The Sanctions Authority answered a long-awaited question from Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR has decided to issue penalties to William Byron and Hendrick Motorsports after Denny Hamlin deliberately hit under caution.
NASCAR announced the news on September 27 with its weekly penalty report. Byron received a $50,000 fine for his actions, which resulted in Hamlin making a spin through the lawn under caution. Additionally, NASCAR docked 25 points driver Byron and 25 points owner Hendrick Motorsports.
Both of these penalties fall under Sections 4.3.A and 4.4.C of the NASCAR Rule Book: NASCAR Member Code of Conduct.
The accident occurred in the final stage after Martin Truex Jr blew a tire from the front and raised the warning. The field slowed, but Byron choked and hit Hamlin from behind. This call sent the number 11 spinning through the grass.
After the race, Byron admitted to NBC Sports that he hit Hamlin on purpose after the number 11 driver pinched him against a wall. He said he didn’t mean to send him to flirt. Hamlin responded by saying he had added Byron “to the list” of drivers in need of compensation.
“I’m not going to run that way,” Byron told NBC Sports after the race. “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.”
Byron now sits below the playoff line
Byron left Texas Motor Speedway third in the standings and 17 points off the cut-off line with two races remaining in Round 12. Now he sits eight points below the cut-off line and needs some consistent performances to move into the quarter-finals.
Byron is behind Penske’s Austin Sindrick (-7) in the standings. He’s ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell (-25) and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman (-26).
Now Byron will be heading to the Talladega Superspeedway, a nine-player track starting with two of the top five. It will conclude the Round of 12 at Charlotte Ruffale, a track where he has had two top-10 finishes in four games.
For comparison, a Stewart-Haas Racing member benefited from this penalty. Chase Briscoe left Texas Motor Speedway with four points less than the Round of Eight. Now he has seven points for best with two races remaining in the round of 12.
Byron avoided a bigger penalty
The points penalty will likely upset the playoffs, and will make it even more difficult for Byron to move into the quarter-finals. However, he will have a chance to compete in both races.
There was a possibility that Byron would receive a suspension for one race. After all, NASCAR’s Kyle Busch got stuck in the Xfinity and Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway in 2011 after intentionally smashing Ron Hornaday Jr. in the truck series season finale.
Additionally, NASCAR suspended Johnny Sutter for one race again during the 2019 season. He had smashed Austin Hill under caution at Iowa Speedway in retaliation for Hill sending him to the wall on lap 136. Race Control suspended Sutter for the remainder of the race and then NASCAR suspended him for racing at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Byron did not receive this punishment. Instead, he’s still in control of his own destiny heading toward Talladega Superspeedway and Charlotte Roval.
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