AVONDALE, Az. -- Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet, said today that he's focused on the Sprint Cup race this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway while he awaits an appeal of the punishment handed down by NASCAR this week related to unapproved modifications of C-posts prior to the Daytona 500.
Knaus was fined $100,000 and suspended for six races for the violation. A date for the appeal to be heard as not been set and Knaus is allowed to work until the appeal hearing.
"Obviously, I'm deeply saddened of course. We didn't expect this," Knaus said at the track this morning. "It's not the way we wanted to start off the season but it's good to have the support of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and we'll go after this thing and hopefully get it resolved and get back to business. Right now we're focused on Phoenix and trying to win this championship."
Asked if he anticipated a problem, Knaus said it took him by surprise.
"I didn't expect any of it to be honest with you. We do everything we can to build the best race cars we possibly can to bring to the race track and that's what we do. Unfortunately, they didn't like something so we've got to address that," Knaus said.
Knaus reiterated team owner Rick Hendrick's earlier statement that the car was no different than the cars the No. 48 team ran in all four restrictor plate races last year, each of which passed inspection.
"It did run all four (plate) races last year and went through inspection," Knaus said.
Knaus said the violation was determined through a visual inspection.
"The templates were never actually put on the car," Knaus said.
-- Ron Green Jr