Race Weekend Central

Middlebrook Overturns Hendrick Penalties; Fine Stands

Tuesday’s appeal (March 20) was the last hope for Hendrick Motorsports’ No 48 team, and as it turns, out their best hope, as most of the penalties levied at Daytona were reversed by Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook.

All that remains of NASCAR’s original penalty is a $100,000 monetary fine for crew chief Chad Knaus. In addition, Knaus and car chief Ron Malec will remain on probation until May 9.

Middlebrook overturned six-week suspensions for both Knaus and Malec and restored 25 driver points to Jimmie Johnson and 25 owner points to owner-of-record Jeff Gordon. Johnson will now sit 11th in points headed to Auto Club Speedway, the site of his first Sprint Cup victory in 2002.

Middlebrook did not offer an explanation of his decision, which was rendered after hearing arguments from both Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR on Tuesday.

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