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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)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits along with the rest of the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, won the Pole position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. It was Harvick`s sixth pole win of the 2014 season. He is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart at Dover International Speedway on May 30 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR Media)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with his wife DeLana, son Keelan, and the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, poses with the trophy in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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