Of course Hendrick/Knaus lose appeal with NASCAR
Hendrick Motorsports lost its appeal Tuesday for illegal C-posts on the Daytona 500 car of five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, but team owner Rick Hendrick isn’t willing to give up the fight.
Hendrick plans to make one last-ditch effort to keep Johnson crew chief Chad Knaus atop the pit box and to regain the points the team lost as part of the penalties.
"I don't accept it," Hendrick said after learning of the decision. "Period.”
Citing rules for illegal aerodynamic modifications relating to the contour of the car, NASCAR suspended Knaus and car chief Ron Malec for six races, docked Johnson 25 points and fined Knaus $100,000 for the C-posts of the Hendrick car submitted Feb. 17 for Daytona 500 opening-day inspection. Jeff Gordon, listed as the team owner, was also docked 25 owner points.
A three-member appeals panel of former Goodyear executive Leo Mehl, former USAC Chairman John Capels and Bowman Gray (Winston Salem, N.C.) Stadium operator Dale Pinilis upheld the penalties.
Hendrick said he will appeal this decision to NASCAR's Chief Appellate Officer, former General Motors executive John Middlebrook. He will also ask that the suspensions be deferred until after Middlebrook rules. That hearing with Middlebrook will likely be next week and definitely won’t occur before this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The team has indicated that it based its appeal on several factors, including that the C-posts had passed inspection in the past and that a template was never put on the car. C-posts are the parts of the car that run from the roof to the top of the rear quarter panel and decklid.
NASCAR officials have said that the violation was for alterations of the body outside the templates. NASCAR declined a request for NASCAR executives to comment on the decision Tuesday.
“We’re disappointed the outcome was the way it was,” Hendrick said Tuesday outside NASCAR’s competition headquarters in North Carolina. “We’re going to go ahead to the next level and present our case one more time.
“I stand firmly behind our guys.”
Hendrick would not discuss Tuesday what he argued in front of the panel.
“It’s best that I just wait until we go through all the processes [before talking about our argument],” Hendrick said. “There is nothing for me to talk about that you don’t already know.”
The appeals panel typically has upheld penalties. Since November 1999, it has heard 146 appeals, upholding penalties in 102 cases, reducing penalties in 31, overturning penalties in 11 and increasing penalties twice. Since 2010, it has reduced only one penalty in 11 appeals in the three NASCAR national series.
“Upon hearing the testimony, carefully reviewing the facts and historically comparative penalties, the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel was to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR,” the three members said in a statement.
Hendrick was successful in having a Knaus suspension rescinded in 2005 but since then, Knaus has been suspended a total of 10 weeks – four weeks in 2006 and six weeks in 2007. Scenedaily.com