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 SBNation.com, 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 http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1729
From February 29- Penalties against Knaus and 48 team were too severe http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1707
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