The four drivers that will race for a championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series have been set. Austin Cindric is the fourth driver in, making his first appearance but not without some controversy in Friday night’s race at Phoenix.
Coming to a restart on lap 130, Ben Rhodes and Cindric were racing for the 4th and final position in the championship four. Rhodes would lineup up 9th on the restart, Cindric behind him in 11th. As the field took the green, the inside line was slow. Cindric moved low to try and get to the inside of Rhodes. The two would make contact with Rhodes slamming the inside wall before coming back across the track collecting ThorSport Racing teammate and championship contender Matt Crafton.
Drivers and fans would sit through three red flags before the race and championship four would be determined.
Needing a win to get into the final four John Hunter Nemecheck would restart 2nd to race leader Johnny Sauter on the final restart of the night. Nemecheck was unable to pass Sauter and was left on the outside looking in. With Nemecheck finishing 2nd, a 9th place finish for Cindric was good enough for the 4th and final playoff spot in the season finale.
Following the race the contact between Rhodes and Cindric drew all the attention.
“We were in front of him all day long, and we were going to be into the final four… and I don’t know. It looked like a desperation move to me, because there’s so much racing left to do,” said Rhodes.
On his radio following the contact Cindric was surprised, asking why Rhodes would come down, “Why would he block that?”
Sauter, Christopher Bell, Crafton and Cindric are the four drivers heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway with a chance at a title. Sauter, Bell and Crafton were three of the four drivers to advance last year with Sauter winning the championship. Crafton is a two-time series champion while Bell and Cindric are in search of their first career title. The championship will be decided Friday night, with the first driver crossing the start-finish line taking the title.