Sports

Appellate officer overturns Knaus’ suspension

CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR’s chief appellate officer overturned on Tuesday the bulk of the penalties levied against five-time championship winning crew chief Chad Knaus, who still must pay a $100,000 fine because Jimmie Johnson’s car failed the opening day inspection of the Daytona 500.

Chief appellate officer John Middlebrook overturned the six-race suspensions NASCAR handed down to Knaus and car chief Ron Malec, and ruled both instead will be on probation through May 9.

Middlebrook also reinstated the 25 points that Johnson had been docked. The decision moves Johnson to 11th in the season standings heading into Sunday’s race at California.

“It’s been a tough 30 days,” Knaus said. “It’s not about vindication. It’s time to move on.”

Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick have maintained the No. 48 Chevrolet was not illegal when it was presented for inspection Feb. 17 at Daytona. NASCAR used a visual inspection to determine the sheet metal between the roof and the side windows had been illegally modified to give Johnson an aerodynamic advantage.

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.

Both Knaus and Hendrick seemed relieved following the ruling by Middlebrook, who got the appeal after a three-member panel last week upheld all of NASCAR’s penalties.

“I was pretty shocked in Daytona when this happened. We go through great, great lengths, and it’s been years since we’ve been in trouble. Years,” Knaus said. “It’s unfortunate that the perception is out there that we continue to bend the rules, because we truly don’t. We go above and beyond to be compliant with what they want.

“And I was shocked. I was really, really shocked. And I was pretty torn up, because I felt like we did everything in our power to build the best race car we could for the Daytona 500 and take it down there without any problems.”

Hendrick insisted the team was “clearly within the rulebook.”

“There was no ill intent on our part,” Hendrick said. “We felt by the rulebook we were approved. By the rulebook the car was legal.”

Middlebrook is NASCAR’s final arbitrator. He retired in 2008 after 49 years with General Motors and is paid $1 a year by NASCAR for the position he took over at the start of the 2010 season.

Hendrick, a longtime Chevrolet dealer and partner in NASCAR and one of six people who spoke at Middlebrook’s retirement dinner, thought the process was fair.

“I think he’s very smart, and he’s very detailed,” Hendrick said. “We were not talking to someone who doesn’t understand how a car is built, and he’s read the rulebook.”

Knaus has been in trouble before with NASCAR and has served three previous suspensions.



Click here to comment on this story »





Blogs

The Wednesday Slice question

Which of these movies did you like best? A) "The Searchers." B) "3:10 to Yuma." C) "Shane." D) "Red River." D) "Fort Apache." E) "Dances With Wolves." F) "High Noon." ...



Parting Shot: Dems nominate Hillary

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party on an historic night that her campaign is hoping will reintroduce her ...


Salmon fishing heats up at Brewster Pool

FISHING -- Game On! for sockeye and chinook anglers on the upper Columbia River near Brewster. Apparently the Okanogan River has finally warmed up enough to form a thermal barrier ...



Saving for the future

sponsored According to two 2015 surveys, 62 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to handle an unexpected emergency, much less any long-term plans.



Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile