On Tuesday, NASCAR’s chief appellate officer John Middlebrook overturned a majority of the penalties levied against crew chief Chad Knaus. Knaus must still pay a $100,000 fine because Johnson’s car failed opening day inspection of the Daytona 500.
Knaus and car chief Ron Malec will not have to serve there six-race suspensions instead will be on probation through May 9.
Middlebrook also reinstated the 25 points that Jimmie Johnson had been docked. This now moves Johnson to 11th in the Sprint Cup standings after the ruling.
Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick has maintained the No. 48 Chevrolet was not illegal. The car was never sent through NASCAR’s templates, and the team maintained it had not been altered since it was approved in January at NASCAR’s R&D Center. Hendrick also said he had paperwork showing the car was exactly the same as it was following Johnson’s win last April at Talladega.
”My argument was simply that the car is out in plain view. The car went to the tech center. It was inspected at the race track. It was inspected at the tech center on multiple occasions, and it was at the tech center as late as January. And the car had not been altered. We even had one of the NASCAR officials make comments about the car being correct. We had all that documented. I think by going piece-by-piece, date-by-date, you could see there was no ill intent by our part. … Our car was approved.” Rick Hendrick said
Knaus has been in trouble before with NASCAR and has served three previous suspensions. He had a two-race suspension in 2005 reduced to probation on appeal. His last suspension was six races in 2007 for an infraction at Sonoma.