NASCAR came down hard on two drivers in the Cup series after last week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.
William Byron was fined $50,000 and given a 25-point penalty in both the driver and team owner standings for bumping Denny Hamlin under caution late in Sunday’s race.
Hamlin and Byron tangled while racing for position with Hamlin putting Byron into the wall. Under an ensuing caution shortly after, Byron spun Hamlin out on the frontstretch.
“It was really, really hard contact,” Byron said. “It wasn’t like just a light contact or anything like that. Yeah, I didn’t mean to obviously spin him out over there. Obviously, I’m pissed off, just not going to get run like that.”
Hamlin was none too happy about the contact under caution which sent his Toyota spinning into the frontstretch ballfield.
“I mean, you know, I keep hearing these guys,” he said. “I’ll just add it to the list of guys when I get a chance. They’re going to get it.”
NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition Scott Miller told assembled media at Texas after the race that officials missed the incident under caution.
“When we were in the tower, we were paying more attention to the actual cause of the caution up there and dispatching our equipment,” Miller said. “The William Byron Denny Hamlin thing we had no eyes on.
“We saw Denny go through the grass and by the time we got to a replay that showed the incident well enough to do anything to it, we’d gone back to green, but I’m not sure that that issue is completely resolved as of yet. So, we’ll be looking at we’ll be looking at that when we get back to work.”
“You know, if we had seen that good enough to react to it real time, which, which we should have, like no excuse there,” Miller added. “There would probably have been two courses of action. One would’ve been to put Hamlin back where he was, or the other would be to have made Williams start in the back.”
Byron was third in the Cup Series Playoffs with a 17-point cushion above the elimination line before the penalty. He’ll now enter Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway ranked 10th out of the 12-remaining title-eligible drivers and eight points below the provisional elimination line. Two races are left in the Round of 12 – Sunday at Talladega and Oct. 9 at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course.
Gibbs, in his 10th Cup Series start for 23XI Racing in place of the injured Kurt Busch, was fined $75,000 for veering into the No. 42 Petty GMS Chevrolet of Ty Dillon on pit road. That aggressive contact came in close proximity to pit-crew personnel and NASCAR officials working in a nearby pit stall.
Gibbs, 19, was not issued a points penalty since he is a Xfinity Series regular who does not collect Cup Series points. But his No. 23 Toyota team was handed a 25-point deduction in the owner standings.
It’s the second time this year that Gibbs has been penalized for unsafe driving on pit road. He was fined $15,000 for making contact with Sam Mayer’s car in the pits after an Xfinity Series race at Martinsville in April. That retaliation led to post-race fisticuffs between the two drivers.
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