MOORSEVILLE, N.C. — The bottom line very well may be that NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Austin Cindric will not be penalized for his role in a late-race accident with Austin Dillon Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway.
But that didn’t stop the fans, the media or even Cindric from talking about it on social media.
Cindric’s Team Penske No. 2 machine contacted the right rear of Dillon’s Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet as the pair battled for 12th, sending Dillon spinning.
Dillon claimed after the race that Cindric crashed him on purpose and called for the second-year Cup Series driver to be suspended, as Chase Elliott was suspended for one race after a similar incident with Denny Hamlin during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
“I was wrecked intentionally by him, hooked right just like Chase and Denny and Bubba’s deal,” Dillon said. “He better be suspended next week.”
But Sawyer, a longtime Xfinity Series racer, said Tuesday morning there wasn’t enough to warrant a penalty, calling it “hard racing.”
“We didn’t see anything that really would rise to a level that would be a suspension or a penalty,” Sawyer told Sirius XM. “It looked like hard racing. One car coming up a little bit and another car going down.
“As we said last week, we take these incidents very seriously when we see cars that are turned head-on into another car or head-on into the wall. I spent a lot of time (Monday) looking at that, looking at all the data, looking at TV footage and just deemed this one really hard racing.”
Later Tuesday morning, Cindric made an elaborate Twitter post addressing the incident and its aftermath.
“Safety is a very important topic and one that is taken very seriously in our industry,” Cindric said in part. “Reviewing the data, at no point do I see any neglect toward the safety of others on the race track from any drivers involved in this incident, myself included. Objectively, I cannot see how intent or, if I’m being honest, full responsibility can be placed on me here, especially racing hard for position at the end of the race.
“As a professional, I do not enjoy having my character in question when it is not justified. We are expected to race hard and I will not apologize for doing so, but I will be the first person to raise my hand and listen when I’ve done something wrong.”
Cindric closed his Twitter post by saying, he’s looking forward to discussing the incident with Dillon.
“I’ve reached out to Austin so the two of us can discuss our differences as professionals,” Cindric wrote. “Once I hear back from him, that can happen.”
The Cup Series heads to California’s Sonoma Raceway on Sunday.