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NASCAR sends message to Hendrick squads

Chad Knaus, crew chief for three-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, has a reputation for pushing the envelope when it comes to creative ways of finding speed for his racecars.

In effect, NASCAR on Wednesday sent a message to Knaus and fellow Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Alan Gustafson, who prepares the No. 5 cars for series points leader Mark Martin, to stop pushing, when it comes to certain areas of NASCAR's racecar.

After Johnson and Martin finished first and second, respectively, Sunday at Dover International Speedway, and after both passed post-race inspection at the track, NASCAR took their cars to its research-and-development center in Concord, N.C., for further examination.

"The 48 and 5 were brought back to the R and D center," NASCAR said in a statement released Thursday afternoon in response to media inquiries about the status of the two cars. "We've been doing this since the inception of the new car as a part of routine post-race inspection. We bring the winner and a random pick back to the R and D center after each event. While both cars passed post-race inspection, we informed the 48 and 5 they were extremely close on some of the tolerances."

The sanctioning body indicated Friday to Sporting News that the primary area of concern was the body at the rear of the car, which was approaching the limit of allowed deviation from the center line. In other words, the car was pushing the envelope in terms of the degree the body was "yawed-out" or offset.

NASCAR's implied admonition was clear -- don't risk penalties to the top two drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup by pushing the limits too far.

According to Sprint Cup Series director John Darby, the Hendrick cars exceeded the nominal values published in the rulebook and came close to overshooting the tolerance, or margin of error, NASCAR allows its competitors.

"The numbers that we publish in the rulebook in most cases are the nominal or 'Here's-what-you-must-be' numbers,'" Darby said. "The claw grid (templates) that we use, the height sticks -- most of our checking devices -- have that nominal number indicated, as well as colors. Take our height stick, for example. There's where the number's supposed to be, then a green area, a yellow area and a red area. The green is your working area that's published in the rulebook. Yellow is what we're going to give you in good faith. When you hit red, you've gone too far. If you want to relate it to that type of a situation, Hendrick's cars were at the line that defines the difference between yellow and red.

"There's no further to go. That means you're putting 100-percent confidence in NASCAR's officiating to duplicate that exact measurement week after week after week. On most occasions, we probably would be able to do that, but on the one week we go to the red side of that line, the risk and reward is just not worth playing it that close."




Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, speaks with Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg`s/CARQUEST Chevrolet during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday in Loudon, N.H. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, climbs from his car after being involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet SS, qualified fifth Friday, July 4, 2014 for Saturday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Johnson is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, left, talks with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on June 27, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, June 15, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. It was Johnson`s third win of the year and first at Michigan International Speedway.  He is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. With him is Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who finished thirteenth. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, June 15, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. It was Johnson`s third win of the year and first at Michigan International Speedway.  He is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, June 15, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. It was Johnson`s third win of the year and first at Michigan International Speedway.  He is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, and his daughter Genevieve Marie look at the Miles The Monster Trophy after Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 1, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 1, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 1, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 1, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, places the winner`s decal on his car after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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Mag - Unregistered

October 06, 2009 8:24 AM

Further proof that Hendrick cheats. Perhaps NASCAR should give warnings when any thing hits the "yellow area. Any "yellow" occurrence after a warning would result in a penalty.



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