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Nick DeGroot

Cindric: "I do not enjoy having my character in question"

While battling for position late in Sunday's race at Gateway, Dillon got turned off the nose of Cindric, spinning up the track and collecting Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

He immediately accused Cindric of hooking him intentionally, an accusation repeated by Dillon's team owner and grandfather Richard Childress.

This comes just one week after a high-profile incident during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte where Chase Elliott turned Denny Hamlin head-on into the outside wall. NASCAR deemed it to be intentional and suspended the sport's most popular driver for one race, which is the same penalty handed to Bubba Wallace following a similar incident last year.

NASCAR Senior VP of Competition Elton Sawyer spoke with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday, after announcing that there would be no penalty for the contact at Gateway.

"We didn't see anything, and haven't seen anything, that really would rise to a level that would be a suspension or a penalty. It looked like hard racing. One car coming up a little bit, another car going down and as we said last week, we take these incidents very seriously."

He then added: "We spent a lot of time yesterday looking at that, looking at all the data, looking at TV footage, and just deemed this one as really hard racing. And we're going to have a conversation with the two Austins to make sure we're all in a good place as we move forward to Sonoma."

Cindric defends himself

Cindric took it upon himself to post the SMT data after NASCAR cleared him of any wrongdoing. He also released a statement, which read as follows:

"I am not a fan of the idea of taking to social media to deal with on-track issues, but it has become clear to me that my voice and input is needed for this discussion to come to an end.

"Did AD (Austin Dillon) and I make contact? Yes. Was that contact intentional? Absolutely NOT. The data is pretty cut and dry, but I've provided it since it has yet to surface from the start of these accusations.

"I follow the draft from the 24 car (William Byron) the length of the frontstraight to make it three wide, trapping the 3 car (Dillon) on the bottom, which I viewed as an advantage for me by the time we would get the exit of Turn 2.

"The 3 comes up to get his arch for the corner, tries to fill the gap, and is not clear. All happening right at the braking point for the corner.

"I actually start to roll out of the throttle as I recognize the 3 car trying to fill the gap. My steering angle does not shift to the left until we make contact. Not exactly the type of behavior you'd expect from someone trying to catch and hook another car.

"Safety is a very important topic and one that is taken very seriously in our industry. Reviewing the data, at no point do I see any neglect towards the safety of others on the racetrack 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.

"I've reached out to Austin so the two of can discuss our differences as professionals. Once I hear back from him, that can happen."

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