Appeals panel upholds penalty to Jimmie Johnson's team, Knaus
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(NASCAR) - The National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel upheld penalties issued to the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team Tuesday, keeping Jimmie Johnson outside the top 20 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings.
After a five-hour appeal hearing at NASCAR's research and development center in Concord, N.C., the three-member panel unanimously ruled to retain the original penalties for illegal modifications to Johnson's No. 48 car for the Daytona 500.
Johnson's car flunked pre-race inspection Feb. 17 before the season-opening race, held 10 days later. The "C" posts that connect the roof to the rear deck lid were confiscated after officials ruled the bodywork measurements to be too far out of tolerance to fit NASCAR templates.
On Feb. 29, NASCAR docked Johnson and his team 25 points apiece for the violations and suspended crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec six races each. Knaus was also assessed a $100,000 fine.
Hendrick Motorsports indicated that it would request an appeal to Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, the final level of the process. The decision means Knaus will remain on the pit box for Johnson's No. 48 this weekend at Bristol, Tenn.
"The panel was generous with its time today, and we appreciated the opportunity to talk through our concerns," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We feel strongly about this issue and will continue to pursue it at the next level."
After his second-place run last weekend at Las Vegas, Johnson stands 23rd in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points, 64 behind standings leader Greg Biffle.
Updated March 13, 2012