Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Sprint Cup [Print without images]

Friday, March 9, 2012
Jimmie Johnson appeal to be heard

By David Newton
ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hendrick Motorsports' appeal of penalties NASCAR levied against the team of five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will be heard on Tuesday by the National Stock Car Racing Commission.

NASCAR suspended Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, for six weeks, fined him $100,000 and docked the team 25 points for violations discovered during initial inspection prior to the Daytona 500. Car chief Ron Malec also was suspended for six weeks.

HMS owner Rick Hendrick immediately appealed the penalty, allowing Knaus and Malec to work with the team until the appeal is heard. Both were at Phoenix last weekend and are at Las Vegas this weekend.

The points penalty was applied immediately and will not be removed unless the appeal is successful. Johnson is 37th in points, 71 behind Phoenix winner and Chase for the Cup leader Denny Hamlin, after two races.

"Our organization respects NASCAR and the way the sanctioning body governs our sport," Hendrick said in a statement after the penalties were issued. "In this case, though, the system broke down and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process."

The penalties are the result of what NASCAR officials considered illegal C-posts -- pillars that come down from the roof to the quarter panel -- to gain an aerodynamic advantage.

Officials confiscated the C-posts during the initial inspection process at Daytona International Speedway. Series director John Darby said the alterations were so obvious they could be seen by the naked eye.

The Hendrick Motorsports team was allowed to replace the pillars and continue with Speedweeks.

One of HMS's big issues is the parts were confiscated prior to the car going through inspection.