Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Commission Set To Hear Hendrick Appeal

The National Stock Car Racing Commission will convene later today to hear an appeal filed by Hendrick Motorsports, seeking to overturn penalties issued last month by NASCAR for rule violations detected during pre-qualifying inspection at Daytona International Speedway.

Knaus Makes His Case Today
The team contends that NASCAR confiscated the c-pillars from Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet prematurely, using only an informal, naked-eye inspection rather than body templates. Team owner Rick Hendrick also says the car in question passed multiple NASCAR inspections last season, and raced in all four 2011 restrictor plate races at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway.

The sanctioning body levied six-race suspensions to crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec, fining Knaus $100,000 and docking both Johnson and Hendrick 25 championship points. The suspensions were stayed, pending appeal. Today, three members of the NSCRC – two voting members chosen from a 45-person roster and a non-voting chairman – will view evidence and hear testimony from both Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR before rendering their decision. They can uphold the penalties as issued, reduce them on appeal, or even increase the sanctions.

The commission has upheld approximately two-thirds of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series penalties over the years -- 88 of 132 – while reducing 42 and increasing two. Most recently, the commission voted to uphold a 150-point penalty assessed to driver Clint Bowyer and Richard Childress Racing for post-race body violations at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in late 2010. The last Sprint Cup penalty to be overturned was in 2005, when driver Michael Waltrip was cleared of charges he made an obscene gesture on national television.

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