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”? http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1692
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.
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