NASCAR penalizes William Byron for spinning Denny Hamlin

NASCAR has docked William Byron 25 points and fined him $50,000 for spinning Denny Hamlin under caution in last weekend’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Byron drops from third in the playoff standings to below the cut heading into Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC)

Chase Briscoe moves up to hold the final transfer spot with 3,041 points. Austin Cindric is the top driver outside of transition with 3,034 points. Byron is next at 3,033 points.

Hendrick Motorsports also closed out 25 owner points.

The caution came out at Lap 269 for Martin Truex Jr.’s crash. As Hamlin slowed, Byron closed in and hit him in the rear.

Byron admitted after the race that the contact was intentional, although he did not mean to destroy Hamlin. Byron was upset with the way Hamlin raced him on Lap 262. Byron felt that Hamlin forced him into the wall as they exited Turn 2 side by side. Byron expressed his displeasure during the warning.

“I felt like he ran me off the track from (Turn) 2 and had a really hard contact with the wall,” Byron said. “I felt like the toe joint was definitely bent, luckily it wasn’t completely broken. We were able to continue.

“A lot of times that kind of damage will ruin a race, especially one that hard. I totally understand running close and making a little bit of contact, but that was huge.”

Regarding the revenge attack, Byron said: “I didn’t mean to turn it around. I certainly didn’t intend to do that. I meant to hit him a little and show my displeasure and unfortunately, it happened as it happened. Of course, when it was spinning out, I was like ‘I didn’t mean to do this,’ but I was definitely frustrated.”

Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart argued and questioned NASCAR for not putting Hamlin back in second place – where he was before Byron hit him – and also questioned the fact that Byron was not penalized.

“I think we can destroy each other under caution,” Hamlin said after the race.

Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, told reporters after the race that league officials did not penalize Byron because they did not see the incident.

“When we were in the tower, we were paying more attention to the real cause of the warning up there and sending our equipment,” Miller said. “The William Byron-Denny Hamlin thing, we had no idea. We saw Denny going through the grass.

“By the time we got a replay that showed the incident well enough to do anything with, we were back in the green.”

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