NASCAR hammers Gordon, Johnson
SONOMA, Calif. -- Nextel Cup Series points leader Jeff Gordon and defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, both of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, have failed inspection at Infineon Raceway.
The cars of neither Gordon, the defending race champion, nor Johnson will be allowed to practice or qualify Friday.
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said both cars "failed the initial inspection ... as a result of body modifications found to be outside NASCAR tolerances. The front fender [of both cars] was modified outside of NASCAR regulations. They did not meet the C2 template inspection."
According to Poston, Hendrick Motorsports' No. 5 and No. 25 cars, for Kyle Busch and Casey Mears, passed inspections.
Poston added, "both teams have an opportunity to repair and resubmit their cars" for inspection up to the start of practice Saturday. "Assuming they pass inspection, they can practice [Saturday] and start at the rear of the field [Sunday]," he said.
"It's important to know this is a Car of Tomorrow penalty," Poston said of the short-term severity of the sanction. "The inspection process and NASCAR's response to Car of Tomorrow violations are going to be more severe.
"We're going to keep this car in check. It's important to know all cars in the field are starting out equal and have the ability to win the race."
Poston said both teams' crew chiefs, Steve Letarte on the No. 24 and Chad Knaus on the No. 48, would be allowed to supervise the repairs, and at this point, NASCAR had no plans to immediately confiscate the cars.
The decision on further penalties would be made next week, Poston said. NASCAR.com