HMS 48 Team’s Penalties Overturned On Appeal
Chief apellate officer John Middlebrook on Tuesday overturned all penalties issued to the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team except for that of a fine issued to crew chief Chad Knaus.
The original penalties were levied after Johnson’s car failed inspection during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway in February. Inspectors found that the Chevrolet Impala’s C-post did not conform to rules.
Johnson was docked 25 driver points, Knaus was slapped with a $100,000 fine and suspended for six races and team-owner Jeff Gordon was docked 25 owner points. In addition, car chief Ron Malec was suspended for six races.
The team appealed the penalties to a three-member National Stock Car Racing panel. That panel upheld the NASCAR penalties.
The team then made an appeal to what is the de facto court of last resort – Middlebrook – and it paid off on Tuesday.
The following is the statement released by Middlebrook:
On March 20, 2012, the Chief Appellate Officer heard and considered the appeal of the penalties resulting from the #48 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. This stemmed from an opening day inspection for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2012.
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.”
The results of the appeal hearing were as follows:
– Rescinding the loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner points (for Jeff Gordon).
– Rescinding the loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points (for Jimmie Johnson).
– Rescinding the six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events suspension for the Crew Chief (Chad Knaus) and Car Chief (Ron Malec), however both will remain on NASCAR probation until May 9, 2012.
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