Denny Hamlin sits in his car during practice for the 2022 Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Denny Hamlin Doesn't Believe That NASCAR Officials Missed the William Byron Incident

Well, it looks like Ross Chastain can rest easy (for now), because Denny Hamlin went and found himself another rival in William Byron.

It all started when Martin Truex Jr., who was leading the race at Texas Motor Speedway, blew a tire and crashed in Turn 3 on Lap 269 of the 334-lap Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. This brought out a caution period, but the last thing Byron wanted to do at this point was show caution.

In retaliation for Hamlin running him into the wall earlier in the race, Byron spun out the driver of the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, sending him into the infield grass.

Afterwards, both Hamlin and Byron gave their sides of the story.

"I didn't mean to spin him out," Byron said. "That definitely wasn't what I intended to do. I meant to bump him a little bit and show my displeasure and unfortunately, it happened the way it did. Obviously, when he was spinning out, I was like 'I didn't mean to do this,' but I was definitely frustrated."

Hamlin saw it as nothing more than an intentional wreck.

"I guess we can just wreck each other under caution," Hamlin said. "I tried to wreck him back. I don't think we touched. I've got to look. I don't think we touched. Obviously he sent us through the infield under caution."

As for where he stands for Byron, Hamlin made it clear that he'll be looking for revenge, saying that whenever he gets a chance, Byron is "going to get it."

Now, Hamlin, like pretty much everyone who saw the incident go down, expected Byron to be penalized for the intentional spin. Instead, Hamlin was knocked down 17 spots during the restart (from second to 19th due to the contact from Byron), while Byron restarted in 10th after pitting. In an post-race interview with reporters, Scott Miller, NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Competition, claims that officials were not immediately aware of Byron's actions, and therefore didn't penalize him.

"I'll have to be honest with you, when we were in the [race control] tower we were paying more attention to the actual cause of the caution and dispatching our equipment," Miller said. "The William Byron/Denny Hamlin thing we had no eyes on, we saw Denny go through the grass, and by the time we got to a replay that showed the incident well enough to do anything to it, we'd already gone back to green. I'm not sure that that issue is completely resolved as of yet, so we'll be looking at that when we get back to work."

Miller went on to elaborate how NASCAR officials realistically could've missed the incident in the first place, saying, "The cameras and the monitors that we've got, we dedicate them mostly to officiating and seeing our safety vehicles and how to dispatch them."

"By the time we put all those cameras up [on the monitor in the control tower], we don't have room for all of the in-car cameras to be monitored. If we would have had immediate access to [Byron's] in-car camera, that would have helped us a lot, being able to find that quickly. That's definitely one of the things we're looking at."

Hamlin was made aware of Miller's comments thanks to a tweet from reporter Jeff Gluck. Denny's response? "They missed it? What a f*#k joke. It played on the screen 5 times during caution."

Gluck responded, "He said if they'd seen it they would have either given your spot back or sent Byron to the back. He said they should have had eyes on it." Yet, Hamlin still found it hard to believe that officials could miss something so blatantly obvious.

"We were on the radio yelling at them what happened," Hamlin tweeted back. "I challenged my spot. What are they doing up there then?"

When it was all said and done at Texas, Byron finished seventh, putting him third in the playoff standings and 17 points above the cutline. On the other hand, Hamlin 10th-place finish means that he's sixth in the playoff standings and eight points above the cutline.

NASCAR is heading to Talladega this weekend, which means we can expect two things: 1) absolute chaos and 2) Denny Hamlin gunning for revenge.

MORE: Denny Hamlin's Pocono Disqualification Brings to Mind an Incident That Happened 60+ Years Ago