NASCAR will review the incident with Denny Hamlin and William Byron; Possible penalty pending after Texas Motor Speedway
On Sunday, NASCAR visited the 1.55-mile of Texas Motor Speedway. In the final stage of the race, drama ensued between playoff drivers Denny Hamlin and William Byron.
With 73 laps to go, Hamlin and Byron raced side by side for 2nd. They were inches apart exiting turn two. As they fought for space, Byron brushed the outside wall.
Hamlin lifted, evident by the backfire from the exhaust pipes. He lift Byron room off the corner, but Byron still tagged the outside wall.
Just 6 laps later, race leader Martin Truex Jr suffered a flat tire. He spun and tagged the outside wall.
The caution was deployed. Yet, Byron stayed in the throttle pedal. He climbed to the bumper of Hamlin and spun the No. 11 through the infield grass, several seconds after the yellow lights blinked along the catchfence.
It was a clear retaliation.
After Hamlin exited the grass, he passed the field under caution and tried to blend back in the 2nd position. Byron sped up and passed him back.
Hamlin then leaned on the bumper of Byron under the caution laps. It appeared that he tried to spin him out but Byron never spun.
At this time, NASCAR informed Hamlin that he failed to meet minimum speed under the caution. Per those rules, he would be unable to retain the 2nd position.
Hamlin was relegated deeper in the field for the upcoming restart. Byron wasn;t penalized, at the time and maintained the 2nd spot.
Denny Hamlin comments
Denny Hamlin was surprised Byron wasn’t penalized but noted over the team radio moments later, “I’ll give him the penalty if he comes back to me.”
“If you’re going to allow it then I’m just going to get all my teammates to take out all the competition under caution,” Hamlin told Bob Pockrass.
“I guess we can just wreck each other under caution,” Denny Hamlin also told NBC Sports.
”I don’t think we touched, I gotta look, “Hamlin added of the initial incident off turn two.
“It all just works itself out. We’ll be racing each other at some point and he’ll lose a lot of spots because he’s racing me. This is hard racing. I’m fine with hard racing.”
William Byron comments after the contact with Denny Hamlin
“Yeah, he ran me out of room, bent the toe link and we’re lucky we finished,” William Byron told NBC Sports after the race.
“Again, it’s not like it was light contact. I thought we were going to be done.”
Byron noted that the contact under caution was deliberate. However, he stopped short of saying he purposefully spun him.
“Obviously, yeah. I went to go show my displeasure. I didn’t mean to hit him and spin him out.”
We’ll talk, we’ve never had issues, so I didn’t really get it. But, I’m not going to be like, ‘Oh, I don’t normally have issues with this guy, I’m not going to be mad about it.’ It was uncalled for and I feel like we handled it.”
“I was just trying to give him a light tap there, nothing molitious,” Byron later told Bob Pockrass of the incident under the caution. “You see it happened all the time.”
NASCAR reacts to William Byron spinning Denny Hamlin
“When we were in the tower, we were paying more attention to the actual cause of the caution up there and dispatching our equipment,” Scott Miller stated.
“The William Byron, Denny Hamlin thing, we had no eyes on. We say Denny go through the grass. 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 issue is completely resolved as of yet. So, we’ll be looking at that when we get back work.”
“We’re going to work through that,” Miller concluded.
Any penalties would be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday in NASCAR’s weekly penalty report.