NASCAR will expand its template to include the C-post area beginning with the event at Talladega Superspeedway in two weeks. The C-posts, the pillars that connect the car's roof to its rear deck lid, were deemed to be illegally modified on Jimmie Johnson's car in inspection prior to the Daytona 500. NASCAR initially suspended crew chief Chad Knaus for six races and docked Johnson 25 points, although those penalties were eventually overturned after a series of appeals.
"I'm very happy to hear there will not be a gray area there, but it does take away opportunities to work on the race car," Johnson said Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, site of Saturday night's Sprint Cup event. "But that's been a reality we've been faced with -- especially crew chiefs have been faced with -- for quite some time now. But I'm absolutely happy to hear that there's going to be one there."
Previously, the C-post had been suspect to only a visual inspection. Beginning at Talladega, the template used to examine each vehicle will be expanded to include the sheet metal of the C-post area. At Daytona, inspectors deemed that the C-posts on the No. 48 car had been modified illegally to enhance aerodynamic performance, something that is explicitly forbidden by the series rule book.
Hendrick Motorsports disagreed, claiming the same car with the same C-posts had passed inspection at restrictor-plate tracks before. The NASCAR penalties were originally upheld by a three-member group from the National Stock Car Appeals Panel. Hendrick made a final plea to Chief Appeals Officer John Middlebrook, who rescinded everything but a $100,000 fine handed down to Knaus.