By admin | February 17, 2012
By Richard Allen
Well, there are may things that might be said about the first day of practice at the Daytona International Speedway for the 2012 season but one word that can’t be used is boring. Within the space of a couple of short hours the team of five time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was found to be in violation of the NASCAR rule book and a multi-car wreck took place on the track.
As cars were being pushed through the inspection line in preparation for a Saturday practice session leading up to Daytona 500 qualifying, the Hendrick Motorsports car of Jimmie Johnson was found to have C-posts that were outside the template allowance. The C-post is the portion of bodywork that runs from the roof of the car to the rear quarter panel.
Crew chief Chad Knaus offered no immediate comment in regard to the finding. The team called to their Concord, North Carolina shop and had new C-posts flown to the track. Those new pieces were fixed onto the #48 Chevrolet under the watchful eye of NASCAR officials.
While no fines or suspensions were announced on Friday, one NASCAR official indicated that such may be forthcoming. Knaus has found himself on the receiving end of punishments from the sanctioning body before, having been suspended in 2006 and 2007 for infractions.
But as that news was being digested, cars took to the track for a practice session to prepare for Saturday night’s Bud Shootout. With cars circulating in a large pack about halfway through the schedule duration of the test, Tony Stewart got into the back of Kurt Busch’s machine and turned that car. Before all the melee was finished the cars of Stewart, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and A.J. Allmendinger suffered significant damage. Jeff Gordon’s car received minor damage in the incident.
“I was pushing the 51 car and just got into him,” Stewart said. “It was my fault.”
“It’s better to do it now than next Sunday,” added Keselowski.
The day’s second scheduled practice was halted by rain only minutes after it had begun.
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