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Johnson penalised for illegal bodywork

Jimmie Johnson's dismal start to the 2012 season got the perfect capper, with heavy penalties for a rules infringement leaving him with negative points and no crew chief.
Jimmie Johnson knew it was coming, but confirmation of the penalty for illegal bodywork on the #48 discovered on the first day of 2012 Speedweeks was the worst possible way to end a horrible Daytona 500. And the size of the penalties was bigger than expected, if not exactly a huge surprise.

Even before track activity got underway at Daytona nearly two weeks ago, the #48 failed pre-practice scrutineering when it was found that the 'C' posts that connect the roof to the deck of the car had been illegally modified outside of NASCAR specifications, seemingly in an attempt to gain aerodynamic advantage in the way that the air was channelled to the rear spoiler.

Following the conclusion of the Daytona 500, NASCAR handed down penalties on Wednesday to Johnson, the team, the car chief - and the crew chief, Chad Knaus.

Johnson himself has been docked 25pts, meaning that he is now left on negative points, since an early accident in the Daytona 500 sparked when Elliott Sadler ran into the back of the #48 at the start of lap 2 left Johnson classified in next-to-last place and with just 2pts in his account.

After the penalty is applied Johnson now has -23pts to overcome before he can even start his 2012 Sprint Cup season properly. It means he's currently in 49th place in the Cup standings.

Chad Knaus has been suspended from the next six Sprint Cup events, and additionally fined $100,000. The car chief of the #48, Ron Malec, was also suspended for six races. Both men have been suspended from NASCAR until April 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until May 9.

The team itself also loses 25 car owner points, which means that the #48 could lose its place in the top 35 that assures entry to races from Martinsville onwards. However, Johnson would be able to apply a champions provisional entry to make sure he doesn't have to rely on qualifying performance to make the grid while he recovers lost ground.

However the team is not happy with the penalties, and says that it will appeal the decision through the formal process.

"Our organisation respects NASCAR and the way the sanctioning body governs our sport," said team owner Rick Hendrick in a statement. "In this case, though, the system broke down, and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process."

The specific rule that NASCAR have deemed the #48 broke was section 20-2.1E, "unapproved car body modifications, specifically any part of the car modified to enhance aerodynamic performance."




Related Pictures

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The #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson [Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR]
Jimmie Johnson in the garage area. [Photo credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR]
#48 driver Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus at Pocono Raceway. [Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images]
Crew chief Chad Knaus reacts as crew members work on the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson after NASCAR confiscated C-posts due to a modification violation in an initial inspection at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Crew members work on the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson after NASCAR confiscated C-posts due to a modification violation in an initial inspection at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/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)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway on 30 May 2015. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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)

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