When a crew chief is informed before the race is over that his presence is requested at the NASCAR hauler immediately after the checkered flag, that’s usually not good news.
Especially if the person in question is six-time champion crew chief Chad Knaus.
But when Knaus reached the NASCAR hauler after the race, ultimately, it wound up being much ado about nothing, according to NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton.
Knaus had been beckoned by NASCAR officials because he wanted to put a wheel spacer on Jimmie Johnson’s car during the race to correct an issue, but was overruled by a NASCAR pit road official.
“Yeah, that’s basically it, but it’s fine,” Pemberton said. “Everything is done. We just wanted to clear the air, clarify everything. It’s really a non-issue.”
Just when fans thought there might be a hefty fine or suspension in the future for Knaus, no stranger to NASCAR penalties and suspensions, Pemberton said the entire incident was overblown.
“We just had a discussion on pit road between our official and Chad, and really it was just to discuss it, what they tried to do, and that’s it, really,” Pemberton said. “It was really not a big deal. We were just trying to clarify what went on, that’s all.”
It wasn’t like Johnson was running for the championship, because he had been eliminated at the end of the Contender’s Round four races ago.
While Knaus felt he was within his rights as a crew chief, the pit road official essentially said nay-nay.
“I’m not going to get into the weeds on that, but sometimes if you thought you had an issue with a wheel stud or something mechanical like that, you may need to put a spacer on to get some clean threads for the lug nuts,” Pemberton said. “I have no idea, and that’s not our question. It really is such a small, minute deal, it’s fine. Everything is good.”
The right protocol would have been for Knaus to ask the pit road official for permission to put in the spacer.
“That would be a better way to do that, yeah,” Pemberton said. “But in the heat of the battle, it’s fine. Everything is fine.”
And there will not be any penalties, either.
“No, it’s so far under (the NASCAR penalty threshold) that it’s ridiculous,” Pemberton said. “We’re good.”
Whoooo, thank goodness that’s cleared up.
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