Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Knaus, Hendrick Prevail On Appeal

Chad Knaus is back on the job.
National Stock Car Racing Commission Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook has overturned most of the penalties assessed to Hendrick Motorsports and crew chief Chad Knaus in a final appeal heard today in Concord, NC.

Two weeks after a three-member appeals panel voted unanimously to uphold the penalties assessed by NASCAR for a failed pre-qualifying inspection at last month’s Daytona 500, Middlebrook heard testimony   from both Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR at the sanctioning body’s Research and Development Center. He eliminated the six-race suspensions assessed to Knaus and car chief Ron Malek, but let stand Knaus’ $100,000 fine. Both Jimmie Johnson and car owner of record Jeff Gordon will have 25 championship points restored to their totals. That decision pushes Johnson from 17th in Sprint Cup Series championship points to 11th, just two behind tenth-place Paul Menard.

Knaus and Malek will now be free to lead the No. 48 team this weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Cal., rather than begin serving suspensions that would have sidelined them until Bojangles Southern 500 weekend at Darlington (SC) Raceway May 11-12.


  1. So, if there isn't enough wrong with the part to get a points penalty or a suspension...why the fine???? Don't get it.

  2. what a joke. if they were so legal then why did the fine remain?

  3. Anonymous4:19 PM

    Gee what a surprise..what did everyone exspect you have Hendricks,Knauss and a strong GM connection.This is why Bristol was half empty.
    Best regards,
    Roadkill from Indiana.

  4. Anonymous4:29 PM

    I have serious problem with overturning everything and leaving the fine in place. Is this his his back door cash out for the verdict? It is like having a speeding ticket dismissed and still having to pay the fine. Just ridiculous!

    1. Knauss is not a first time offender, so I get the $100K fine. As far as the rescinded suspensions and points penalty, the car was not illegal when it raced so I get that, too. They hit Chad where it hurts most, in his wallet, and I'm ok with that, also. Hopefully, he'll learn from this and move on... nah, never happen.

    2. Dipship9:49 AM

      Well actually you can still pay for your speeding ticket and have it dismissed....It's called Defensive Driving Class

    3. Anonymous10:37 AM

      It's all about Hendrick paying someone off. He's done it before, and he thinks his teams are above the law. That is why I don't like Hendrick motorsport. I like some off their drivers, but can't pull for them as long as they are in a Hendrick car.

  5. Anonymous4:46 PM

    Oh geez. Poor Moody and all the other hosts. Every hater out there is now looking out there window to find the black helicopters. It's done, it's over. The reason doesn't matter. Let's talk about something else. I really want to tune into channel 90 and hear about California.

  6. the debster4:57 PM

    I say good for the Nascar charities... nothing like a good warning in the wallet

  7. Anonymous5:02 PM

    Let the cheating continue!

  8. Anonymous5:05 PM

    I feel fine was upheld to make a point of even bring to the track a questionable car. It cussed alot of unnecessary drama

  9. Anonymous5:08 PM

    With the ties that Mr. Hendrick has to Middelbrook this would have never stood an any court of law it shouldn't stand here. Why drop the suspensions and points penalty but still leave the probation and fines? This just sounds out of whack to me. Something in it just does not add up.

  10. Anonymous5:10 PM

    have enough cash, and an ex gm executive, verdict was in the bag. know we know why rick Hendrick said he doesn't agree with it he knew who was next in the appeals process mission complete, one thing though how can 3 different people come up with a unanimous decision and this guy middlebrook veto's it all except fine which we all know hendrick will pony up complete bs

  11. Anonymous5:14 PM

    the general motors fix was in

  12. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Some of the very reasons why I no longer watch NASCAR. Would far rather watch open wheel. NASCAR is a joke!!!

  13. David5:28 PM

    I like it. I felt that the penalty was too severe. As I have said before, I feel that Mr H. is an upstanding person and would not push so hard against this penalty if he didn't believe he was within the rules. It may not be popular but if the car fits its legal. I don't want to go back to the twisted sister, and I think that with the templates today, that it's unlikely that the sister will make it back. I'm all for safety and what the COT brings so let's not get sidetracked into nonsense. @crazycanuckdave

  14. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Guess someone can CHEAT and get away with it .. I think this SUCK..

  15. Danny Stamper5:59 PM

    Just more proof NASCAR is fixed

  16. Anonymous6:07 PM

    Dave i believe it was the"it just does'nt look right and were not sure why" comment by John Darby that derailed NASCAR's position. Why didn't he just keep hi
    damn mouth shut! Looks like another Hendrick championship year.

    Big Country in East Tennessee

  17. Anonymous6:09 PM

    It seems to me this may be another version of "have at it boys". Why did NASCAR confiscate the parts? Why was there no penalty until after Daytona? Let's just make up the rules as we go along. Did the 48 Team try to pull a fast one? I guess it really doesn't matter since if you get caught, you can always appeal the appeal. Big black eye for NASCAR today.

  18. Anonymous6:23 PM

    Same penalty that the 11 got for the oil pan. They were parts found in pre race inspection and never made it on the track.

  19. Anonymous6:57 PM

    Once again Hendrick money and power control the sport. I hate this!!!!!!!!!!!1

  20. Yes, the fine remaining taints the decision. But, from what I've been able to figure out, the car was never presented to tech inspection. If that is true, NASCAR screwed up by calling the violation outside the confines of the tech inspection. Long, long ago, I was involved with NASCAR West and did tech inspections at Riverside. Even back then, the procedures were in place as to when and how a car went through tech. Same procedures exists today and that's why I think Middlebrook overturned the appeal panel's decision. But WHY keep the fine? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, unless he did it to appease NASCAR.

  21. Anonymous7:38 PM

    Did Hendrick get off with a (cash) slap on the wrist or are NASCAR's arbitrary penalties too severe? Are the people on the original committee too influenced by NASCAR or is the Chief Appellate Officer given too much power? This whole incident bothers me A LOT. And I guess unless we OWN a team we who are fans will never get to see the proverbial rulebook to determine what the heck was the point of this entire exercise in futility anyway.

    NASCAR is never going to escape the small time sports moniker until they decide to address everything like a real sport does. Baseball rulebook, available to everyone, same with the football rulebook. NHRA and SCCA you pay a few bucks and you got the rulebooks. NASCAR, well we'll just tell you when you've broken the rules with a hefty fine and lots of owner/driver points taken away.

    Unless your a buddy of the Chief Appellate Officer.

    Doug from NJ

  22. Anonymous8:59 PM

    I'm not a hendrick fan, but i'm a JR fan just to be clear.
    First I beleive justice has been done. If NASCAR had put the car through the templete process I don't think you would have seen Rick Hendrick appeal the orignal penelty. NASCAR has said if the car can't pass the templete your busted. There was a statment made by someone that other cars were visually inspected for C post infractions and they were told to go fix their C post, but when it came to the #48 car, they made them cut them off. If NASCAR would have only run the car through the templete and found the C post illeagal there would not have been an appeal to Middleford. Lesson learned NASCAR use the tools you have been provided.
    100k fine 0 points taken, 0 suspensions, 2 probation, This tells me something was wrong, but Middleton felt NASCAR blew it when they sent the #48 packing and forcing them to cut off the C Posts with the use of the templete.


  23. Anonymous9:59 PM

    Noone whined this much when Robby Gordon got his points given back and fine upheld @ Daytona in 08

  24. Moody,

    Thank you for having Ray Evernham on SiriusXM Speedway every Tuesday. He said what I felt, but couldn't articulate. How can you say a car is illegal when you don't put the car through inspection and, you've already cut off the evidence? It would be like the LAPD telling O.J, someone said there's a huge mess at your ex's house you may want to clean up to avoid any embarrassing paparazi photos! The 48 team obviously dodged a bullet on this one.

    It's difficult to ignore the $100k. My guess is that it was was warning shot from the "Powers" that may have took a little skin. A little token to let them know Big Brother is watching. Let's not forget the well known "Penalty Fund" that's already in this years budget. Knaus may not be a first ballot HOF'r based on his creative interpretation of the rule book, but he'll have a statue dedicated to him from the NASCAR Foundation in a year or two at this rate.

  25. Anonymous4:23 AM

    Scratching my head & hoping that the media can get us some kind of explanation here. I am truly shocked, and I bet Mike Helton, John Darby, and Robin Pemberton are, too. Wonder how long it will take for the 48 to get through inspections in the coming weeks/months?

  26. Anonymous9:19 AM

    It just smacks of a backdoor deal, and just erodes the credibility of the sport on a national level, and brings it down to the problems that the short tracks have everywhere.

  27. Dipship9:54 AM

    Now that Kurt Busch drives for an affilate team of HMS... Here's the conversation between Middlebrook, & HMS ...

    Middlebrook;... I hear Kurt Busch is now affilated with your HMS racing organization..?

    Rick Hendrick;... Uh well I suppose so..

    Middlebrook;... Time served!! ... court dismissed...who's buying lunch?

  28. Anonymous10:09 AM

    Good call!!1 Fine upheld due to them messing with the body period, but since the template was never put on the car, and the nascar officials visualy inspected, then pulled part it contaminated the evidence, Rick made a great case and won!!! Chad is NOT a cheater, he is pushing his knowledge and skills to make the car faster to win races.

  29. Anonymous10:22 AM

    If you were a lawyer interviewing potential jurors for a trial there is NO WAY you would have allowed John Middlebrook to sit in judgement of Rick Hendrick. Even the perception of impropriety completely taints the decision. Yes, implying billfolds were fattened is a stretch. But, Mr Hendrick was convicted of business crimes (although pardoned by the president in 2000) that justify the implication to some. This issue was mishandled by NASCAR from the start so the outcome shouldn't be a shock. You have to wonder about the future of the inspection process and how appeals are handled in the future.

  30. The truth will stand when the world is on fire. HMS has a history of taking creative license with the rule book and NASCAR has a history of interpreting the same book in an overly subjective manner to suit their purpose. I have a firend who is a HUGE JJ fan and also refers to HMS as "Hendrick Felonsports".
    If your car is missing from your driveway and a known car thief lives next door, where would you look? additionally, NASCAR needs to stop playing "Boss Hogg".
    Enough is enough, we have spent the entire new year talking about everything BUT the racing on the race track. After the best season in history we stand at the precipice of having the sport we all love being renamed OWN. Not the Oprah Winfrey Network but Oprah WInfrey's NASCAR.
    Dang it, lets RACE!

  31. Rick in Northern Indiana1:43 PM

    Nothing like muddling up an already muddy picture. Did they violate a rule or didn't they? You can't really tell by Middlebrook's ruling. The interesting thing is, even the Supreme Court of the United States offers opinions on their rulings, why not the Chief Appellate Officer in the NASCAR appeal process?

    I'm so confused.

  32. Dave,
    for some reason they decided to make Jimmie Spencer a part as a real pundit and you MUST see race hub. Your head will spin! I'm going to comment on the Bristol similarly because he threw that under the bus to! If Mr. Smith is not happy with his raceway and he wants to spend his money on it who is this second rate former nascar racer (not champion, not owner, not a contributor to the sport except his 2 cents) to judge these people and Why is speed putting it's reputation on the line for this has been? I know you can't speak for speed but what the heck is he thinking?
    Mr. Excitement ;-)