Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What we didn't learn from Jimmie Johnson's appeal

   Two appeals and a month later, what have we learned from NASCAR's attempt to lower the boom on crew chief Chad Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports' No. 48 team?

   Honestly, not much. In fact, the situation is more confusing than ever.

   After NASCAR's chief appellate officer, John Middlebrook, rescinded the six-week suspensions of Knaus and car chief Ron Malec and the 25-point driver and owner penalties this week, Hendrick officials – perhaps rightfully so – believed their claims of innocence were validated by the decision.

   But were they?

   Yes, Johnson got his points back and Knaus and Malec will remain working at the track, yet Middlebrook left intact the $100,000 fine against Knaus and the probation period assigned to both Knaus and Malec until May 9.

   If Hendrick was cleared of all charges, why does the fine and probation remain?

   Given the remaining penalties left intact, it appears Middlebrook thought Knaus and Malec still did something wrong. But what?

   In his statement announcing his decision, Middlebrook declined to give the reasoning behind his decision. Absent any comment from Middlebrook, we are left to guess what parts of this entire process Middlebrook thought were handled wrong and which were correct.

   In other words, we are no better off now than we were when this issue first arose at Daytona.

   NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports and all the other Sprint Cup Series teams are left with no direction as to how to proceed from here.

   In the American court system, appellate courts issue written opinions with their decision with the purpose to offer guidance to the lower courts as to how to deal with similar issues when they come up again.

   No such help here.  

   As long as they are willing to pay a big fine, it appears teams can continue to do whatever it was the No. 48 team was doing on their car at Daytona.

   A month later, no one still has any idea whether it was right or wrong.


  1. Big Black Eye for NASCAR. Smells of conspiracy, payola, or whatever you choose to call it in terms of lack of credibility.

    I have lost a tremendous amount of respect and willingness to support NASCAR as a fan with this decision.

    After a 3 person panel has upheld a specific ruling and then a single individual that is not only a close personal friend of the team owner in question, but also loyal to the manufacturer in question is allowed to render this type of judgement, I can't help but call out NASCAR and their management for allowing this to occur.

  2. Yaaaawwwnnnn.....Just another double, double, super secret penalty.

    This smells! Convicted Felon Motorsports smells and NASCAR smells of no-good!