NASCAR: Austin Cindric Set to Replace Brad Keselowski at Team Penske in 2022

by Josh Lanier

Austin Cindric will drive the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske next season after the team announced Brad Keselowski is leaving.

It’s unclear what the 2012 NASCAR champion will do next season, but Fox Sports has said it’s confirmed he’ll move to Rouch Racing. Though Keselowski hasn’t said what his plans are. In fact, he tweeted a joke when reports first started to surface about the move weeks ago.

Cindric, the reigning Xfinity Series champion, will drive in a car fielded by Wood Brothers Racing in a technical alliance with Team Penske, ESPN reported.

“Austin is a champion and has proven his abilities both on and off the track,” team owner Penske said. “The Cup Series is a big step for any rookie but making this move now, in conjunction with the introduction of the new NextGen car, makes sense.”

Brad Keselowski, 37, who has driven for 12 seasons, said he wished the team luck going forward. He tweeted that he believes Cindric was a smart choice as his replacement.

“I extend my sincerest gratitude to the entire 2 crew for their commitment and work over these past 12+ years. I know they will continue to do great things together with Austin at the wheel,” he said.

“Making the decision to part ways with Team Penske to embrace a new opportunity and challenge was a difficult one, and one I did not take lightly. I know that I am leaving in a good place though, and I am both excited and eager to share the details of what’s next for me soon,” he said. “Right now, my focus remains on winning more races in 2021 and giving it my all to take down our second Championship.”

Cindric Says He’s Ready for NASCAR Cup Series

Austin Cindric said he’s grown as a driver and is ready for NASCAR’s top circuit.

“Throughout my NASCAR career, I’ve grown a lot as a driver and an individual,” Cindric said in a team statement. “There are so many individuals within the walls of Team Penske that have elevated me to a level that matches this opportunity. The support towards my development from Roger, Team Penske, and all of our partners has been the leading factor towards race wins and a championship.”

Cindric’s ascension allowed Harrison Burton, the son of former Cup star Jeff Burton, to take his seat on Wood Brothers Xfinity Series team, CBS News reported.

“Since I began racing quarter midgets, the hope and goal was always to become a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Burton in a team release. “Now, I get to do this with one of the most storied teams in NASCAR history in the Wood Brothers and with an association with Ford Motor Company and Ford Performance. I don’t think I could have dreamt of a better situation to put myself in when it comes to the start of my NASCAR Cup Series career.”