|Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs|
The penalty came from pre-race inspection for the Daytona 500; the No.48 car was found to have illegally modified C-posts. The No. 48 team stands by their words, saying that this is the same exact car that they used at Daytona and Talladega last year.
Johnson goes into Phoenix -23 points, 49th in the standings and -70 behind the leader. The possible silver lining in this: Rick Hendrick is appealing it, and while the suspensions are being heard and ruled upon Knaus and Malec are allowed to be at the track.
Hendrick Motorsports quickly released this statement after the suspensions were released:
"Our organization respects NASCAR and the way the sanctioning body governs our sport," team owner Rick Hendrick said. "In this case, though, the system broke down, and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process."
This isn’t the first time Knaus has been suspended from races; in fact Knaus has quite a record. In 2007 he was suspended for illegal modifications to the car at Sonoma and faced a similar fine of a six-race suspension.
I do believe Knaus should be fined, but a six-race suspension is harsh for a car that never was on track, versus a car that was on track and failed. I believe NASCAR needs to be fair and knowing the right way to penalize teams is part of that.
Whatever the final outcome may be, this bump in the road won’t stop the duo of Johnson and Knaus from coming back and winning. Knaus is a very smart man and this is just a minor setback. Whether he’s suspended for six races or if the team wins the appeal, you can bet Knaus will be back and he’ll be ready to win!