The National Motorsports Appeals Panel amended a penalty assessed by NASCAR to William Byron on Thursday, overturning a 25-point penalty that Byron incurred for intentionally spinning out Denny Hamlin under caution two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway. Byron's points are now restored, but his fine for spinning Hamlin has been doubled from $50,000 to $100,000.
After being run up the track and into the wall by Hamlin while the two were racing for second at Texas, Byron retaliated as the field was slowing down for a caution, running into Hamlin's rear bumper and spinning him into the infield grass. Byron was later docked 25 driver and owner points for his actions, a penalty Hendrick Motorsports chose to appeal shortly after it was handed down.
Byron's appeal was heard by a three-member panel that included Hunter Nickell, Dale Pinilis and Kevin Whitaker.
"We accept today's decision and thank the members of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel for their time and effort," read a statement by Hendrick Motorsports.
The overturn of Byron's points penalty has massive implications for the NASCAR Playoffs, as Byron goes from below the cutoff line entering the final race of the Round of 12 to comfortably above it. Byron goes from 10th in the standings and 11 points below the cutoff line to seventh and 14 points above the cut line, putting Daniel Suarez (+12) on the playoff bubble and knocking both Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric (both -12) below the cut line.
This marks the second time since September that the National Motorsports Appeals Panel has altered or reversed a NASCAR penalty. In September,for an irregularity in the intake manifold of their race-winning engine at Daytona, putting Clements and his race team back in the Xfinity Series Playoffs after it was ruled the irregularity did not give Clements a performance advantage.