William Byron & Denny Hamlin Conflict Takes Over Texas

Denny Hamlin

Getty William Byron (bottom) sent Denny Hamlin (top) spinning through the infield.

There were many wrecks that occurred during a record-setting Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. However, one featuring William Byron and Denny Hamlin created conversations and led to angry comments from members of Joe Gibbs Racing.

The incident occurred under caution after Martin Truex Jr. blew a tire and wrecked from the lead. Byron drove up behind Hamlin and hit him. This contact sent the No. 11 spinning through the infield grass. This seemingly intentional move was in retaliation for Hamlin moving Byron up into the wall earlier in the stage.

Following the contact, Hamlin rejoined the field and went back into his spot in second place. However, NASCAR race control told him to move back to 15th place, which created some frustration with crew chief Chris Gabehart. The emotions turned to anger after NASCAR decided to let Byron keep his spot instead of penalizing him.

“The man wrecks you under caution and he gets no penalty? What are we doing?” Gabehart asked over the radio. The crew chief added that Hamlin was going to win the race if he hadn’t been sent through the grass.

“I guess we can just wreck each other under caution,” Hamlin told NBC Sports’ Kim Coon after the race. “I tried to wreck him back, but it’s just… I don’t think we touched. I gotta look, but I don’t think we touched. Obviously, he sent us through the infield under caution.”


Another Cup Series Driver Voiced His Opinion

William Byron

GettyWilliam Byron (front) finished seventh at Texas Motor Speedway.

“No penalty for this?! Depends on who you are I see,” Kyle Busch tweeted after watching a replay from Byron’s angle. He was one of the many that weighed in about the contact and whether NASCAR should have parked Byron. 

It’s fitting that Busch weighed in about the intentional contact at Texas Motor Speedway. He dealt with his own penalty at the track during the 2011 season, which led to him missing two races.

The incident occurred during the Truck Series season finale at Texas Motor Speedway. Busch intentionally sent Ron Hornaday Jr. into the wall just over 13 laps into the race as retaliation for earlier contact. This incident ended Hornaday’s pursuit of the championship and helped Austin Dillon secure his own title.

NASCAR officials responded to the intentional contact by parking Busch for the remainder of the race. The sanctioning body then issued a statement the following day and announced that Busch had been suspended for the remainder of the weekend. He would not be able to compete in the Nationwide or Cup Series races.

“I ended up losing my cool,” Busch said after receiving the penalty, per FOX News. “I’ve been wrecked four weeks in a row, and finally, I just had enough of it. I’m sorry it was Ron Hornaday, and he’s going after a championship, but the fact of the matter is you can’t place all of the blame on one person to begin with. There were two people that got into it to begin with, and there were two people that ended it.”


Byron Provided His Side of the Story

Byron met with NBC Sports’ Parker Kligerman after the race and provided his side of the story. He said that Hamlin had “run him out of room” and that the contact bent the toe link on the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.

Byron also acknowledged that he had intentionally run into the rear of Hamlin’s No. 11 to show his displeasure. Though he said that he didn’t have the goal of spinning his fellow driver out with the contact.

“I’m just not going to get run like that,” Byron said. “There’s really no reason. I mean, we’re running second and third, I think, and had a shot to win. Killed our car, for sure, so that was a bummer.”

“I’m fine with hard racing, but wrecking me under caution is not what we were bargaining for,” Hamlin said during his post-race interview. Hamlin added that he would add Byron “to the list” of drivers that require some payback from him in the future. He didn’t say whether this would come during the playoffs or in a future season.

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