Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

NASCAR nabs Chad Knaus....again. And the first 'big one' of SpeedWeeks takes out Tony Stewart, Kurt and Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski

 This doesn't look pretty. Kurt Busch (51) sideways at 200 mph, after a bump by Tony Stewart (14). And AJ Allmendinger (22), Brad Keselowski (2), and Kyle Busch (18) are caught up. How Jeff Gordon (24) and Denny Hamlin (11) escaped is surprising. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern


   It didn't take long, Kyle Busch said with a grimace.
   Tony Stewart and brother Kurt Busch triggered a six-car crash Friday evening during the opening round of practice for Saturday night's Bud Shootout, the SpeedWeeks kickoff.
   Busch, Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski will thus all be going to backups for the 187-miler.

   Stewart could easily have gone to a backup too, but Greg Zipadelli, his new competition director, vetoed that and said the crew will make repairs…rather than risk tearing up another car.
   Stewart was pushing Kurt Busch in heavy traffic, and when Kurt moved a bit to the outside, to avoid some slower cars, Stewart wound up turning him. The two are not allowed to have radio communications, under a new NASCAR rule; whether that played a role is unclear.
   The new radio rule limits drivers to just radioing their teammates. Any other communication between drivers will have to go through the spotters. Some here think the limited radio communications could make the racing more dangerous.

     Kyle Busch: this car was hauled back to North Carolina for overnight repairs, to become another Daytona 500 backup (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   Kyle Busch saw the crash this way: brother Kurt Busch and Stewart were hooked up tight and trying to pass others on the outside, and Martin Truex Jr. "pulled up a little bit to kind of block them.
   "Kurt went up a little bit to try to go around him, and then they 'off-set' too much (with misaligned bumpers), and it turned Kurt around.
   "It's kind of a mish-mash out there, with who wants to push, who can push, and who's going to be in the pack-style of draft. Everyone started to get a little antsy: what moves can we make, how hard can we go, where can we push?"
   Stewart said since he was the 'pusher,' "I'm the one responsible for it.
   "I was pushing Kurt, and he had to move a little."
   Pushers at Daytona are driving blind, unable to see what the lead car sees, which led to numerous crashes last year at Daytona and Talladega.
    Kurt Busch, making his debut with team owner James Finch, didn't blame Stewart: "Tony was trying to help. And we were just trying to learn the draft. A couple of slow cars were in front of us, and I slid up to go around them; I thought it was smooth, but I got turned around."
    Finch has one of the smaller operations in this sport, and not as many spare cars as bigger teams. "With the limited number of cars we have, we just don't need to have wrecked cars," Kurt Busch frets.
   Kyle Busch said his car will be shipped back to North Carolina for repairs and returned to Daytona as a backup for the 500: "It just had too much significant damage to the nose."
   How much to read into the incident? "It's going to be fickle, because some guys may be able to push more than other guys," Kyle Busch says.
   Keselowski wasn't happy: "It's the first time we get on the track, and everybody is aggressive. Sometimes you get caught up in that."
   Allmendinger agreed: "Kurt Busch was moving around a lot; he was three-wide a couple of times. He made a late move around Martin Truex, and when you're pushing someone and you get off-center to the left side of the car, you're going to turn it."
   NASCAR has made a number of moves to try to limit the two-car drafts that dominated at Daytona and Talladega last year. One of those has been to limit engine cooling, figuring drivers will be forced to back off rather than overheat. However that might not be quite the way that plays out.
   "Cars in the pack are already overheating," Allmendinger says. "I still think in the end, with two to go or three to go, you're going to hook up and push….and just melt one down trying to get to the line."
   Allmendinger and Keselowski are teammates for Roger Penske.



Jimmie Johnson's C-post needs some major repairs before passing NASCAR inspection. Penalties coming for crew chief Chad Knaus? Maybe. But not till after the Daytona 500 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


  The cars were still in the garage Friday morning when the first big story broke here -- More aerodynamic tricks from Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus.
   That's what NASCAR officials are saying, after confiscating the C-posts from the Knaus-Johnson Chevrolet during Daytona 500 inspections.
  The C-post is the 'opera window' part of the greenhouse that holds the rear window glass in place. It is such an important part of a car's aerodynamics that rival crew chiefs said they were surprised at the incident, since NASCAR closely inspects that part.
   John Darby, NASCAR's Sprint Cup director, said the incident was similar to one involving Knaus and Johnson at Sonoma, Calif., three years ago, then involving unapproved modifications of the front fenders. Even though there might not be specific templates for all parts of the car, Darby said that since 2007 NASCAR has considered the entire body to be subject to body rules.
   Knaus' crew was told to cut the offending pieces off (pieces about the size of a laptop) and replace them. Johnson will still be allowed to race the car in the 500. There was apparently no such issue with the team's Bud Shootout car or with any of the other Rick Hendrick cars.
   NASCAR, however, said further penalties could be coming, though nothing will be done until Tuesday Feb. 28th, after the 500.
  According to some here, several other cars had similar C-post issues, but Knaus' car was the most obvious.
   The issue raises the question why NASCAR doesn't inspect all the Daytona 500 cars at its high-tech Charlotte R&D shop in late January or early February and then seal them all for shipment to this track. That would certainly be a more efficient use of time. Teams already have to have their chassis inspected by the R&D shop before coming to Daytona. And crews here Friday said it wouldn't be much of an issue with them.
   Darby, however, said such pre-race inspections would be "logistically impossible."
   The Shootout was originally designed as a race only open to the previous season's pole winners. However when sponsor Budweiser dropped its weekly pole awards a few years ago, the entry rules became a bit skewed.
   This year, for example, nine men in the 25-car field could be questioned because they didn't win a Sprint Cup race in 2011…while Regan Smith and Trevor Bayne, both winners last season, are on the sidelines.
   Bayne was eligible but couldn't not line up a car.
   Smith, who won at Darlington, finished 26th in owner standings, missing the top-25 cut; however two of the teams that finished above Smith, the two Red Bull teams, have since disbanded.
   The 8 p.m. Shootout, 187 miles, is part of a double-header, with the ARCA 200 at 4:30 p.m. Bobby Gerhart won the ARCA pole, but his time was later disallowed for unspecified engine violations.

   Crew chief Chad Knaus: in the NASCAR doghouse again. Stay tuned.  (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Thank you Chad for keeping

Thank you Chad for keeping the faith and pushing the envelope on these IROC cars! Wish more had the cajones to do the same. Rock on and thanks for fighting the system and these boring cars.

Suspend him the rest of this

Suspend him the rest of this season, what a joke !

Chad is doing his job. NASCAR

Chad is doing his job. NASCAR has gone too far with this spec racing. For all you fans that joined up in the late 80's or 90's, there were a bunch of mechanics that stretched the rules, it was called innovation, it's what built NASCAR, not spec bodies, chassis, engines. It wasn't 7 post rigs, it wasn't engineers, (they all worked for the manufacturers) it was hands dirty mechanics and imagination and innovation. It was trial and error. That was racing. High praise to Chad and the others that still try to get ahead of their competition by interpreting the rules with innovation. What is comical is that as in days gone by somebody like Chad would make an obvious departure from the rule book so when the inspectors found that, something else better was missed. Innovating, interpretation, is not cheating, it's doing your job as a crew chief. Maybe kind of like being 6-7 miles an hour slower in practice than everyone else and then bingo, on race day you happen to find that speed and more. It's racing folks.

To mrclause you are right,

To mrclause you are right, and you are wrong. I agree the days of innovation were better but since they do have these new rules and everyone else is following these new rules it is different. If Chad knows the rules, and I'm sure he does, then it is no longer innovation, streaching, bending or whatever...It's cheating. He got caught. Just that simple and I hope the penalty is big this time.

ever wonder how jimmie became

ever wonder how jimmie became ole 5 time? Mr Hendrick was asked about his car and says this is the same car jimmie raced in all four plate races last year. this is the same car chad told jimmie to tear the backend up if he won at dega. the same car nascar took to the r&d center, with no mention of anything out of place. so how many other illegal cars has jimmie won championships with that nascar techs didnt find anything wrong with.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com