Jimmie Johnson’s Crew Chief Suspended Six Races [UPDATE]
If being knocked out of the Daytona 500 after only two laps wasn't bad enough, Jimmie Johnson has now lost his Crew Chief Chad Knaus for the next six races.
The suspension stems from a failed inspection in the week leading up to the Daytona 500. NASCAR said the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet had illegally modified sheet metal between the roof and the side windows. In addition to the suspension, Knaus has been fined $100, 000. Car Chief Ron Melec has also been suspended for six races and Johnson has been docked 25 points, putting him in last place in the Sprint Cup Standings.
This is not the first time Knaus has been suspended. He has felt the wrath from NASCAR on four other occasions- most recently in 2006, when he was accused of an illegal adjustment to the rear window of Johnson's car during Daytona 500 qualifying rounds. Johnson would go on to win that race.
Hendrick Motorsports immediately said it would appeal the suspension.
UPDATE (3/13): An appeals panel upheld the penalties that were levied against Knaus. The 3 person panel heard testimony from Hendrick Motorsports as well and NASCAR and voted unanimously in favor of the sanctions. Team Owner Rick Hendrick was none to pleased with the decision saying "I Don't accept it, Period".
Hendrick Motorsports will now appeal toNASCAR's chief appellate officer. During this appeal process Knaus will be able to act as Crew Chief in this weekend's race in Bristol.