Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Jimmie Johnson's Daytona 500 car failed
opening day inspection on Friday at Daytona International Speedway after
NASCAR officials discovered a template (body) violation on his car.
Officials found the "C-posts" -- the panel that connects the rear of the car's
roof to the top of the rear quarter panel or deck lid area -- to be illegal
and therefore confiscated the parts for further investigation at NASCAR's
Research and Development Center in Concord, NC.
"The 48 car had a body modification on it that was outside of what our
tolerances are or what the original surface definitions for the body were,"
Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said. "What you would normally see is
exactly what the original surface of the car should be.
"There were some obvious modifications that the template inspectors picked up
on, and we did some additional inspections with some gauges and stuff and
found that they were just too far out of tolerance to fix, so they were
removed from the car. I think the team is working now on getting the correct
pieces flown down here [from North Carolina], so they can get them all welded
Johnson's team must fix the issue on the car and remit it for inspection
before they can participate in the first practice for the Daytona 500, which
is scheduled for Saturday morning. Qualifying is slated for Sunday at 1:00
Penalties could be forthcoming to Johnson's No.48 Hendrick Motorsports team,
including possible suspension of crew chief Chad Knaus and other members of
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said any penalties
would be announced after Daytona Speedweeks concludes with the February 26
Daytona 500. Pemberton also noted this violation would not result in any
members of the No.48 team being ejected from the racetrack for the remainder
In 2006, Johnson's car failed post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500,
with officials discovering an unapproved template modification to the rear
window area. Knaus was not allowed to participate in any further Speedweeks
activities, including the Daytona 500. He was also suspended for the next
three Cup races and received a $25,000 fine.
Johnson went on to win the Daytona 500 for the first time in 2006, with Darian
Grubb serving as his interim crew chief at the time.
The Sports Network