The first NASCAR Sprint Cup driver to commit to competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona certainly has had some success at the World Center of Racing.
Austin Cindric, the reigning Daytona 500 champion, was named as one of the four drivers for the Rick Ware Racing entry in the LMP2 Class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener. The race is scheduled to begin at 1:40 p.m. on Jan. 28 at Daytona International Speedway and it will mark the fifth appearance for Cindric in the event.
“The Rolex 24 is an event that I’ve always been passionate about,” Cindric said via release on Saturday. “With it being my fifth attempt, I’m hungry to continue my pursuit for a win and a Rolex watch. I have a great, experienced lineup of co-drivers with a winning pedigree.”
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The 24-year old will be joined by Pietro Fittipaldi, Eric Lux and Devlin DeFrancesco with the latter two serving as part of the winning DragonSpeed entry in LMP2 Division in the Rolex 24 last year. Fittipaldi currently serves as a reserve driver for the Haas Formula LLC Formula One team.
“The 24-hour race at Daytona is one of the Crown Jewels of motorsports,” said Rick Ware. “Its right up there with the Daytona 500, Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans. I couldn’t be happier about the driver line-up we’re bringing to the Rolex 24 this year. It’s great to have drivers with F1, NASCAR, Indy Car and various other levels of racing experience driving our car this year.
Cindric, the 2021 Xfinity Series champion, won his first race as a full-time Cup Series driver with Team Penske last year, holding off teammate Ryan Blaney to win the Daytona 500, earning a playoff berth in the process. He finished 12th in the final point standings.
But Cindric has logged plenty of miles in sports cars as well. In 2014, Cindric drove in Historic Sportscar Racing and competed alongside David Levine for Racers Edge Motorsports at Road Atlanta in an IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge event. He began competing full time in the series the following year with Multimatic Motorsports, winning with co-driver Jade Buford at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
It will mark Cindric’s second start in the LMP2 class with his other seven starts in the SportsCar Championship coming in GT cars. Cindric was part of fifth-place finishes in each of his last two Rolex 24 starts (2019 and 2022).
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