|Johnson: WE WON!|
Middlebrook overturned six-week suspensions assessed by NASCAR to crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malek for c-pillars the sanctioning body confiscated from Jimmie Johnson’s car during pre-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. He also restored 25 driver and owner points to Jimmie Johnson and car owner of record Jeff Gordon. Johnson said today that while he is confused that the $100,000 fine was allowed to stand, he and his team believe Middlebrook’s decision exonerated Knaus and Malek of any wrongdoing. "The reason we won that appeal is because we proved those C-Posts were legal,” he said. “If we hadn't done that, we wouldn't have won." He said he does not feel totally vindicated, however, “because I think everything should have been overturned.”
NASCAR President Mike Helton insisted today that Johnson's car was illegal under NASCAR rules, adding that if the same c-pillars show up at again Talladega and Daytona, he expects NASCAR officials to confiscate them. "The decision made this week upholds what's right and wrong,” said Helton, adding that in his opinion, Middlebrook’s decision to leave Knaus’ fine intact proves there were, “parts of the car that did not conform to the rules.
|Helton: No, WE WON!|
"We think the decision that was made this week supports the inspection process, because the elements of the penalty that were upheld indicate the inspectors did their jobs correctly,” he said. “The debate was more about the decision after that point and how we reacted to it."
Middlebrook’s ruling has also inspired commentary from other corners of the NASCAR garage. Penske Racing driver Brad Keselowski weighed-in on the controversy Friday, saying, “At Penske Racing, we try to do it right the first time, rather than questioning the process once you get caught."