Next week in a room at NASCAR’s R&D facility in Concord, N.C., retired General Motors executive John Middlebrook will hear the final appeal of Hendrick Motorsports. The crime of course being “c-posts” that, according to NASCAR, did not meet specifications.
Soon after, we’ll learn what Middlebrook’s decision is. Given his past, there is a chance the penalty could be lessened. Either way, you better believe the Hendrick media machine will be in overdrive.
For weeks, the team has displayed shock that NASCAR issued this penalty. Rick Hendrick said “the system broke down” and Chad Knaus said there was a “bit of subjectiveness” to the penalty. I mean, it’s unbelievable that Knaus could be getting penalized for working outside the rulebook, right?
What’s that you say Lee Spencer?
One needs a scorecard to keep up with [Knaus'] infractions in 2002, 2003 (twice), 2005 (but his suspension was overturned on appeal), 2006 (four-race suspension), 2007 (six-race suspension) and 2009 (during the Chase, when the Cup Series director called Knaus’ handywork “close to the tolerances” but never penalized the Nos. 5 or 48 Hendrick Motorsports teams).
Well, there’s that I guess.
The truth is, despite his objections to the contrary, Chad Knaus very likely knew what the team was doing. And if he did, then he deserves to get sanctioned – if he didn’t, he’s not doing his job very well.
Time after time we listen to these teams act like some rogue employee made the offending change to the car – or in this case, that no penalty had even occurred. They’re of course doing it for the sake of perception – and I can understand that – but don’t expect us to believe it.