Chase Briscoe Has a More Legitimate Gripe Than Denny Hamlin Over a Crucial Decision

Hate on Denny Hamlin all you want – and plenty of racing fans do precisely that – but the driver of the No. 11 Toyota had a fair beef about how NASCAR handled William Byron pushing him off the road at Texas Motor Speedway. Well, Chase Briscoe has an even better case.

What transpired two weeks ago cost Hamlin a few points, but he only needs an average day on the Charlotte Roval to advance to the Cup Series semifinals. On the other hand, this week’s developments dropped Briscoe below the cut line.

Briscoe isn’t happy, but his gripe isn’t with Byron.

William Byron has moved back in front of Chase Briscoe

Chase Briscoe walks onstage during driver intros for the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 26, 2022. | Logan Riely/Getty Images
Chase Briscoe walks onstage during driver intros for the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 26, 2022. | Logan Riely/Getty Images

Cup Series fans are familiar with what transpired between playoff participants William Byron and Denny Hamlin two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR officials said they didn’t catch the replay of Byron spinning Hamlin onto the infield until it was too late to address it in real time.

That dropped Hamlin from the top five to deep in the pack on the restart. Though the driver of the FedEx Toyota battled back to 10th place at the finish, he likely lost some places and points because NASCAR didn’t restore him to the proper place on the grid for the restart.

However, Hamlin logged fifth place last week at Talladega to pile up more points. Consequently, he’ll compete Sunday on the Charlotte Roval with a cushion of 21 points over Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric, the first two drivers under the cut line.

Chase Briscoe lost big when William Byron won his appeal

NASCAR acted well after the fact in penalizing William Byron for the incident with Denny Hamlin. The $50,000 fine hurt, but the 25-point penalty hurt more because it dropped Byron from seventh to 10th in the standings and left him 11 points below the cutline.

It also had the effect of moving Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric up a notch, tied for the final transfer spot into the round of eight.

However, that went out the window Thursday when the National Motorsports Appeals Panel ruled in favor of Byron and Hendrick Motorsports in their appeal of the penalty. Though the tribunal doubled Byron’s fine to $100,000, the ruling also wiped out the points penalty. That leaves Briscoe with a lot of work to do Sunday if he wants to continue advancing through the playoffs, and he’s not happy.

But Briscoe is the first to say his beef isn’t with Byron.

The timing of the appeal wasn’t good

More than a week lapsed between Hendrick Motorsports filing its appeal and the National Motorsports Appeals Panel siding with William Byron by reversing the points penalty. In the interim, the Cup Series moved to Talladega for the playoff race Chase Elliott won last weekend in an exciting finish.

Briscoe finished in 10th place and just seventh among the 12 playoff drivers. He picked up 27 points for the finish and one additional point for finishing 10th in the second stage. He certainly could have done better.

“I respect the appeal process,” Briscoe said this week. “I think it’s something that we need. But there is, I think, zero reason why we should ever run a race in the playoffs with an appeal (pending).”

There’s no doubt that NASCAR would have expedited the hearing had Talladega been an elimination race. However, it treated this case the way it handled various appeals during the regular season by allowing a race to be run in the interim.

“It wouldn’t have bothered me if I would have known he got those 25 points before we went to Talladega,” Briscoe said. “But it was the fact I raced Talladega totally different, thinking I was in a totally different points situation than what I’m in now. And that’s the really frustrating part for me.

“I literally bailed in the first stage where I probably could have got four or five playoff points and I just decided not to even race because I thought I was to the good at that point. So, that’s the thing I think we have to do better.”

Like Sportscasting on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @sportscasting19 and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Got a question or observation about racing? Sportscasting’s John Moriello does a mailbag column each Friday. Write to him at [email protected]

RELATED: William Byron Redux: Getting Penalties Right Has Been Job 1.01 at NASCAR