Austin Cindric had a decent day Saturday at Phoenix Raceway. He led the opening nine laps of the race, and was in position to score a second-place finish in Stage 1 of the race, until a shot from behind from Ross Chastain sent him up the hill.
Fortunately, Cindric was able to keep his car under control and continued on.
Over the final circuits of the race, Cindric — once again — found himself locked up with Chastain in a battle for position.
Chastain shoved Cindric up the track again, so Cindric decided to return the favor. The two drivers raced close and aggressively for several laps, before Cindric ultimately prevailed and finished eighth, while Chastain ended up ninth.
Following the race, Cindric was asked about his battles throughout the day with Chastain and what was the reasoning the two were racing so aggressively, Cindric threw it all back on his competitor.
“That is a great question for Ross (Chastain),” Cindric responded pointedly. “I about got wrecked twice for position. That is cool I guess. I am not sure. It is a one lane race track but the first thing you do when you run up on a guy is not left-rear him. Enough people realize that. It is unfortunate you have to race it. He is fast and he deserves to be here but at the same time I am not sure I deserve that.”
Cindric went on to describe that he was mad about the whole way Chastain raced him, and that he would like to hear Chastain’s point of view in the whole ordeal.
Aggressiveness may be a hot topic for the NASCAR Xfinity Series for a while. Saturday’s issue between Cindric and Chastain comes on the heels of NASCAR sitting down Noah Gragson before NASCAR Xfinity Series practice on Friday to talk to the driver of the No. 9 car about over-aggressive driving over the last few weeks.
For what it’s worth, Gragson raced clean all day long, won Stage 2 and finished seventh on Saturday.
Will NASCAR feel compelled to do the same with Chastain?
That remains to be seen, but if Chastain continues to have run-ins with others, this could become a storyline to watch.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.