Drafting the Circuits

By: Kate Moss  @KateMossRadio

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On Tuesday, the No. 48 team is appealing a P1 penalty at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC.

Jimmie Johnson has been the subject of written warnings, penalties, and the latest – failing pre-race inspection at Pocono Raceway before the AXALTA 400 THREE times at the laser inspection station.

As a result of receiving written warnings in consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup races (one for exactly what happened today at Pocono – needing too many attempts at a pre-event inspection, today at Pocono before the race, at the All-Star race in Charlotte before qualifying, plus before the Coca Cola 600 for modifying a side skirt), Johnson’s team was penalized at a P1 level, with the possible result being the worst pick for pit selection last week at Dover.  Because of the appeal, the penalty has been deferred.

After winning last weekend at the Monster Mile, Johnson said ““definitely don’t agree with what has happened.  That is why the appeal has taken place.  I look forward to the appeal process running its course and respect it.  I certainly hope for a different outcome once everything runs its course.”

The  No. 48 camp has had their issues with penalties in the past, too.  In 2012, NASCAR suspended Crew Chief Chad Knaus and Car Chief Ron Malec,after they confiscated, according to NASCAR officials, illegal C-posts during inspection before the Daytona 500.  Knaus had to dig deep in his pockets, too, as he was fined $100,000, and even worse, was suspended for six races.  Twenty-five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points were also taken from Johnson.

Hendrick Motorsports’ owner Rick Hendrick appealed the penalties, which also deferred them.  At their final appeal, Hendrick won, which meant the points were returned to Johnson, and Knaus didn’t have to miss any races, or lose $100,000.

So, what will happen Tuesday?  After what happened today, I am doubtful that NASCAR will overturn the penalty, but that doesn’t mean that Johnson will have the worst pit selection at Michigan next weekend.  His team has a final appeal option if they lose their case.