NASCAR dealt William Byron a big blow Tuesday, penalizing the Hendrick Motorsports driver 25 “driver and owner points” for spinning Denny Hamlin under caution in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
NASCAR’s penalty for rough driving includes a $50,000 fine for Byron.
The penalty completely changes Byron’s championship outlook. He had been third in the NASCAR Playoffs standings, 17 points above the cutoff line to advance to the next round. Now, he’s 10th out of 12 drivers, and eight points below the cutoff line with two races remaining in the Round of 12.
The incident in question happened under caution, as Byron intentionally bumped Hamlin in retaliation for earlier contact between the two drivers.
Here's a look at what happened between @WilliamByron and @dennyhamlin. #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/UgPH2EIiNd
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 26, 2022
Hamlin spun out and finished 10th in the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500, three spots behind Byron.
Hamlin vowed payback after the race, saying, “I’ll just add it to the list of guys when I get a chance, they’re going to get it,” he said.
Byron did not apologize after the race, saying only that he had not intended to spin Hamlin. But he felt justified in bumping him after the earlier incident.
“I’m pissed off, just not going to get run like that,” Byron said.
NASCAR says it did not penalize Byron during the race because officials did not see the incident. That oversight did not sit well with many observers. Rival Cup Series driver Kyle Busch tweeted, “No penalty for this?! Depends on who you are I see.”
No penalty for this?! Depends on who you are I see 🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/dIrt6x4Lfk
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) September 26, 2022
NASCAR also announced Tuesday it had fined part-time NASCAR Cup Series driver Ty Gibbs $75,000 for veering his car into Ty Dillon’s car on pit road at Texas.