Crew chief Chad Knaus reacts as crew members work on the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson after NASCAR confiscated C-posts due to a modification violation in an initial inspection
Getty Images for NASCAR
Jimmie Johnson said he hopes that the fact NASCAR allowed Hendrick Motorsports to fix the car that failed inspection and that crew chief Chad Knaus was not ejected is a sign that the violations found Friday are not too severe.
“I’m not sure what Tuesday after the 500 holds,” Johnson, a five-time Cup champion, said. “They’re letting us work on the car. Things seem OK. They just want the C-posts to be changed and to be put back to the other specs.
“We’ve done that and we’ll see what Tuesday holds. I don’t know if I’m reading it incorrectly, but if they’re really mad, Chad wouldn’t be here. The car would be impounded. They’re letting us work on it. I’m hoping that’s a good sign.”
Knaus has been suspended twice by NASCAR – in 2006 and 2007 – and even missed the Daytona 500 won by Johnson in 2006 because he had been ejected from the track earlier in the weekend.
“It certainly isn’t the way you want to start the week,” Johnson said. “The tech process is there to find these things. A lot of people were working on their race cars up and down through the garage area.
“The fact that we haven’t been on track yet is an important thing to remember. We had to work on our car, and we will. It is not how we wanted to start the week, especially with so much attention being drawn to it. But it’s something that won’t slow us down and we’ll still have a great shot to win the 500.”
02/17/12 Crew chief Chad Knaus and other members of five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson's Daytona 500 team face possible suspensions after NASCAR said it found modifications on the rear quarter panel of Johnson's #48 Chevy. The C-posts -- pillars that come down from the roof to the quarter panel -- were confiscated by NASCAR on Friday after going through an initial inspection for the 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said the changes were a major violation of NASCAR's policy banning alterations to the series' template. "Suspensions are not out of the realm of possibility," Darby said.
But Darby also said that it's unlikely team members will be banned from the race, because the apparent violation was found so early. "The team will be allowed to fix the car,'' Darby said. Darby said penalties could come as early as next week, but NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp said sanctions are unlikely until after the February 26 race. "They found some things they didn't like and they asked us to remove them,'' Knaus said Friday. "We'll get the car fixed up and ready to qualify.'' Asked if he knew there was a chance the car was out of compliance before arriving at Daytona, Knaus said, "I haven't had a chance to take a good look at it yet. I know they just asked us to remove the parts, so we did. We've got to dig into it. It's been a hectic day.' ' Ken Howes, Hendrick Motorsports' vice president for competition, said he expects the rebuilt car will be ready for practice on Saturday and qualifying on Sunday. "A helluva way to start the 2012 season,'' he said. Asked if this was an intentional attempt by the #48 team to bend the rules, Howes said, "That's a difficult way to put it. You work within the templates the best way you think. Obviously, you're trying to do a better job than the next guy. NASCAR said it wasn't right, so it's not right. We don't have an argument with that.'' Howes said manipulating the C-post creates an aerodynamic advantage, and that individual teams are allowed to work in that area. The other three Hendrick Motorsports cars did not fail inspection. ESPN
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