Jimmie Johnson and his car owner Jeff Gordon have been penalized 25 driver and 25 owner points each for unapproved modifications to their car prior to the Daytona 500 qualifying. Crew Chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec have been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup races. With Jimmie Johnsons early crash out of the Daytona 500 he only earned 2 driver and owner points. That means he enters this week’s race with negative 23 points. To illustrate how big a penalty that is you earn 42 points for finishing second in a race. For Jimmie Johnson to have positive points after the Phoenix race he needs to finish 20th or better.
Jimmie’s car was found to have unapproved “C” posts in the car prior to qualifying practice over a week ago at Daytona International speedway. They were able to correct the car but NASCAR would review infraction and issue penalties after the Daytona 500. Penalties from the week before are usually handed out on Tuesday but since the race was delayed they came Wednesday. The “C” post is the last post in the center of the car which holds the rear window in place. No pictures or details of the infraction have been reported but the general thinking is the modification to the “C” post may provide some sort of flexing at speed to reduce the amount of air on the rear spoiler. This theoretically would make the car faster than other competitor’s cars.
Hendrick Motorsports intends to appeal this to NASCAR. They have indicated that NASCAR has seen this car before and that it had passed previous inspections at other tracks. NASCAR’s position is very clear teams are not allowed to mess with the body of the car. They all must meet the common templates so that no one competitor has an advantage.
Watch RantSports.com for updates as this will be discussed at length during the coming weeks.
Follow me on Twitter @brian_jr1.