By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR has penalized William Byron and Ty Gibbs after Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500.
Byron was fined $50,000, and he and his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team were docked 25 driver and owner points as a result of Byron hitting Denny Hamlin under caution during the Texas race. The contact sent Hamlin into a spin and out of his position in the running order.
Hamlin was not put back in his original position before the race restarted. NASCAR officials later said that was because they didn’t notice the contact from Byron that Byron claimed was retaliation for an earlier incident.
Byron admitted the contact was intentional but said he didn’t mean for Hamlin to spin out.
“I’m pissed off; just not going to get run like that,” Byron said.
Hendrick Motorsports plans to appeal the penalty. The points reduction dropped Byron from third to 10th in the points standings among the 12th remaining playoff drivers with two races remaining before the next elimination of four drivers from championship contention.
Gibbs, meanwhile, was fined $75,000 for hitting Ty Dillon’s car on pit road. His fine was larger than Byron’s because the Gibbs incident put pit-crew members and officials working on pit road in danger. Gibbs is not collecting points in the Cup Series, but his No. 23 team of 23XI Racing, co-owned by Hamlin, was docked 25 owner points.
“I want to apologize for what happened on pit road Sunday,” Gibbs said in a statement released on social media. “I have to have a better understanding of the situation and my surroundings. I’m thankful no one was injured and will learn from it.”
NASCAR’s penalty announcement Tuesday also included the indefinite suspension of Patrick Brody for violation of the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. He is listed as a mechanic for Our Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.