The appeal on the penalties given out by NASCAR has been rejected. Chad Knaus’ suspension and Jimmie Johnson’s point penalty will remain in tact.
The season has not started well for 5-Time champion Jimmie Johnson. Early in Speedweeks the #48 car failed NASCAR inspection for what was deemed illegal C-Pillars. NASCAR removed said pillars and allowed the team to weld on new ones and continue through the events of Speedweeks after passing another inspection.
Now that Speedweeks has concluded NASCAR has levied out penalties for the team: 25 Driver/Owner Points and a $100,000, 6 week suspension on crew chief Chad Knaus. Having finished 42nd after wrecking on the second lap of the 500, this penalty leaves Johnson (and owner Jeff Gordon) at -23 points (-70 from Driver Matt Kenseth, Owner Jack Roush) going into Phoenix next week.
Rick Hendrick talked to the press saying that the car had passed race inspections last season and all of their pre-season inspections. He went on to say “the system broke down, and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process.”
Knaus’ suspension will not be in place until the appeals process has been completed. However, he is on probation until May 9th. This is the 10th time that Knaus has been penalized by NASCAR for some kind of violation.
Prior to the Daytona 500 Ford had announced its new 2013 Cup car, showing off the new styling as NASCAR is allowing more likeness to production models. Dodge was planning on doing their unveiling of the Cup 2013 Charger before the race at Phoenix. However, now its unknown whether there will be any one to drive the recently developed car.
Roger Penske, owner of the #2 Brad Keselowski and #22 A.J. Almendinger, is expected to announce their switch to Ford for the 2013 season.
The only other driver currently driving a Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series is Robby Gordon. Gordon obtains his engines through a deal with Penske, so it is expected he will also be making the switch next season, leaving Chevy, Ford and Toyota as the 3 manufactures in Sprint Cup.
Dodge made its re-entry into NASCAR in 2001, to much fanfare, with the Intrepid. The first year of the CoT introduced the Avenger, and they’ve been driving the Charger in the series since 2008. More and more teams have gradually been switching away from the manufacture.
Dodge has experienced better success in the Nationwide series, winning the championship a couple years ago with driver Brad Keselowski. However, since the switch to the Challenger CoT platform it has been without factory support, and only fielding 3 cars.
Penske, Ford and Dodge have not made any comments on the rumors. Dodge specifically has not said if there have been any changes to their unveiling plans.
[UPDATE] Penske officially announced a long term deal to drive Fords in the Sprint and Nationwide series starting in 2013 (3/01/2012)
[UPDATE] Dodge unveiled their 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Charger as planned at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. Still uncertain of who will drive it, Dodge is confident it will be put to use. (3/12/2012)
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Dodge Charger:
For a look at Ford’s 2013 Sprint Cup Fusion click the link below.