William Byron is back above the cut line in the NASCAR playoffs after an appeals panel adjusted his penalty for intentionally hitting Denny Hamlin under caution at Texas. NASCAR initially docked Byron 25 points and fined him 50 thousand dollars. But the National Motorsports Appeals Panel rescinded the points penalty while extending the financial penalty. In the end, the decision bolsters Byron’s hopes of advancing to the Round of Eight.
When the week began, Byron was sitting tenth in points needing a win or, at least, an amazing performance to advance in the playoffs. The decision to change his penalty moves him three spots higher to seventh in the points standings. Now, Byron just needs to hold serve to continue advancing in the playoffs. The most negatively affected driver is Chase Briscoe who falls out of the top eight at the moment. We’ll see on Sunday how the Charlotte Roval affects the playoff standings before the bottom four are cut.
WILLIAM BYRON DESERVED A PUNISHMENT
As of right now, the panel has not released why it decided to adjust the penalty, but it’s definitely a controversial decision. Byron admitted to intentionally hitting Hamlin under caution but insists that he was only trying to bump him to show his displeasure not wreck him. While that’s possible, intentionally bumping someone in a way that leads to a wreck should still be punished and NASCAR drivers aren’t hurting for money so a point penalty is warranted. But, at the same time, 25 points under the current format feels a bit excessive. I think they should’ve reduced the points penalty to ten points instead of wiping it out completely.
If Byron has a poor performance at the Charlotte Roval, this could be a moot point. It’s still possible for him to not advance in the playoffs. At the same time, if Byron wins Sunday, it’s also a moot point because he will clinch a spot automatically. Anything in between will certainly lead to backlash from Hendrick haters while making Hendrick fans very happy. Personally, I like Byron as a driver, but he definitely deserved a punishment for his actions. That being said, I want to see him win on Sunday. I want to see him advance without as much controversy as this decision is sure to bring.
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