There were several shipwrecks that occurred during a record Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. However, one that includes William Byron and Denny Hamlin created conversations and led to angry comments from members of Joe Gibbs Racing.
The accident occurred under caution after Martin Truex Jr. blew a tire and crashed from bullets. Byron came up behind Hamlin and hit him. This call sent the number 11 spinning through the field grass. This premeditated move was apparently in response to Hamlin having moved Byron to the Wall earlier in the stage.
After the connection, Hamlin returned to rejoin the field and returned to his place in second place. However, the NASCAR race controller told him to go back to 15th, creating some frustration in Crew Chief Chris Jabhardt. Emotions turned to anger after NASCAR decided to allow Byron to keep his place rather than punish him.
“The man smashes you under caution and no punishment? What do we do?” asked Chabhart over the radio. The crew chief added that Hamlin would win the race if he was not sent through the turf.
“I think we can smash into each other under caution,” Hamlin told NBC Sports’ Kim Kwon after the race. “I tried to smash him again, but that’s just… I don’t think we touched. I should look, but I don’t think we touched. He obviously sent us across the field under caution.”
Another Cup Series driver expressed his opinion
“No penalty for this?! Depends on who you see.” Kyle Bush tweeted After watching a replay of Byron’s angle. He was one of many who weighed in on the contact and whether NASCAR should stop Byron.
It is fitting that Busch weighs in on the intentional connection at Texas Motor Speedway. He handled his own penalty on the track during the 2011 season, which resulted in him missing two races.
The accident occurred during the season finale of the truck series at Texas Motor Speedway. Bush intentionally sent Ron Hornady Jr. to the wall with just over 13 laps into the race in retaliation for the earlier contact. This incident ended Hornady’s championship quest and helped Austin Dillon secure his title.
NASCAR officials responded to the intentional call by parking Busch for the remainder of the race. The Sanctions Authority then issued a statement the next day and announced Bush’s suspension for the remainder of the weekend. He will not be able to compete in the Nationwide or Cup Series races.
“I ended up losing my temper,” said Bush after receiving the penalty. Per FOX News. “I crashed four weeks in a row, and finally, I’ve had enough of it. I’m sorry it was Ron Hornady, and he’s chasing a championship, but the truth of the matter is you can’t put all the blame on one person as a start. There were two people that got into it in the beginning, and there was Two people finished it.”
Byron gave his side of the story
Byron met with NBC Sports’ Parker Kligerman after the race and gave his side of the story. He said Hamlin had “taken him out of the room” and that the contact bent the toe linkage on the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.
Byron also admitted that he had intentionally bumped the rear of Hamlin No. 11 to show his displeasure. Although he said he had no aim to get his fellow driver out with the contact.
“I wouldn’t run that way,” Byron said. “There’s no real reason. I mean, we’re second and third, I think, and we have a chance to win. Our car killed, sure, so that was a bummer.”
“I’m fine with an uphill race, but smashing under caution is not what we were bargaining for,” Hamlin said during his post-race interview. Hamlin added that he would add Byron “to the list” of drivers who need some payback from him in the future. He didn’t say if this would happen during the playoffs or in a later season.
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