William Byron reached out to Brad Keselowski on Thursday night to talk about their incident in final practice, and while he heard Keselowski’s stance, Byron still thinks what happened was unnecessary.
“It would have been more professional to just come talk to me about what was wrong instead of tearing up a race car and make my guys have to bring out a backup and have to work all the way through last night, and show up early this morning and have to work even more,” said Byron. “I don’t think that’s the way to handle it, so that’s kind of the unnecessary part for me that I don’t appreciate.
“I wanted to talk to him because I felt like he probably didn’t expect me to talk to him and I need to talk to him about things like that, need to hear where he’s coming from so I don’t draw my own conclusion, which probably isn’t going to be a good one. So yeah, I think it’s important. Guys don’t talk enough to people nowadays, and we need to handle a thing like that more often.”
Even though Byron said he’s watched a replay of the incident a “couple of times”, his view hasn’t changed.
Byron and Keselowski were drafting at the front of a small pack when Keselowski tagged the left rear of Byron’s car. When Byron got out of shape and came back up the track, Keselowski also got into the right rear. Byron will be in a backup car for the rest of the weekend.
The 2012 Cup Series champion was already irked with Byron – and others – he views as throwing bad blocks, and felt he needed to send a message.
“I just had a big run and he put me in a position where I had to lift, and I keep telling these guys I’m not lifting,” Keselowski told the NBCSN television crew. “I hate it for his team, and they got to work on their car and so do ours, but just trying to send a message: I’m not lifting.”
Even with further explanation from Keselowski, Byron still isn’t sure where he was coming from.
“I don’t know,” Byron said. “I’ve seen guys block four lanes down the backstretch and I feel like that’s definitely a reason to get crashed, but I was running in the lower middle part of the track and I entered the bottom of (Turns) 3 and 4 and the only reason I wasn’t completely on the line was because I got a little bit of bump from him initially and tried to keep the wheel straight to not turn myself. So, I don’t know. I’m going to kind of reserve my thoughts on that and go race, and try to learn from it for sure.
“I’m going to race how people race me, and I still kind of hold my opinion of, if I had done something egregiously wrong on the racetrack, I would feel not accepting of it, but I would understand why I got crashed. But I just didn’t really understand it, so that’s my opinion.”