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Austin Cindric will certainly feel very hard done by, and justifiably so. After more than an hour-long weather delay at Nashville Superspeedway, the 25-year-old received a penalty even before he managed to get back on track. The Team Penske driver was having a solid day, qualifying in the top 10 and running in 17th place at the end of the first stage. Cindric’s track position ranged from 10th to 15th throughout the first part of the race, which is why being forced into the rear due to an unwarranted penalty was a real setback.

NASCAR’s reasons for issuing the penalty resulted in severe backlash from fans, with many feeling that Austin Cindric was harshly treated with a penalty under bizarre circumstances.

A heavy price to pay for Austin Cindric

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As far as weather delays go, unlike New Hampshire, drying off the track at Nashville Superspeedway was a relatively painless process. Not for everyone, though, as the No. 2 Team Penske garage had to pay a big price for the weather conditions after a fan entered their garage to help dry it off. According to NASCAR, the fan’s presence was too close to the car, and it may have helped cool off Cindric’s No. 2 Ford Mustang. As far as penalties go, this is one of the strangest ones.

According to NASCAR’s rulebook, fans being too close to the car or being positioned at a ‘wrong’ angle is a gray area, and the circumstances surrounding this particular instance didn’t necessarily justify the harsh penalty that was given to Austin Cindric, especially when his Ford Mustang was not tampered with in any way.

 

 

However, the key takeaway from this instance is that, as a race team, Team Penske’s No. 2 garage should have been more careful about letting a fan this close to their car. While NASCAR’s ruling is undoubtedly silly, Team Penske should never have put themselves in this position to begin with. As for Cindric, the 25-year-old waited through the rain, only to get penalized and sent to the back once the grid resumed. Thoroughly undeserved, to say the least.

With one win already this season, the penalty won’t affect Cindric’s chances of making it to the playoffs. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the No. 2 Penske team will be feeling frustrated, especially because of how his teammates are doing. Joey Logano had a good start to his race, thanks to a great pit strategy, while reigning champion Ryan Blaney has been running in the top 10 all race.

Cindric’s penalty didn’t sit well with the fans

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As expected, fans didn’t take it well when NASCAR forced Austin Cindric to the back of the grid after a fan was seen blowing towards his No. 2 Ford Mustang. Expressing frustration on Reddit, one fan wrote, “That Cindric penalty sounds like heavy bulls***” while another fan was shocked that a penalty could be given in such circumstances, saying, “That’s a new one for penalty”.

Considering how bizarre the circumstances were that resulted in Cindric’s penalty, a fan couldn’t help but think that the situation was a lot more serious than what it turned out to be. Commenting on Reddit, the fan wrote, “That’s an interesting reason why Cindric got the penalty. I thought for a moment an actual person messed up his car and the crew tried to repair the car”.

One fan couldn’t believe that NASCAR would penalize Austin Cindric because of a fan pointing the blower at the wrong angle in the Team Penske garage. The Reddit user wrote, “Penalized for a fan pointing at the wrong angle? That’s your lamest penalty yet, A**CAR!

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Others also expressed similar sentiments, saying “That’s a BS penalty for Cindric” and “Kind of a stupid penalty on Cindric lol,” pretty much summarizing the consensus regarding the incident and fans’ view of Austin Cindric’s penalty at Nashville Superspeedway.

Do you think Austin Cindric deserved a penalty at Ally 400? Let us know in the comments!