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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 Pro Services Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, qualifies for tenth position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for seventh position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, August 16, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place with Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who finished in 20th place Sunday, August 16, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Josh Hedges/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eighth position Friday, August 14, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Johnson is fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, qualifies for seventh position Friday, August 14, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in tenth place Sunday, August 9, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, August 9, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. Harvick was leading into the last turn of the road track when he ran out of gas. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2015 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Chevrolet SS, qualifies for second position Saturday, August 8, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. Joining him on the front row will be pole winner AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Bush’s Beans Chevrolet SS. Truex Jr. is fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Bush’s Beans Chevrolet SS, captures the pole position Saturday, August 8, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. Joining him on the front row will be Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Chevrolet SS. Allmendinger is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing) (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Bush’s Beans Chevrolet SS, celebrates after capturing the pole position Saturday, August 8, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. Joining him on the front row will be Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Chevrolet SS. Allmendinger is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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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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