Jimmie Johnson with his daughter during Daytona 500 driver introductions - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
After NASCAR found a non-conforming "C" pillar on five-time Sprint Cup Series Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet during February 17 pre-race inspections prior to the Budweiser Shootout, many assumed any fines or other penalties would be meted out after the Daytona 500
This sort of announcement would normally occur on a Tuesday following a race, but since the 54th edition of the Great American Race occurred on Monday night under the lights for the first time in its history, NASCAR waited until Wednesday to announce its decisions.
The No. 48 car was found to be in violation of Section 12-1 of the NASCAR rulebook--actions detrimental to stock car racing; Section 12-4J--any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event; and Section 20-2.1E--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).
As a result of these heinous infractions, NASCAR has suspended crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec from the next six Sprint Cup Series events, suspending the duo from NASCAR until April 18 and placing them on NASCAR probation until May 9. In addition, Knaus has been stripped of $100,000 from his bank account.
Driver Johnson and car owner Jeff Gordon have been penalized with the loss of 25 driver and 25 owner points, respectively.
Shortly after NASCAR decreed the fine, probation and loss of points, Hendrick Motorsports, which fields the No. 48 for Johnson in the Sprint Cup Series announced it will appeal the sanctions.
"Our organization respects NASCAR and the way the sanctioning body governs our sport," Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports declared. "In this case, though, the system broke down and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process."
The team has not planned adjustments to the No. 48's team personnel while the appeal is ongoing.