The National Motorsports Appeals Panel amended the points penalty issued to Playoff contender William Byron and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team following his on-track incident with Playoff rival Denny Hamlin at Texas Motor Speedway this past September.
The incident at Texas occurred with 66 laps remaining when Martin Truex Jr., Hamlin’s teammate, drew a caution after wrecking while leading the event. During the caution period, Byron, who was irritated from being bumped by Hamlin and making contact with the backstretch wall while competing for a top-five spot earlier, bumped and sent Hamlin spinning sideways across the frontstretch. Following the spin, Hamlin pulled his car alongside Byron’s to express his displeasure but was not permitted to retain his spot towards the front prior to the spin. Byron, who characterized the incident as intentional without the intent of spinning Hamlin, went on to finish seventh while Hamlin fell back to 10th.
Prior to the amendment, Byron was fined $50,000 and docked 25 driver/owner points for violating sections pertaining to NASCAR’s Member Code of Conduct from the NASCAR Rulebook. With the amendment from the appeals panel that included Hunter Nickell, Dale Pinilis and Kevin Whitaker, the 24-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, was re-awarded his 25 docked points despite his fine being increased to $100,000.
With his points rescinded, Byron, who initially left this past weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway in 10th place in the Playoff standings and 11 points below the top-eight cutline to transfer into the Round of 8, has leaped to seventh place in the standings and is 14 points above the cutline. He now looks to secure a spot in the Round of 8 by competing in this weekend’s Bank of America Roval 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, which will mark the conclusion of the Round of 12 and eliminate the bottom four competitors in the standings from Playoff contention.
Byron’s points being rescinded means that Daniel Suarez holds the eighth and final transfer spot to the Round of 8 entering this weekend’s event at Charlotte. He has a 12-point advantage over both Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe while Christopher Bell trails by 45 points. Alex Bowman, Byron’s teammate, trails the cutline by 66 points, but has been ruled out of the event and faces elimination from the Playoffs while recovering from concussion-like symptoms stemming from his wreck at Texas in September. Noah Gragson is set to pilot Bowman’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for a second consecutive weekend.
The Bank of America Roval 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course is set to occur on Sunday, October 9, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.