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Here’s why the Knaus fine remained after other penalties were taken away(imo)

By admin | March 21, 2012

By Richard Allen


The ruling by the Chief Appellate Officer for NASCAR in the case of Hendrick Motorsports car #48 after inspectors at the Daytona International Speedway deemed the C-posts on the Chevrolet to be outside allowable tolerances has been regarded by many as a strange one. John Middlebrook upheld a fine of $100,000 against crew chief Chad Knaus while points previously taken from the team were given back. Also, suspensions imposed on Knaus and car chief Ron Malec were overturned.

Either the car was legal or illegal so how could part of the penalty be maintained and another part remain?

Could it be that the reason for the fine remaining in place goes deeper than a couple of illegal C-posts? Perhaps Middlebrook left the fine as a means of sending a message to an embattled crew chief who has on multiple occasions run afoul of the rules, even if the car in question on this occasion was legal.

Remember that last year in Talladega, Knaus was caught on video giving some unusual instructions to driver Jimmie Johnson. As reported by Jeff Gluck of, here is what was said by the 48 car’s crew chief just before the start of the race, “If we win this race, you have to crack the back of the car,” Knaus could be heard telling Johnson on the recording. “Got it?”

“Really?” Johnson replied, sounding surprised.

“Yes,” Knaus said. “Got it? You don’t have to have to hit it hard, you don’t have to destroy it. But you’ve gotta do a donut and you’ve gotta hit the back end, or somebody’s gotta hit you in the ass-end or something. OK?”

After Johnson responds with apparent silence (he can’t be heard saying anything else), Knaus added, “You’ll be alright. Can’t take any chances.”

It very well could be that those words ultimately cost Chad Knaus(or whoever paid the fine) $100,000. Perhaps that might even be the reason inspectors at the track pulled the 48 car aside for an ‘infraction’ that was questionable in the eyes of many, including Middlebrook. However, Knaus’s verbal indiscretion in Talladega was apparently inexcusable, even for the man who forgave the rest of the penalty.

Reduced penalty on 48 car reveals flaw in NASCAR inspection process

From February 29- Penalties against Knaus and 48 team were too severe

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5 Responses to “Here’s why the Knaus fine remained after other penalties were taken away(imo)”

  1. Earner Says:
    March 22nd, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    the 100 g’s should be billed out just to cover all the costs involved with this mess (& Chads dumbest remarks ever made to a live camera)…I Have no problem they were guilty..I Do have a problem with the process & penaltys..Somthing that could be 3/1000th of an inch can not be eyballed/then pulled out of line before it even gets to tech inspect/ & The car never competed (or hit the track)…= Not guilty..Yes they got away with one but that would be Nascars fault…Now lets see all the Sprint Cup cars are the same wheel base with height/width etc tolerances..So why not have slot into position & hit them with a series of laser lights (far more precise) maybe 100 of them that have some travel & you could get your measurements far more exact to every nook & cranny of that car….Nascar?

  2. Earner Says:
    March 22nd, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Of course it would still have to get to the tech centre…Eye ball this (”didn’t look right”) ….INDEED!

  3. Charles Says:
    March 22nd, 2012 at 4:32 pm


    By keeping the $100,000 fine is what is so troubling…Middlebrook as far I know “didnt say” the car was legal?….

    He just did a reversal of what he had done to Richard Childress and the other two…

    Instead of cutting the fine…He gave Hendrick a more favorable option by giving the points back..which is the better deal…which really showed favortism

    I dont deny Nascars inspection process is flawed..because it is…and really dont like to see cars fined before they hit the track…

    But as long as Middlebrook is in the picture…all Hendrick seem to have to do is appeal again…

    Really think the appeal process needs to changed..there is a better way ….seems to me..a 3 panel ruling should end it…

  4. Offkilter Says:
    March 22nd, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Good point, Rich. I’m still puzzled though as to why Knauss, a very smart guy, would have the ” crack the back” briefing over the radio instead of one on one with his driver before he strapped into the car.

    Also, to everyone that keeps calling hms cheaters. There isn’t a team in any division of racing in all of the land that does not work in gray areas to gain an edge. And Especially to the rousch supporters… The 99 car was found in a rules violation for a missing oil cooler access panel after it had won the race. Rousch claimed ” fastener failure” as a crappy excuse. Hard to believe that rousch never has parts to fall off the cars that would cause a failure, but one that would increase down force would.

  5. Offkilter Says:
    March 22nd, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    The rousch panel incident mentioned above was a couple of years or so ago btw