NASCAR punishes William Byron for flirting with Denny Hamlin

NASCAR admits it never saw William Byron spin Denny Hamlin Being cautious during Sunday’s Cup knockout race is worrisome.

With video evidence of irregularities and the Hamlin team arguing vigorously for relief, there were enough reasons for series officials to take a closer look at putting Hamlin back in second place before the race returns to green flag conditions. or other treatment even after the race has resumed.

Add the lack of camera chain officials’ access to Byron’s in-car camera – Something that fans can easily see on NASCAR.com and the NASCAR Mobile App Changes must be made before this weekend’s knockout race at the Talladega Superspeedway.

While NASCAR should do its best to judge matters between drivers regardless of their qualifying status, this was two playoff drivers involved in an accident that requires more attention. With three races per round, one misstep can mean the difference between progression or elimination.

Just as it is expected of drivers and teams in qualifying, the same should be expected of officials.

“If we see that (the communication) is good enough to respond to in real time, which we should have, like no excuse there, there are likely two courses of action,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR vice president of competition. Sunday night. “One would have brought Hamlin back to where he was, or the other would have made William start in the back.”

Here is how the accident happened:

Warning board in Lap 269 for Martin Truex Jr.At 8:19 p.m. ET.

When Hamlin slowed, Byron closed and hit him in the stern.

Byron admitted after the race that the call was intentional, though he didn’t mean to destroy Hamlin. Byron was upset with the way Hamlin raced with him on lap 262. Byron felt that Hamlin forced him into the wall when they came out of Turn 2 side by side. Byron expressed his displeasure during the warning.

About 90 seconds after the warning lights went on, US broadcasts showed the low-angle restart of Byron directly behind Hamlin’s car and clear communication.

Communication can occur in multiple ways. It can come from the front car hitting the brakes and forcing the car behind to hit it, or it can come from the back car hitting the car in front of you. The first video replay did not explain the reason for the connection, which made it difficult for any official to judge one way or another based solely on that.

This was also a time when NASCAR officials were keeping an eye on the safety cars on the track, checking the lineup and making sure the pit road was ready to be open. It’s something NASCAR does with ease most of the time. Just not this time.

A different replay was broadcast on USA 11 minutes later, 16 seconds after the warning that showed Byron and Hamlin’s car together. This replay aired one minute before the green flag was waved at 8:31 p.m. ET. During the alert period, Hamlin’s chief of staff, Chris Gaphart, argued that Hamlin should have resumed in second place.

But once racing resumed, it was over for NASCAR. Or so it seemed.

Three minutes after waving the green flag, the NASCAR Twitter account posted an in-car video that showed Byron running in the back of Hamlin’s car while the warning was out. Such an action is usually a penalty – often stopping the driver for the remainder of the race. Instead, Byron was allowed to continue and nothing was done during the remainder of the event.

After the race, Miller told reporters that chain officials had not seen the call from Byron.

“The cameras and monitors that we have, we mostly dedicate to managing and seeing our safety vehicles and how they are dispatched,” Miller said. “By the time we had all these cameras (on the monitor in the control tower), we didn’t have room for all the cameras in the car to watch.

“If we had immediate access to the (Byron) camera inside the car, it would have helped us a lot, to be able to find that quickly. That is definitely one of the things we are looking at.”

But it didn’t happen that way.

“By the time we got a replay that showed the accident good enough to do anything for it, we were back on the green,” Miller said.

NASCAR did not act. By then it might have been too late to do so. But this is also a problem. Shouldn’t the offense be dealt with immediately if it becomes clear what happened instead of days? Shouldn’t the officials have had access to the cameras in the car so that they could see Byron’s actions earlier and impose the appropriate punishment? Instead, Miller hinted at a possible penalty for Byron this week.

Miller didn’t reveal the details but it wouldn’t be surprising to drop Byron on the field, which costs him points. He’s 24 points off the cutoff line, so a penalty dropping him from 7th to 30th (the place before Truex) would make sense and it would cost Byron 23 points, putting him below the cutoff line.

Winner from Texas Tyler Riddick He said something had to be done. he knows. He was stopped at the 2014 truck race in Pocono to smash German Quiroga In retaliation for an earlier accident.

“In William’s case, whether he ran over him by accident or on purpose, there must be some sort of punishment for him in that aspect for having completely spoiled someone’s race, whether on purpose or not,” Riddick said. “I feel like something has to be done there.

“I’m sure (NASCAR) will make some kind of decision. I’m sure there will be something they’ll take up this week, updates, on the part of NASCAR. I’d be curious what that is. We can’t really have this where you get rid of someone under caution. , they go back and you don’t. This might be an interesting situation in the future.”

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