Cup Series Rookie Austin Cindric Wins the 2022 Daytona 500

Pre-Race Developments of Note

After crashing on the final lap of the second Bluegreen Vacations Duel on Thursday night, Joey Logano was forced to bring out a backup car for the Daytona 500. As a result, he was forced to start at the rear of the field.

Also starting at the rear of Sunday’s race was Daniel Hemric. The No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet failed a pre-race inspection. In addition to surrendering his spot in the Daytona 500 starting lineup, Hemric also had to serve a drive-through penalty early in the race.

Daytona 500 Stage 1 | Daytona 500 Results

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Larson may have started on the pole for the 2022 Daytona 500, but he failed to stay up front for long. In fact, Brad Keselowski was scored as the official leader of Lap 1 of the race. Both Larson and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman dropped back quickly.

Toyotas Work Together to Make Inside Line Work

Initially, a whole pack of Fords was able to organize behind Keselowski on the outside. While several Toyotas were also in this pack, they would eventually drop down to run the inside line after it had evaporated shortly after the start. Kyle Busch pulled even alongside Keselowski as the lead Camry on the inside. Shortly before green flag pit stops, even Denny Hamlin had joined up with the other Toyotas after starting all the way back in 30th.

With the Camrys all running on the bottom, there was really no good way for the group of Fords running on the outside to get to pit road. Thus, several Mustangs had to slow up and duck onto pit lane behind the Toyota formation clinic. It was only a couple of laps later that both the Chevrolets and Toyotas pitted as well. Most teams opted to only take right-side tires along with fuel. Other than Jacques Villeneuve spinning as he slowed to enter pit road, the green flag stops went fairly clean.

Two Separate Incidents Occur Simultaneously to Cause First Caution

Immediately after green flag stops had cycled through, the first caution of the 2022 Daytona 500 flew. Two separate incidents worked in tandem to bring out the yellow. Kaz Grala, driving the No. 50 for Floyd Mayweatehr Jr.’s The Money Team Racing, lost an entire wheel off his car. So much for NASCAR’s new one-lug-nut wheels preventing loose ones!

In addition, Austin Cindric got into the back of Chase Briscoe who had checked up and spun him around. What the yellow flying did do was immediately bunch the field back together after manufacturer-influenced pit stops had broken it apart. Kyle Busch was joined by none other than Joey Logano on the front row for the restart. After being sent to the back at the start of the race, Logano needed less than one stage to make his way to the front.

The second caution of the race was a brief one on Lap 52 as a result of Justin Haley having a wheel break apart. He was never able to fully recover in what proved to be a frustrating day for the No. 31 Kaulig team.

Martin Truex Jr. Wins Opening Stage Which Ends Under Caution as Harrison Burton Gets Airborne

Neither of the first two yellows came anywhere close to causing the carnage of the third one. On Lap 63, race leader Harrison Burton took a hard bump from Brad Keselowski while both Fords were running the high line. After saving his car on several previous pushes, Burton got turned down into the Toyotas running the bottom. The No. 21 flipped upside down triggering a multi-car wreck that ultimately ended Stage 1.

Taking damage along with Burton in the Lap 63 incident were Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell. The crash knocked the first four drivers on that list out of the Daytona 500 entirely. While he was able to continue racing, Bell’s chances of winning were done in by the damage sustained as well. Speaking of winning, it was Martin Truex Jr. who scored the first playoff point of the NASCAR Cup Series season by winning Stage 1.

Daytona 500 Stage 2 | Daytona 500 Results

As a result of pitting early during the stage break to repair minor damage from the wreck, Kurt Busch had to restart the second stage at the rear of the field. Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney made up the front row when the field took the green flag again. Although he was officially running second on the restart, Blaney quickly settled in as the leader of the Daytona 500.

All Aboard the Choo-Choo Train

Early on in Stage 2, the patented superspeedway train formed up. The entire lead draft opted to align in single-file order and click off some laps. Considering how the first stage ended, some lighter racing was probably just what several drivers needed. Blaney was the lead car in a choo-choo train lineup that saw Fords occupying positions 1-8 and 11 of the top 12 overall. Only Ty Dillon in the No. 42 Chevrolet separated the Mustangs running ninth.

Mad Scramble on Pit Road Led by Ford Lineup

Green flag pit stops in Stage 2 began with Richard Childress Racing and a couple other of smaller Chevrolet teams. A handful of laps later, the lead lineup of Fords peeled off. This dragged all of the remaining Chevys to pit road as well. As FOX broadcaster Mike Joy put it, “It’s feeding time at the zoo.”

The congestion on pit road created a couple of incidents. Chase Briscoe completely missed his pit stall and had to put it in reverse. Daniel Suarez also got penalized for speeding on entry and had to serve a pass-through penalty.

The Toyotas stayed out during all of the chaos and pitted separately one lap later. They brought the Hendrick Motorsports Camaro of Chase Elliott along with them. While it was a clean stop for the remaining Camrys who just took on fuel, Elliott stalled out upon stall exit and struggled to refire. Fortunately, the incident did not prove to be too costly for the No. 9 team.

Martin Truex Jr. Steals Stage 2 Win Away from Pair of Fords

With about 12 laps to go in the stage, the train began to break up as drivers searched for ways to earn some stage points. Kyle Larson came from out of nowhere and surged all the way to the front of the field. Unfortunately, he was the only Chevrolet up there and was quickly abandoned by the Fords running behind him. However, after Joey Logano followed Brad Keselowski to get by Larson, he opted to abandon his role pushing the No. 6 when the leaders caught up to Chase Briscoe.

Rather than surrender a lap, Briscoe pulled up in front of Logano in an effort to finish out the stage on the lead circuit. While Keselowski went to make the pass, Logano hung tight behind Briscoe. Keselowski fell back without the help of the draft. Martin Truex Jr. got a massive run on the inside out of Turn 4 to edge Logano at the line and sweep the Daytona 500 stages.

Daytona 500 Final Stage | Daytona 500 Results

There were a few noteworthy developments during the stage break pit stops. Joey Logano dropped four spots from second to sixth with a slow stop. Chase Elliott also had a very slow stop as his crew worked to try and repair damage from the earlier contact. Several drivers opted to abandon track position and come back down pit road a second time between stages to top off on fuel as well.

Leading the field back to the green flag were Brad Keselowski and Austin Cindric. After about 15 laps of fairly calm racing under green, several Daytona 500 contenders found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Tyler Reddick Gets Lose and Spins, Triggering a Multi-Car Crash

On Lap 151, the No. 8 Chevrolet of Tyler Reddick got loose and went hard into the wall. Although it initially appeared that contact from Jacques Villeneuve was what triggered the spin, replays showed that it was simply the draft air and a loose race car for Reddick.

Villeneuve did make some contact with Reddick’s crashing car as he went by, however. The wreck also caused damage to Martin Truex Jr. Both Joey Logano and Kurt Busch sustained flat tires and were never the same the rest of the race. David Ragan managed to thread the needle and avoid the incident altogether. He got the free pass for his troubles and was able to restart on the lead lap.

The caution led to the field coming down pit road for service. With the fuel window at Daytona International Speedway set right around 40-42 laps, it would have been very tough for drivers to make it to the end if the race stayed green the rest of the way.

As Laps Tick Off, Drivers Begin to Jockey Harder for Positioning

Austin Cindric and Bubba Wallace comprised the front row for this latest restart. With Team Penske cohort Ryan Blaney pushing, Cindric was initially able to clear the No. 23 for the lead. It also helped that Erik Jones abandoned Wallace in favor of running behind the two Fords down on the bottom.

What Jones vacating the top line did, however, was allow Wallace to wind up with a fellow Toyota behind him in Kyle Busch. Despite having damage on his nose from earlier in the race, Busch managed to push Wallace back up to the front. He and Cindric exchanged the lead several times over the next handful of laps.

Eventually, Wallace and Busch were both able to clear Cindric and dropped down to the bottom. This opened up the outside line for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. With Chris Beuscher pushing, Stenhouse charged past everyone and to the front. A single-file train formed again shortly after as Wallace got left out to dry and fell back. Stenhouse continued to lead the race, but he was the lone Chevy amongst all Fords at the front after the Toyotas got split apart.

Kevin Harvick Gets Pinballed to Bring Out Sixth Caution

On Lap 189, Kevin Harvick had to check up for a slower Chris Beuscher running in front of him on the outside. When he did so, he got bumped from behind by Kyle Larson. The contact sent him into the No. 17 and Harvick just couldn’t quite keep his car straight. A four-car spin resulted with multiple drivers getting knocked out of the 2022 Daytona 500.

Noah Gragson, who was running a tremendous race for Beard Motorsports, pounded the wall as a result of being clipped by Harvick. Both Erik Jones and Todd Gilliland also sustained significant damage. While Harvick’s crew tried to make amends, the No. 4 Ford Mustang ultimately was driven to the garage as well. The incident led to NASCAR red-flagging the race for cleanup in the trioval.

Another Keselowski Push Triggers Final Caution of the 2022 Daytona 500

After the red flag, the race resumed with only six laps to go. Not even two full laps were completed under green before the yellow flag flew again. This time, it was for Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the race leader at the time. A shove from behind by Brad Keselowski led to Stenhouse losing control, getting turned, and smashing the wall hard. Chris Beuscher also hit the wall as he was running third in line on the outside at the time.

While Bubba Wallace did lose the entire right front fender on his car due to contact with Stenhouse, no repairs were necessary and he stayed out on the track. Given the timing of this, the seventh and final caution, the 2022 Daytona 500 went to overtime. This marked the fourth time in the last five years that The Great American Race was set to be decided in a green-white-checkered shootout.

Austin Cindric 2022 Daytona 500 NASCAR Cup Series Team Penske
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Who Won the Daytona 500 Today?

Austin Cindric Wins the 2022 NASCAR Daytona 500

Team Penske had a clear advantage heading into overtime with both Austin Cindric and Ryan Blaney restarting on the front row. The teammates worked together at the onset, as Blaney allowed Cindric to clear him and drop to the bottom where the two could draft together.

With Cindric vacating the top, this left Keselowski at the front of the outside line. He had drafting help and got numerous pushes from both Chase Briscoe and Kyle Busch lined up behind him. But no matter how big of a run the No. 6 got, he could never overtake the two Penske Fords down below him. Cindric was completely cleared heading into Turn 3 of the final lap.

Coming out of Turn 4, Blaney got a run and tried to dart up to the outside to overtake his teammate at the line. Cindric through an incredible block that led to Blaney scuffing the wall. However, with both Fords vacating the bottom, this opened the door for Bubba Wallace to make one last attempt. Wallace had a massive run in the trioval, so much so that Cindric started to move back down to block him. The two made light contact as Cindric edged Wallace at the line to win the 64th running of the Daytona 500 in thrilling fashion.

Austin Cindric Starts NASCAR Cup Series Rookie Season with a Bang

With the win, Austin Cindric became the first NASCAR Cup Series rookie since 2011 to win the Daytona 500. This was only Cindric’s eighth career start at the sport’s highest level. The 23-year-old has already achieved plenty of success, most notably capturing the 2020 Xfinity Series season championship while driving for Team Penske. Cindric certainly delivered a pretty amazing birthday present to “The Captain” and team owner, Roger Penske, who turned 85 on Sunday.

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