Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Panel Denies Hendrick Motorsports Appeal

The National Stock Car Racing Appeals panel has unanimously upheld the penalties handed down by NASCAR against Hendrick Motorsports, driver Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malek for illegal c-pillars discovered during pre-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500.

Hendrick "does not accept" the ruling
A three-member panel comprised of former Chairman of the United States Auto Club John Capels, Leo Mehl (former Director of Goodyear racing and former Executive Director of the Indy Racing League) and Dale Pinilis (promoter of North Carolina’s Bowman-Gray Stadium) ruled unanimously that the penalties were correct and appropriate, denying claims by Hendrick Motorsports that the sanctioning body had acted prematurely by sanctioning the team based on a naked-eye inspection, rather than a template-based examination.

The penalties concern Section 12-1 of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing;” Section 12-4(J):“Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the Event;” and Section 20-2.1(E): “If in the judgment of NASCAR Officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance, will not be permitted: Unapproved car body modifications.”

Team owner Rick Hendrick said he “does not accept” the decision, and will appeal to NSCRC Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook. Both Knaus and Malek will be on the job this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, pending that final appeal.

Team owner Rick Hendrick said he “does not accept” the decision, and will appeal to NSCRC Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook. Both Knaus and Malek will be on the job this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, pending that final appeal.


  1. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I have yet to hear the actual modification that was done to the c pillar to make it foul. Has nascar told anyone yet? Sounds like a joke to me.

  2. Wow I figured they might lessen the punishment. How do you damn a crew chief for pushing the boundaries of a rule? I firmly disagree with the decision I think it should have been no more than 2 weeks.
    Ky. Ed

  3. Anonymous4:01 PM

    I agree with Hendrick. You should be charged with a crime they did not commit. The car never went to the track nor did it go through inspection. This would be accusing everyone over 19 who looks at a hot 17 yr old of pedophilia. From what I understand is yes they looked but they did not get caught touching.

    Charlie in TX :)

  4. Even if they got away with it last year, doesn't make it legal this year. Chad is being punished on his cumulative body of work over the years. I would think the next time they have an infraction that the penalty will be even worse.

  5. Anonymous4:32 PM

    How does this ruling impact a team that has a lot of depth in both employees and pocket book going into the next race pending another appeal? Hendrick has come through this NASCAR fine process before without a scratch or dent. I think NASCAR has written this rule with the intent of detering not a cheater but more so an insubordinate. NASCAR should issue teams bodies like they issue restrictor plates if they want keep things even!
    Russell from Canada

  6. modsquad 725:06 PM

    I agree with the Hendrick Organization. Facts are that the car never was on the track. The purpose of this very expensive inspection process is to detect anything of question before the car enters competition. If an area of question arises, the crew then is responsible to fix the area in question and submit the car for re-inspection. If the car had passed inspection, taken to the track, had something altered in the garage area that did not meet inspection standards, then there is a problem.
    Putting a $100,000 fine on any team in this economy, or in any economy is absurd. If I were Rick, I would meet with that various sponsors, and withdraw ALL the Hendrick Teams for three weeks.
    NASCAR needs to be taught a lesson. They can't fill the stands now and things are not looking positive for the future. The majority of the loyal race fans I know, no longer watch the majority of the race. Ever wonder why ? This review board needs a major change. Bring in people like Bob Cuneo who is a fabricator and graduate engineer. They understand the tech aspects of the cars. I totally agree with Kyle Petty's comments on this matter.

  7. Anonymous5:43 PM

    “Actions detrimental to stock car racing;” this is the biggest piece of BS rule i ever heard of...

  8. Anonymous5:45 PM

    I am glad it was denied,when a car shows up to a track ,it should conform to the rules,layed out by the rule book. If it does not then it should not be allowed to race . I race a local division, when we go thru tech, if My car is not legal,I dont get to race , (NASCAR ) should not be any different! AND I AM A HENDRICK FAN!

    John ( NyteRider )Young

  9. Im sorry but I agree with nascar using templates to measure cars but what ever happened to ingenuity where the smartest people make the cars go fast. Everything NASCAR has done with the COT has leveled the playing field and almost taken the ingenuity out of building a racecar. There was no measurement on the part of the car that NASCAR removed to reference the infraction to so why was it removed before tech inspection? To hide a mistake by NASCAR? We will never know.

    1. Steve, smart people make cars go fast WITHIN THE RULES! That's the real challenge.

  10. Anonymous6:33 PM

    If Rick Hendrick can prove that the car did go to the inspection process at Nascar's Inspection center and was certifed, I think they have a case.The part might have been different from the past configureation but assuming Nascar DID aprove it at there center.According to how I determend the rule I just read it would be legal,if the part had not been altered after the fact.

    Former tech inspecter

  11. I agree with Nascar. My understanding is that you can't hand modify any part without getting it approved.

  12. Jeepish10:40 PM

    If Hendrick is correct that an identical C-Panel was presented to (NASCAR) tech in four prior races and passed (was approved) they owe the fans more specifics on the problem. This is coming across as being fined for "sumthin just don't look right."

  13. Anonymous6:17 PM

    I to think Nascar has lost touch with the way stock car racing and today's technology works. Maybe with the track record of the 48 team with rule infractions maybe it is time to see the 48 (car driver team) sit out a week. I bet that will change the opinions of people thinking about messing with the rule book! I know the sport has survived with out the 3, Richard Petty, Davey Allison, Bill Elliot, Cale Yarborough and countless others. I bet we could make it through with out 5 time too for a race. If that causes Lowe's to become upset with the 48 team so be it.....there are plenty of other teams that seem to get through pre and post race inspection that would gladly welcome a new sponsor agreement. With the amount of technology just because Chad isn't "at the track" doesn't mean he won't be able to have input on the car during the race. suspending a crew chief from being at the track in this day and age is a mute point. 25 years ago that could have been devastating(losing the most knowledgeable guy on your crew and more than likely a tire changer as well), now with cell phones, lap tops, live race radio chatter provided by Nascar to your home. Instead of being a crew chief from the Pit Box you can be a crew chief from your living room. Oh look the 48 is on pit road and Joe Schmoe has told the crew to make the adjust Chad Knaus just I.M.ed him on Facebook, or he might have sent him a text on the new and improved iphone56v2. And of course that was via the Sprint Network.
    Although now that I think of it maybe they hadn't thought of that and now I have just helped Hendrick Motorsports....Rats spoiled again!!!!

  14. If the car fails pre-inspection, then I don't think any fines or penalties are appropriate. HOWEVER, if after pre-inspection, the car is found to be illegal in some way, then, and only then, should NASCAR lower the hammer. Crew chiefs are paid to push the envelope and NASCAR needs to allow some ingenuity on the part of the crews. At the rate NASCAR is going with regulating everything on the cars, we will end up just like the IROC cars. And we know how well that turned out, don't we.