Its never good to have unfinished business heading into The Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs. Of course many drivers, including Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon all learned that the hard way over the years when their respective rivalries spilled over into the playoffs and cost them a chance at the championship, but it looks like at least one driver in this year’s playoffs might suffer the same fate as well.
Austin Dillon and Danica Patrick ended up playing bumper tag last week at Richmond Raceway and while Patrick received the worst of it when she got spun by Dillon a few laps later, the issue was settled quickly and neither driver made much of an attempt at retaliation. Unfortunately for Dillon, Patrick did take the time during her interview regarding her departure from SHR at the end of the season, to reveal that Dillon was on her payback list for the incident.
“Well, that’s good to know,” Dillon said when asked about Danica Patrick acting on her threat “I’m glad she’s worried about me, but I’ll talk to her at some point. I’m sure we’ll be OK. She could’ve retaliated at Richmond. I pulled right in front of her to allow her to do it, but nothing happened. I was ready to get out of the Richmond race. We sucked so bad. I was like, ‘Man, just take me out if you want.’ But she didn’t do it, so I didn’t think she was that mad.”
Whats interesting here is the fact that now Danica Patrick literally has nothing to lose after it was announced that she would be leaving Stewart Haas Racing at the end of the season and she really could probably get away with doing something Dillon without much of any consequences. Sure, she might lose her ride a few races earlier, or be parked for a race or two, but if she’s leaving the sport at the end of the season, what does that matter?
As for Dillon, he has everything to lose and he and his team would probably benefit from clearing the air with Patrick as quickly as possible before Sunday’s race at Chicagoland. In fact, Dillon, who made the playoffs for the second time in his career after pulling off the upset victory at The Coca Cola 600 earlier this year, might be signing his own death warrant if he dosen’t at least attempt an apology and get things squared away with the first lady of NASCAR.