Oops, Chad did it again.

The hammer came down yesterday for Chad Knaus.  Jimmie Johnson’s car failed opening-day inspection.  His car was found to have an illegal C-post.  A C-post is a body panel that runs from the rear of the roof to the deck lid.  any kind of modification can give the car an aerodynamic advantage.  NASCAR has suspended Chad Knaus for 6 races and docked $100,000.  Jimmie Johnson has been docked 25 driver points. Hendrick Motorsports is appealing the suspension.

This is not the first time Chad has been suspended by NASCAR, but it has been the first time since 2007 when he was suspended in 2007 for 6 weeks.  NASCAR has suspended Chad 4 times.  So this begs the question, is the punishment too harsh for Chad?

I have been on the fence about this question.  On one hand Jimmie’s car that had the illegal part had not even seen the track.  So technically, Jimmie didn’t get an unfair advantage.  But Chad is a repeat offender.  NASCAR I am sure has been scratching their head on this one.  One would think after his suspension in 2007, the message would have been received.  With repeat offenders, you have to continue to amp up the punishments to try to get the crew chiefs to understand you don’t mess with car.  If this had been a first time offense for Chad I would be all over this one saying it was way too harsh.  But I with his history of violations, I believe NASCAR had to issue the 6 race suspension.

There is great pressure on not only Chad, but other crew chiefs in the garage.  NASCAR is a sport of performance and if you aren’t performing you are out of a job and probably sponsorship.  After all NASCAR is a business.  The crew chief’s job is to set up the car each week to be better than everyone else on the track.  The pressure to win not only races, but championships at HMS is very high.  I can’t imagine what kind of pressure Chad is under every week.  Chad’s job is try to push the envelope to get everything out of Jimmie’s car.  All crew chief’s do this on a weekly basis.  The #48 team is probably scrutinized more than other teams I suspect.  I mean he is a 5-time champion and is a threat to win every week.  That is why I think Chad would be watchful of trying to modify the car that would call his actions into question.

Chad was not the only that received punishment.  Car chief Ron Malec has also been suspended for 6 races.  Car owner Jeff Gordon has been docked 25 owner points.  Jimmie Johnson has been docked 25 driver points.  With Johnson’s finish this past Monday night, he left Daytona with only 2 points.  Now with this penalty, he will be heading into Phoenix -23 points and 43rd in the standings. 

Jimmie shouldn’t worry about his standings at this point in the season.  This is only the 2nd week of the season and there is still a lot of racing left.  Remember, he is the only driver to make the Chase every year since it’s inception.  I don’t doubt Jimmie will be there challenging for the 2012 championship.

Fireworks!

I can’t believe I haven’t been here in The Park for a few weeks.  It has been somewhat crazy in my life.  I am still adjusting to a new little one in the house, but it has been fun. 

I have been watching quite a bit of NASCAR lately that I haven’t ignored.  There has been some greating racing over the last few weeks and last night was no exception.  I didn’t get a heck of a lot of race watching in because we had some friends over for the 4th.  As we all racing at Daytona doesn’t disappoint the fans.  Because there was a rainout of qualifying and by virtue of the rules, Tony was once again sitting in the cat bird’s seat at the start of the race.  But Daytona is one of those tracks where starting up front doesn’t necessarily give you an advantage. However, it doesn’t hurt.  From the part of the race I did get to watch Tony had everything dialed last night.  After shooting off fireworks outside with friends, family and a few neighbors, I came back in to watch some more fireworks. Tony was clearly headed for his second win of the season in my book, but with a late caution and the laps winding down it looks like it wasn’t going to be easy.  With the double file restarts that put Kyle Busch on the outside of Tony on the front row.  As the green flag dropped they were off.   Klye go around Tony and took the lead and the white flag, but this IS Daytona.  It ain’t over until the checkered flag is flown and the car in lead crosses the finish line.  Tony got behind Kyle in order to make his move.  As Tony moved out from behind the #18, Kyle went to block and that’s when this went crazy.  Kyle clipped Tony’s front bumper and well, into the wall went Kyle as Tony crossed the finish line victorious.  Unfortunately, Kyle got the worse end of it courtesy of Kasey’s #9 and a few other cars.   I was so excited and yes that was me and the rest of the Smoke fans cheering.  Congratulations Tony!

For those out there who may think Tony took Kyle out for the victory are just plain wrong.  It was racing.  We all knew something was going to happen.  Would I have been upset if it was Tony hitting the wall?  I am sure I would have been, but I would hope after seeing the footage I would have seen it was just a racing deal.  I hope that I would have had the objectivity to see that it was racing deal if the tables were turned.  Even in the post race interview with TNT, Tony seemed bothered by the end of the race.  TNT of course didn’t show much post race coverage, but I wonder what Kyle was thinking about the results.  I would hope he would understand like Tony it was racing.  That’s it…racing!  When you have two passionate racers like Tony and Kyle challenging for the win they would understand how things work.  Now matter what they put on a good show.

Now for the last couple of weeks…

  • I loved how the road race turned out.  I would have loved Tony to have one, but I was happy for Kasey.  I mean when you hold off one of the better road racers towards the end, you deserve the win. 
  • Congratulations to Joey Lagano for his first NASCAR win last week at New Hampshire.  I know there are those who think it wasn’t fair to get your first win on a rain shortened race, but who cares.  A win is  a win.  I am sure Joey would have like to continue the race and caputre the win a different way, but Mother Nature had other ideas.   Isn’t part of racing out thinking the other teams?  The leaders had the same opportunity to start out, but they chose to pit.  It’s not like Zippy hasn’t seen a few of these situations before.  I mean he has two championships under his belt.  Besides, Joey would have had to pit if the race had continued.  I thought it was very classy of Tony to come over and congratulate Joey and Zippy. 
  • Doube file restarts have brought a little excitement back into the racing and are going to start playing into some teams’ strategies if they have already.  I still want to see how the double file restarts would fair in trucks.  The trucks already put on some of the best racing around.  Can you imagine what double file restarts would do?
  • Jeremy Mayfield…this is going to get messier before things all settle out.  As I have said before this is going to be interesting to see if NASCAR’s drug policy stands up to scruntiny.  I haven’t said too much about the whole Jeremy saga in The Park, but the only thing that bothers is the fact he didn’t tell NASCAR about the prescription he was taking prior to the drug test.  If anything that can come out of all is that NASCAR can step and reexam it’s drug policies and procedures, then so be it.

I hope to get back on track with things here in The Park now that I have a handle on things on the home front.  I hope everyone had a great 4th of July.