What a weekend for racing fans, as the Nationwide race had its highest rating on cable television and the Cup race had over 36.5 million viewers on a Monday night on Fox TV. Then there was Brad Keselowski the driver of the number two Miller Lite dodge who became famous because he had his phone in his car and was tweeting during a two hour red flag. Oh yeah the red flag, that was caused by Juan Pablo Montoya’s car breaking during a caution lap that sent him speeding out of control into a jet dryer. So, while none of this was planned by NASCAR, they fell right into a perfect situation to expose their sport to the masses.
However, that’s not what the title of this article is referring to. I’m referring to the powers that be in the Sprint Cup series that determined the penalties levied against the forty-eight team. In case you missed it, Jimmy Johnson’s team was caught during the week with C-Posts that didn’t measure up to specifications put in place by NASCAR.
Let’s remember that the team led by crew chief Chad Knaus has been in trouble in past years for trying to push the envelope. Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus first entered the Sprint Cup Series in February of 2002. Then a few months later, on July 11, Chad was fined $25,000 for improperly installed mounting bolts. Jimmie Johnson was fined 25 championship points and team owner Rick Hendrick was fined 25 owner points. In 2005, Johnson's Las Vegas winning car failed to meet the minimum height in post race inspection. The team was docked 25 championship points, which knocked Jimmie out of the points lead, and Chad was fined $35,000 and put on probation for 90 days. Then 2006 arrived and Knaus was back to his old ways at Speedweeks , as the forty-eight team failed post qualifying inspection which resulted in Chad being kicked out of Daytona prior to the 500. He was suspended for four races for raising the rear window on Johnson's car to alter the aerodynamics and help make the car go faster.
In 2012, the penalty for the forty-eight team was both the crew chief and car chief being suspended for six races, a fine of $100,000, and Jimmy Johnson being penalized 25pts. This means that Johnson enters Phoenix twenty three points in the negative. It may seem harsh to someone who doesn’t know Chad’s history but those that cover the sport and are objective understand this is more than fair.
How much longer will this go on before Chad is suspended for a season or kicked out of the sport all together?