Cindric focused on championship despite cloud in the air

Brett Moist/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

As Austin Cindric prepares for his first time in the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the cloud of the accident with Ben Rhodes at Phoenix Raceway looms.

Despite the cloud, Cindric is focused on running for the championship instead of the play of words by Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton. Cindric has not thought about the incident over the past 24 hours.

“I haven’t thought about in the last 24 hours. Like I said, this is the biggest opportunity of my career. Something like that overshadowing it is slightly unfortunate. For me, it is in the past and you have to move on.” said Cindric.

Over the week, Cindric attempted to reach out to Rhodes, but has been unsuccessful. He was able to leave Rhodes a voicemail to discuss the incident. However, there has been no further discussions and Cindric does not expect him to return the call.

“I probably don’t anticipate him to. We will find each other at the racetrack at some point and talk about it. If we don’t end up talking about it, I think it is one of those things you have days to look at it.”

Cindric told Rhodes in the voicemail that the move was not intentional. Cindric understands the frustration, but feels like it is time to move on.

“In short, I said ‘Hey Ben, there was no intent.’ I think during the race and after the incident happened that I wrecked him. I think its absurd. I think it is a stretch of the imagination to even look at the replay and say that. Obviously, it’s frustrating because that was the end of their championship run. I can understand the frustration. We got to move on.”

A week after the accident, Cindric would make the same exact move with 20 laps to go. The move Cindric made on Rhodes could have been his last shot to beat a truck that was ahead of him to be racing for a championship this weekend. Cindric knew that decision would have been made by any driver in that position.

“You can’t do anything different with 20 laps to go and you are racing for a shot at a championship. At the end of Friday night, that could have been the move that wins me a championship. It’s about the decisions you make. For us, anyone would have done the same thing in our position with 20 laps to go trying to beat the guy that has been better than you all night. For us, it was a pretty simple decision. I think it was a simple decision for anybody.”

Is Cindric worried about something happening? Absolutely not! Cindric believes that any move made in retaliation because of the incident would be “extremely unfortunate and uncalled for.”

While others may be focused on retaliation, Cindric is focused on worrying about himself and winning a championship.

“I have bigger fish to fry. I can only work about what I can control.“

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