Austin Cindric won’t be looking over his shoulder Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway when it comes to Ben Rhodes or anyone at ThorSport Racing.
Less than a week after Cindric and Rhodes got together at Phoenix (below), the Brad Keselowski Racing driver said he reached out to Rhodes but hasn’t heard back. Rhodes, crew chief Eddie Troconis and teammate Matt Crafton were upset with the contact between Cindric and Rhodes that eliminated Rhodes from the playoffs and gave Cindric the spot in the Championship 4.
“We’ll find each other at the racetrack at some point and talk about it. If we don’t end up talking think it’s one of those things where you have plenty of days to look at it and for me, I’ve got bigger fish to fry this weekend,” Cindric said during Championship 4 Media Day.
“I got a shot to win the championship. It’s the biggest opportunity of my career and hopefully, we’ll be able to have a shot at the end of it.”
Rhodes called it a “desperation move” and “risky” when Cindric went inside of him on a restart with 20 laps to go. The two made contact when Rhodes moved down, but Cindric had already put a bumper inside the left-rear quarter panel of the No. 27.
The No. 19 won’t win the championship, Rhodes said. Crafton went further, saying that he told Rhodes that Cindric “better not finish Homestead.”
But on Thursday, two-time series champion Crafton said his comments were in the heat of the moment after being caught up in an unnecessary accident.
At 19 years old, Cindric will compete for a championship in his first season. It is the last season for BKR. Those two variables are what Cindric is focused on and he has not thought about the accident until it’s brought up.
“Like I said, this is the biggest opportunity in my career and to have something like that overshadowing it, it’s slightly unfortunate but for me, it’s in the past and you’ve got to move on,” Cindric said.
Would Cindric have done anything differently, however?
“You can’t do anything different,” he said. “It’s 20 laps to go and you’re racing for a shot at a championship, and at the end of [tomorrow] night that could have been the move that wins me the championship,” he said.
“It’s about the decisions you make and I think anyone would have done the same thing in our position, with a run with 20 laps to go trying to beat the guy that’s been better than you all night. That’s the guy you need to beat for a championship, so for us, it’s a pretty simple decision. I think it’s a simple decision for anybody.”