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« Does Chad Knaus really deserve a penalty for this “violation”? | Main | Because of top-35 rule, why run the risk of losing primary car in Thursday races? »

Anyone else wonder why only one Hendrick car had illegal C-posts?

By admin | February 20, 2012

By Richard Allen


There are several stock answers that are given out whenever anyone on a NASCAR team is asked a question by the media. One of those stock answers goes something like this, “Everyone in our organization works well together and we all share information.”

While Hendrick Motorsports is one of the best examples of a company that delivers stock answers, the reality of the matter is that the sharing of all information must not be the case in the Concord, North Carolina shops of the multiple time championship organization.

On Friday at the Daytona International Speedway, the #48 car of driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus was halted during a routine inspection by NASCAR officials when the C-posts on the car didn’t meet the approval of those in charge of enforcing the rules prior to Daytona 500 pole qualifying.

So, if HMS teams really do share information, why did only one car have the offending body panels?

Seems as though there are only two possible answers to that question. Either the #48 team and Knaus are not sharing all their tricks with the rest of the HMS crews, or Knaus was the only one of the four crew chiefs at HMS who was willing to run risk getting caught.

Whichever answer is in fact true, it doesn’t look good on Knaus. He either isn’t a team player and isn’t sharing everything with his fellow pit bosses. Or, everyone else at Hendrick plays by the rules and he doesn’t. It’s tough to say which is the best of those two possible scenarios. He is either disliked by his teammates or NASCAR officials.

An old saying in racing declares that, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying hard enough.” Knaus has led a team that scored five consecutive Sprint Cup titles.

But do keep in mind that when Knaus was caught doing a little more massaging to the fenders of the 48 car than NASCAR liked back in 2007 at the Infineon Raceway, then #24 crew chief Steve Letarte was busted as well. Apparently there was sharing of information at that time. And it must also be noted that while the #24 and the #48 are no longer prepared in the same shop at HMS, those same crew chiefs still work in the same building.

During Sunday’s qualifying broadcast on the Fox network, HMS crew chief Alan Gustafson might have offered a clue as to Knaus’s status within the organization. While talking about the process of preparing his car for the all important time trial session, the crew chief of Jeff Gordon’s #24 car declared, “We do it the right way so we don’t have to struggle with NASCAR.”

So, does anyone else besides this writer wonder why only one Hendrick car had illegal parts in Daytona? Perhaps only Chad Knaus knows whether he isn’t a good team player or he is the only at HMS willing to break the rules.

Companion piece: Does Chad Knaus really deserve a penalty for this “violation”?

I will be giving away $50 to one of my twitter followers who correctly picks the winner of the Daytona 500. You must follow @RacingWithRich on twitter to participate in the contest.

Topics: Articles |

13 Responses to “Anyone else wonder why only one Hendrick car had illegal C-posts?”

  1. Russ Says:
    February 20th, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Or, it was a red herring to distract attention from something else.

  2. Team24 Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I don’t wonder at all. He’s been caught multiple times. Who knows how much he’s gotten away with. There’s a fine line between pushing the envelope & outright cheating. He doesn’t seem to mind crossing that line at all. This is why NASCAR needs to penalize him more heavily than they have before.

    I found it strange that the talking heads on Speed were saying it’s most similar to 2007 where NASCAR didn’t do much. IMO it’s more similar to last year with MWR’s windshields where they assessed pretty big penalties. I think the same should be done here.

  3. Offkilter Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Very interesting question… Im guessing chad don’t like to share

  4. Lydia Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I’m guessing Chad played nice last season..didn’t cheat (well maybe … i.e. Talladega where he told Johnson to damage car if he won) and lost the Championship. Guess he wants that 6th trophy and doesn’t think his driver is good enough to drive his way to the winners circle. I guess they all push the line…Chad just likes to move the line to suit his rules.

  5. Travis Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 8:39 am

    You left out another possibility. Maybe Letarte also got the same c-posts as Chad but he didn’t get caught because Nascar won’t call Junior’s crew chief out.

  6. patricia Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Chad dosen’t like to share. He is not a team player, but a Chad player. He is a crook, period.

  7. Bill B Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Looks to me like Chad knowingly cheated. My main reason to reach that conclusion was Talladega last fall whem he told Johnson to wreck during the victory burnout if he won.
    As for the other three teams…
    If your best friend tells you he’s found a way to cheat on his income taxes it doesn’t mean you are going to do the same.

  8. Ritchie Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Lydia. You took the words out of my mouth.

  9. Ziggy Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I think you need to read a few more articles. I’m no Johnson fan, but I do have respect for Mr. Hendrick. He says they are the same ones that went to NASCAR’s R&D center. Either NASCAR can’t enforce their own rules, or they change them as they go. Either doesn’t look good for NASCAR.

  10. John McManus Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    If the C posts were worrtying at Talledega, there was plenty of time to change them.

  11. blarg Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Ziggy you may be the one needing to read a few more articles. Hendrick said that he was “told” they are the same ones that went to R&D. That is not an insignificant distinction.

    Besides he is doing his own spin here. PR is crucial for bad press, especially after the strength of the sponsors was shown at the end of last year. For example Hendrick also said that “I don’t like it when someone says I just don’t like the looks of it and never put the plate down on it”. Which is not the case, according to Darby “There were obvious modifications that the template inspectors picked up on and did some additional inspections with some gauges and stuff and found they were too far out of tolerance to fix so they were removed from the car”

  12. Jesse Says:
    February 22nd, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Did Mikey ever get the guy that put the funny stuff in the fuel?

  13. Justin Says:
    February 22nd, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Team 24, my only argument to your assessment that the penalties should be similar to the windshield incident is simply that MWR sent the cars through inspection, the cars passed, and THEN someone changed the car, and the car failed when it went through the next time. For the 48, this “issue” was found in the first inspection.

    How come no one is considering that maybe Knaus was trying something to see if it gets through. With a 4 car team, I am sure there is one car of the 4 trying certain things every week. If no one catches the 48 at Daytona, I would bet that when they show up at ‘Dega all 4 cars would have had the same C-Posts…

    With all of that said, Kyle Busch pretty much proved in the Shootout on Sat night, that “massaging” certain areas of the car is meaningless. If he can win with a car that had a smashed up nose, I doubt you would get much of an advantage with a bubbled out C-Post. Just saying…