William Byron is back above the NASCAR Cup Series playoff grid cutline going into Sunday’s race after the National Motorsports Appeals Panel amended his penalty from Texas.
Byron’s fine was increased from $50,000 to $100,000, but his points penalty was wiped away. The original penalty for hitting Denny Hamlin, resulting in the Joe Gibbs Racing driver spinning under caution at Texas Motor Speedway, was a 25-point loss.
Byron admitted he wanted to send Hamlin a message but denied intentionally trying to spin him. The Sept. 25 race was the first race in the round of 12, and Byron was upset with Hamlin for their close-quarter racing off Turn 2 a few laps earlier, which resulted in Byron bouncing off the wall.
With Thursday’s ruling, Byron goes from below the cutline by 11 points to seventh on the grid and has a 14-point advantage. Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval is an elimination race.
The Appeals Panel members were Hunter Nickell, Dale Pinilis, and Kevin Whitaker.
The updated playoff grid:
1. Chase Elliott (win)
2. Ryan Blaney +32
3. Ross Chastain +28
4. Denny Hamlin +21
5. Joey Logano +18
6. Kyle Larson +18
7. William Byron +14
8. Daniel Suarez +12
9. Chase Briscoe -12
10. Austin Cindric -12
11. Christopher Bell -45
12. Alex Bowman (will not race)