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November 16, 2017

Austin Cindric

Q. Do you still wear that rubber bracelet?

Q. Your dad told a story about when you started wearing that. I want to get your version of it. You've been wearing it for several years?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: Yeah, I've had this on since 2011. I mean, it's from Dan Wheldon's memorial service, and he was someone I grew up around, that I liked, and growing up around IndyCar. To be able to see something like that happen at my age when it did happen was pretty impactful. So I haven't taken it off since then.

Q. How old were you then?

Q. You said impactful, but that's bad impactful. Does it just become a habit that you've kept it on, and did that give you any pause about whether you wanted to continue on and do this?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: No, it's part of the sport. Obviously race cars have gotten a lot safer over the years, but when you have something like that‑‑ because that was kind of‑‑ at my age, that was the first time that it happened that I could remember, and I was watching the TV, watching the race, watching the championship fight, and something like that happens, it's pretty impactful, but obviously it's part of the sport, it's part of what we do, and race cars are pretty safe. IndyCar racing is fairly dangerous, but anyway, no, it was just a part of my childhood.

Q. Last week there were some hot tempers after the race. Are you concerned how people will race this weekend?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: I can't be concerned about any of it because I've got a lot bigger fish to fry right now. I'm in the Championship 4. This is the biggest opportunity of my career, and at the end of the day, it's frustrating because I wanted to race our way in. I didn't want something like that to happen, and obviously that was just a racing deal, and obviously I think everyone understands that. But hot tempers, that was our chance to contend for a championship, and I would contend anyone being frustrated at that point. Obviously the way they handled it probably wasn't the cleanest, but you've got to move on from something like that. Like I said, I've got bigger fish to fry. I've got to figure out how to race Homestead, I've got to figure out how to beat three of the best in NASCAR trucks.

Q. You said the way you handled it?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: No, the way the other guys. They waited around their trailer to come confront me after the race and threatened to crash us at Homestead. It's all frustration, and I think we've just got to move on from it.

Q. Do you think the race will be clean and fair?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: I'd like to hope so. I think the racing always has to be clean and fair, but everything is going to be a fight, but it's nothing I can speculate on. I've just got to go do my best job and execute for a title championship.

Q. Have you talked to any of them since?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: I reached out to Ben. I gave him a voicemail. Left him a voicemail, basically just made sure, hey, there was no intent for anything to happen, just a racing deal, and I think he understood that watching his post‑race interview, and I'd love to catch up with him this weekend. He and I have grown up racing together in licensed cars and Bandoleros, and I would hate to see him think the wrong thing about something like that, but obviously it's a frustrating deal either way for those guys.

Q. Typically a week goes by and cooler heads prevail; is that what you anticipate here?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: Yeah, I think so. You can't think that they're going to be as hot as they were after something like that happened. Like I said, I've got bigger fish to fry this weekend and a lot more to focus on than something that's in the past. I think that right now for me is the priority.

Q. Had you guys been sort of typically cordial to each other in the past?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: Oh, yeah. I mean, like if there's‑‑ I always feel like drivers always have a go‑to person to go sit next to during driver intros, and Ben was like my go‑to person. We'd just sit there and talk to each other, me and Ben and a few of those guys, and we'd just talk during driver intros. Obviously we were in a pretty tight points battle. I had finished right behind him to get into the tiebreaker, win the tiebreaker. That was going to be a pretty hard fight all the way to the end, and Ben is a pretty hard racer, and I wish it would have been able to come after that point. Like I said, you've got to move on, and (indiscernible).

Q. Do you think it will be a little awkward if it starts getting toward race day and you guys haven't made eye contact‑‑ race day is tomorrow.
AUSTIN CINDRIC: Yeah, I mean, we'll see each other at some point. We'll be standing on the same stage waiting for driver intros.

Q. You might have to find a new seat.
AUSTIN CINDRIC: I'm sure we'll be able to talk, and I'm sure, like you said, cooler heads‑‑ usually after a few weeks‑‑ to be able to win the championship for BKR in their final race, final shot at a championship, that would be huge. It would be a pretty big party in Statesville at the shop. No, it would be a huge day for us, and I think we're more than capable of having it happen. We're definitely the underdog, and I love that because who doesn't want to root for the underdog, right? I think BKR has brought great stuff to Homestead in the past. Tyler finished second there last year, beat out all the other contenders, so I feel like we have the equipment to do it. It's about me figuring it out and trying to get the most out of it.

Q. What are you going to do next year?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: That's a good question. Still working on it.

Q. Do you anticipate it being a mix of different things?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: Yeah, I mean, I'd love to continue being as diverse as I have been in the past. I mean, I feel like that's been my hallmark. That's been something that makes me different than the young drivers I race against. To be able to say that I raced and won races in multiple different disciplines and be able to do that throughout a year and contend for race wins in all those disciplines has been really cool and has been a fun process to go through, and I love to see that outlet. Obviously I committed myself to NASCAR racing this year. I left quite a few good opportunities in sports car racing to come to NASCAR because at my age this is the time to go NASCAR racing, and you've got to ride that wave as long as you can.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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