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Austin Cindric
Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 39 Reynolds Wrap Toyota, celebrates winning the Bully Hill Vineyards 100 for what's now the ARCA Menards Series West at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 5, 2016. (Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Two drivers with ARCA ties land full-time NASCAR Cup Series rides

Two drivers who have won races in the ARCA Menards Series will compete full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series starting in 2022.

Team Penske on Thursday announced 22-year-old Austin Cindric will drive its No. 2 Ford Mustang, replacing Brad Keselowski. Wood Brothers Racing also announced 20-year-old Harrison Burton will drive its No. 21 Ford Mustang, replacing Matt DiBenedetto.

Cindric, the defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, picked up his lone ARCA Menards Series win at Kentucky Speedway in 2016. He has four top-five finishes in eight ARCA Menards Series starts from 2015-2017.

Cindric also won both of the ARCA Menards Series East (then the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) races he entered in 2016. He started on the pole and led every lap at both Virginia International Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

“Throughout my NASCAR career, I’ve grown a lot as a driver and an individual,” Cindric said in a team release. “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.

“The No. 2 car is iconic to this sport and is a number that represents the foundation of this team. It is a great honor and a great responsibility to continue that role. As 2022 gets closer, I am excited to embrace that. Until then, my focus remains on winning another Xfinity Series Championship.”

Burton won the East Series championship in 2017, when he won five times and logged 12 top-five finishes in 14 races. He also has three ARCA Menards Series wins, at Toledo Speedway in 2017, at Pocono Raceway in 2018 and at Daytona International Speedway in the 2019 season-opener.

“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. “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.

“Add to that the technical alliance with Team Penske and the knowledge I’ll gain from working with their drivers and I’m really excited for 2022 and the future. This is a great opportunity for me and I can’t thank Eddie and Len Wood enough for giving me this chance.”