Chad Knaus loses appeal

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Chad Knaus (right), crew chief for Jimmie Johnson (left), lost an appeal of his six-race suspension and $100,000 fine on Tuesday.   FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Chad Knaus (right), crew chief for Jimmie Johnson (left), lost an appeal of his six-race suspension and $100,000 fine on Tuesday.

CONCORD, N.C. — The crew chief for five-time champion Jimmie Johnson lost his appeal Tuesday challenging penalties for failing the opening day inspection at the Daytona 500.

The three-member committee heard testimony from Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR, then ruled unanimously in favor of the sanctions against Chad Knaus.

NASCAR said Knaus presented a car that had illegally modified sheet metal between the roof and the side windows. Knaus maintains NASCAR made that determination with a visual inspection, the No. 48 Chevrolet never even made it to the templates at Daytona, and the car had been used at all four restrictor-plate races in 2011.

Team owner Rick Hendrick said the team will appeal to the National Stock Car Racing chief appellate officer, and Knaus will work this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway during the appeal process.

“I don’t accept it,” Hend­rick said. “Period.”

Knaus was suspended six races and fined $100,000; Johnson was docked 25 points; and car chief Ron Malec also was suspended six races.

Knaus’ appeal was heard by former USAC chairman John Capels, former Indy Racing League and Goodyear executive Leo Mehl and Dale Pinilis, operator of Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

“I’d say these guys were very capable people,” Hendrick said.

“It’s just hard to have someone try to digest everything that you have to digest in this situation.”

Still, Hendrick “applauded” NASCAR for allowing an appeals process.

The next step for Knaus is a hearing before John Middlebrook, who was appointed in early 2010 as the final judge in NASCAR’s appeals process.


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