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It may be time for Knaus and Hendrick to accept their penalty and move on

By admin | March 13, 2012

By Richard Allen


Chad Knaus and his number 48 Hendrick Motorsports team were deemed by NASCAR to have submitted a car for pre-qualifying inspection at the Daytona International Speedway that was outside of the sanctioning body’s tolerances. They were subsequently hit with the significant penalty of a 25 point deduction from Jimmie Johnson’s driver totals as well as the car owner standings. Also, Knaus and car chief Ron Malec were suspended for six races and a fine was levied.

The car was judged by NASCAR officials at the track to have illegal C-posts even though it fit all of the body templates used for measurements. And more, HMS claims the car was raced in the very same condition multiple times in 2011 and had already passed the more rigorous inspection carried out at the NASCAR Research and Development Center located just outside Charlotte.

On Tuesday, the embattled crew chief and his organization made their case before the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel. By a unanimous decision, all penalties originally handed down by NASCAR were upheld.

“We’re disappointed with the outcome the way it was,” team owner Rick Hendrick declared after the ruling was handed down. “But we’re going to go ahead to the next level.”

Reporters who waited outside the R & D Center for the judgment asked Hendrick why he was choosing to continue the appeal process after Tuesday’s ruling. “Because I don’t accept it. Period,” he responed.

However, it may be best that he and Knaus just go ahead and accept it in the best interest of their team.

Hendrick said he will appeal this decision to the Chief Appellate Officer of NASCAR, John Middlebrook. He will also request that the suspensions be delayed until after Middlebrook rules. The hearing with Middlebrook likely won’t take place until at least after this weekend’s racing in Bristol.

With Middlebrook receiving a copy of the Tuesday ruling prior to his hearing with Knaus and Hendrick, it would seem highly unlikely that he would overturn a unanimous decision in this case, especially considering the vagaries of the NASCAR rule book.

And more, no matter how often it may be stated, Knaus’s previous track is no doubt working against him. He has been suspended on two previous occasions for similar offenses as this. Also, he was infamously caught on tape last year in Talladega instructing Johnson to bang up the rear of his car should he win the race. Human beings are making these ruling and those are things not easily put out of mind.

I have stated already that I do not believe Knaus violated any rule here because the car fit the templates. If NASCAR wants to measure C-posts they should make a template that does so. However, there is a time to know when to hold ‘em and to know when to fold ‘em. Rather than have this issue and it’s almost certain outcome drag on unnecessarily for the 48 team, Knaus and Hendrick should just go ahead and fold ‘em.

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4 Responses to “It may be time for Knaus and Hendrick to accept their penalty and move on”

  1. Russ Says:
    March 13th, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Interesting that Hendrick, who has in the past accepted the penalties handed down by Nascars minions has decided to fight.

    What is in it for Hendricks? 25 points? not likely, less than 1 position per race on average. The money?Even less likely. The only place this effects the crew and car chief is at the track, and that with mobile technology is a real joke.

    So why the fight?

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    March 14th, 2012 at 9:29 am

    …Robin Pemberton, ‘This is a gold surface, don’t mess with it…

    If Nascar doesn’t want any part of the car touched maybe they should start providing car bodies. They could be made of Kevlar. Just a perfunctionary look, but I’d say a simple 3 part mold could turn out not only the present car but the 2013’s as well. They used to have to go buy cars at dealerships. Why not from Nascar. Then there could be no question as to the bodies legality. Embed some locator points and then every team starts out with exactly the same body.

  3. The Mad Man Says:
    March 14th, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Hendrick is probably banking on his past dealings with John Middlebrook, former GM exec who drove GM into the dirt, will save his bacon and either throw out the penalty or greatly reduce it. It’s a gamble so far as Middlebrook has lowered penalties on a couple of drivers but with Knaus past track record following him, the penalty could be increased. Guess we need to watch and see.

  4. mr clause Says:
    March 14th, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Maybe because he believes his team isn’t guilty and isn’t especially happy with the inspection deal that could only fit the NASCAR rulebook.

    I can’t help but wonder when, not if, Nascar is going to realize that their way of doing things is so outdated that it borders on stupidity. When will they realize where the real power now rests? That would be with Childress, Hendicks, Roush, Gibbs. NASCAR has put itself in the position of transferring the power to these four. Where will NASCAR turn if these four ever unite for change? Sure there isn’t much chance of that happening but, what if? NASCAR still believes that they can’t chase their fans away don’t they.