Austin Cindric seeking to join legendary club of Rolex 24-Daytona 500 winners

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Based on experience alone, Austin Cindric figured he’d win a Rolex 24 at Daytona watch long before he’d earn a diamond-encrusted Daytona 500 ring.

He was wrong.

Cindric won the Daytona 500 last year to open his NASCAR Cup Series rookie season with the biggest win of his career. It was a bit surreal since the bulk of his time at Daytona International Speedway had been either hanging around Roger Penske’s sports car team or driving in the Rolex 24 and its support races.

Cindric’s start to this year is his fifth appearance in the Rolex 24 this weekend with a lineup full of winners in the LMP2 class. He’s hoping the Saturday into Sunday race will earn him his first Rolex.

“I’ve been coming to Daytona a lot longer for this race (Rolex 24) than I have for the (Daytona) 500 or NASCAR Speedweeks,” Cindric said. “However long it takes, I want to win this race. It’s why I put so much work in, it’s why I don’t care about sacrificing the last two weeks of my offseason, because it’s something I’m really passionate about and I am not passionate about just doing the event – I want to go win it.”

The No. 51 Rick Ware Racing in the LMP2 class is comprised of IndyCar driver Devlin DeFrancesco and sports car driver Eric Lux, who were both part of the class-winning car a year ago with IndyCar stars Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward.

The fourth driver is Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of Emerson Fittipaldi who on Tuesday was confirmed as the reserve driver for Haas F1 for a fifth consecutive season.

Austin Cindric will share the No. 51 of Rick Ware Racing ORECA LMP2 07 with Eric Lux, Pietro Fittipaldi and Devlin Defrancesco (IMSA).

Cindric, the only full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver in the field, is trying to join Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Jamie McMurray and Jeff Gordon as winners of both the Daytona 500 and Rolex 24. That goal is why he chose the Ware entry for this year’s race.

“I’m not going to do something or be part of something I don’t think has the legs to be able to do it and between the lineup and the experience a lot of the team guys have, I think this has that potential,” Cindric said.

“And it’s fun because I feel this lineup itself represents what makes this event fun for everybody. You’ve got one guy from NASCAR, one guy from Formula One, one guy whose IMSA, one guy from IndyCar and that’s what this event is all about, it’s a coming together of the people and individuals of motorsports.”

Dylan Ferrandis in concussion protocol after Houston Supercross accident, Tampa status undetermined

Ferrandis Houston accident
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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After suffering a frightening accident at Houston in the Monster Energy Supercross race, Dylan Ferrandis reports he is okay, but will be on concussion protocol and his status for Tampa this week is not yet determined.

Two laps into last week’s Main, Ferrandis was engaged in a battle with Ken Roczen for eighth place. Ferrandis landed on the back Roczen’s bike and was thrown, landing headfirst on the track. Ferrandis momentarily lost consciousness and the race was red flagged so he could be attended to by the Alpinestars medical team.

“I’m okay after my crash in the main event. I hit my head first and got knock[ed] out for some minutes,” Ferrandis posted in an Instagram story. “Everything else is fine and I am okay now fortunately. Will follow the concussion protocol and will see when I can ride again.”

Ferrandis regained consciousness, the medical crew fitted Ferrandis with a neck brace and he was able to stand and walk to the cart under his own power. Ferrandis was sitting up when he left the track with a member of the crew stabilizing his neck.

“It was an awesome ride [for Eli] and a good way to come back from last weekend,” said Jeremy Coker, Team Manager for Star Racing Yamaha at RacerXOnline.com. “It was also the lowest of lows. Unfortunately, it’s part of the sport, but to see one of your guys crash the way Dylan did and to see him lying there was pretty tough. Fortunately, when I got to him, he was able to open his eyes and looked at me and said my name, and it was a huge relief to see him stand up and walk away.”

Ferrandis was off to a strong start in 2023 with a worst finish of sixth at San Diego in the first three races. He entered Houston sixth in the standings, one point behind Jason Anderson.

Ferrandis’ teammate Eli Tomac went on to win the race.

Also riding for Star Racing Yamaha and making his 450cc Supercross debut, Justin Cooper advanced from 13th at the end of Lap 1 to finish seventh.