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Jimmie Johnson's #48 Hendrick Motorsports team lose penalty appeal

Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, Hendrick Motorsports, 2012Hendrick Motorsports has lost its first appeal against penalties imposed to Jimmie Johnson's team following the Daytona 500.

The National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel met Tuesday to hear arguments and testimony presented by Hendrick Motorsports but following nearly five hours of deliberating, decided to unanimously uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR to the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team.

"Upon hearing the testimony, carefully reviewing the facts and historically comparative penalties, the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel was to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR," read a statement issued by the governing body.

Johnson's car failed the opening inspection for the Daytona 500 on February 17, officials deeming the C-posts on the car, parts made of sheet metal that connect the roof to the rear quarter panel, did not conform to the regulations. The parts were cut from the bodywork and confiscated by NASCAR.

The penalties issued two weeks ago include a six-race suspension for Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus, car chief Ron Malec, a US $100.000 fine for Knaus and the docking of 25 points in the drivers and owners standing for the #48 team.

However, Rick Hendrick will take the issue to a further and final instance, the Chief Appellate Officer, which means the penalties continue to be suspended until this final hearing. Knaus and Malec will thus be at Bristol next weekend for round four of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

"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."

A date for the new and final hearing has yet to be issued.

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