Tuesday, March 13, 2012 – A three-member National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel upheld penalties assessed against Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, and crew chief Chad Knaus for violations uncovered during opening-day inspection at Daytona International Speedway. Those penalties consisted of a $100,000 fine and six-race suspension for Knaus; a six-race suspension for car chief Ron Malek; the loss of 25 championship driver points for Johnson; and the loss of 25 championship owner points for team owner Jeff Gordon.
• Knaus was penalized for what NASCAR officials deemed “unapproved body modifications,” illegally modified sheet metal located between the roof and window areas of the team’s car. Knaus said that the vehicle had not been through the inspection process when NASCAR officials deemed it illegal.
• HMS officials filed for a final appeal before Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook. On March 20, Middlebrook ruled in favor of the No. 48 team, rescinding the loss of driver/owner points as well as the six-race suspensions of Knaus and Malek. He did not, however, alter the $100,000 fine levied against Knaus.