Chad Knaus called on carpet by NASCAR, but incident is swept under it


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.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.