Jimmie Johnson penalised, crew chief suspended after failing technical inspection

Jimmie Johnson will enter next weekend's Sprint Cup race with a negative points total following penalties for infringements found on his car during Daytona events

Jimmie Johnson penalised, crew chief suspended after failing technical inspection

The #48 car of the five-time Sprint Cup Series champion failed the opening technical inspection for the Daytona 500, officials finding unapproved modifications to the rear bodywork in both C-posts, parts made of sheet metal that connect the roof to the rear quarter panel on both sides of the car.

The parts were cut from the car and confiscated by NASCAR immediately on February 17th, before the car had even turned a wheel on the track.

NASCAR announced Wednesday that as a result, the team's crew chief Chad Knaus, who has been with Johnson in his five championship seasons, has been suspended for the next six Sprint Cup Series races, and fined US 100,000. The team's car chief, Ron Malec, has also been suspended until April 18.

Johnson and car owner Jeff Gordon have also been docked 25 points in the drivers and owners point standings, which means the 48 team starts the season with a deficit of 23 points, as the Hendrick driver was involved in a heavy accident starting the second lap of Monday's rain-delayed event, being credited in the end with a 42nd place which gives two points.

Following NASCAR's ruling, Hendrick Motorsports immediately announced it will appeal the decision of the governing body, which suspends the penalties and allow Knaus and Malec to work at Phoenix next weekend. The team also stated it doesn't have any personnel adjustments planned while the appeal is ongoing.

"Our organization respects NASCAR and the way the sanctioning body governs our sport," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports in a team statement. "In this case, though, the system broke down, and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process."

Regardless of the penalties standing, this is Johnson's worst season start in the Sprint Cup Series, which contrasts with six years ago, when his crew Chief Chad Knaus was also suspended, back then from Daytona events, following technical rules violations.

Knaus was last suspended in 2007 for six weeks after Johnson's car failed inspection at Infineon Raceway in one of the first events when the 'Car of Tomorrow' was implemented. In total, he has been penalized nine times in his career as a Sprint Cup driver, seven times acting as Johnson's crew chief.

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Series NASCAR
Author Diego Mejía
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