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Austin Dillon reacts to strong words from Danica Patrick

RELATED: Danica Patrick won’t return to SHR | Stewart’s statement

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Danica Patrick’s status as a newsmaker may not be limited to just this week.

In an interview with about her looming departure from Stewart-Haas Racing at season’s end, Patrick said rival Austin Dillon was on her payback list after their round of bumper tag last Saturday at Richmond Raceway.

Dillon, speaking Wednesday from NASCAR Playoffs Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, said he’d take her remarks under advisement.

“Well, that’s good to know,” Dillon said. “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.”

Dillon finished 21st Saturday night, two spots ahead of Patrick in the regular-season finale for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. A nudge from Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet sent Patrick’s No. 10 Chevy into the outside retaining wall, prompting the race’s fifth caution flag on Lap 257.

Asked if their run-in was in response to earlier contact between the two, Dillon was matter-of-fact.

“Oh, yeah. She punted me, so I just punted her back,” Dillon said. “She spun out and I saved mine when she punted me.”