Hendrick says NASCAR drivers don’t cut his rookie driver ‘any slack’ and Byron needs to ‘come back’
Fireworks exploded in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International. Kyle Busch and William Byron were in a battle for 2nd at the start of lap two.
Busch looked to his inside, Byron likely pinched him down off the exit of the corner. Busch went around in front of the field. He made a full loop and avoided further contact. He continued in the 10th position, with some extra tear wear.
Busch was under the impression he was wrecked on lap two of the race. It took the entirety of stage one, but Busch caught the back bumper of Byron.
In the final lap of stage one, Busch had reached the back bumper of Byron. He lined him up into the bus stop corner and locked onto his rear bumper.
Busch pushed Byron into the corner and left him no chance of making the turn. Byron instead cut the grass and clogged his grill with the shavings.
Chad Knaus came on the radio, “If I see that #18 come back around here without you knocking the **** out of him… We’re going to have a problem,” Chad Knaus stated to his driver over the team radio.
Byron completed the rest of the lap and stage one. After the checkered, he ran down Kyle Busch in turn two. This time, Byron lined Busch in his scope.
And Busch slammed on the brakes! Byron plowed into the back of Busch and caught critically injured nose damage. Busch saw little to no damage.
The retaliation backfired.
Rick Hendrick comments on William Byron’s retaliation
“Well, I think that you have to stand your ground in this sport,” Rick Hendrick stated from the Watkins Glen International media center.
“If you let people push you around, they’re going to push you around. He’s running up front, you know, a front row start and he’s learning.”
“People don’t cut him any slack because he’s a rookie. He needs to let them know that he’ll come back.”
To be clear, Byron isn’t technically a rookie. The 21-year-old is currently in his second full-time season with the MENCS.
Chad Knaus encouraged the retaliation
Crew chief Chad Knaus encouraged the retaliation on Kyle Busch. He told his driver to basically wreck the #18.
“I didn’t know that until someone told me that coming in here,” Hendrick continued.
“Back to what I said, if you let guys push you around. You let them know that you’re not going to let that happen.”
“I think he got the worst end of the deal when Kyle brake checked him and knocked the front end out of the car.”
“Sometimes, in the heat of the battle you want to do things. If you thought about it a little more, maybe you’d just settle down and go finish the race.”
“I didn’t know Chad told him to but if I had a radio, I’d probably tell him the same thing.”