William Byron has been penalized 25 points for his intentional spin of Denny Hamlin during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Byron spun Hamlin under caution with less than 75 laps to go after Martin Truex Jr.’s crash. Byron was upset with the way Hamlin had raced him under green a few laps earlier and sent Hamlin’s car into the grass. Byron wasn’t penalized during the race because NASCAR admitted Sunday night that, somehow, no official in race control had seen what Byron did in real-time even though NBC had shown multiple replays of the incident and NASCAR's social media team had posted a clip to Twitter.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 26, 2022
The 25-point penalty drops Byron from third in the playoff standings to 11th and 38 points behind points leader Joey Logano. Byron finished seventh on Sunday night while Hamlin came back to finish 10th. In addition to not penalizing Byron, NASCAR didn’t give Hamlin his spot back in the top five after he got dumped because no one apparently saw the incident.
NASCAR’s inability to see Byron’s actions also results in a penalty that’s more severe than if he had been parked for the rest of the race following his spin of Hamlin. Had Byron been forced to stop racing he would have finished 30th and scored 20 points thanks to his third-place finish in the first stage and his sixth-place finish in the second stage. Byron scored 43 points on Sunday — a parking would have been an effective 23-point loss.
While that difference between getting parked and Tuesday’s penalty may only be two points, those could be two very critical points. There are just two races left in the second round of the playoffs and each spot on track is worth a point. The top eight drivers among the 12 remaining in the playoffs move on to the third round. As of now, Byron is 12 points outside the top eight.
Byron was also fined $50,000 for his actions. Hendrick Motorsports has said its appealing the penalty.
Ty Gibbs penalized for pit road slam
Byron wasn’t the only driver penalized Tuesday afternoon for what he did at Texas. Ty Gibbs and the No. 23 team from 23XI Racing were also docked 25 points for Gibbs’ door slam of Ty Dillon on pit road during Sunday’s race.
Ty Gibbs almost door-slammed Ty Dillon into a pit stall after Dillon got too close to him on pit road pic.twitter.com/vf3AMF9aYV
— Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) September 26, 2022
While Byron’s penalty is stronger than it could have been if he were penalized on Sunday, Gibbs’ penalty is rather weak given that he’s ineligible to compete for Cup Series points and the No. 23 team is not currently part of the playoffs. Gibbs is in the No. 23 car because he’s subbing for the injured Kurt Busch. And since he’s competing for the Xfinity Series title, he can’t accrue driver points in the Cup Series.