By AMANDA VINCENT
On Tuesday, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel overturned a NASCAR penalty assessed to the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team (driver: Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus) that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
NASCAR issued written warnings to the No. 48 team over the course of two-consecutive race weekends at Charlotte Motor Speedway in late May, one the weekend of the Sprint All-Star Race and the other the following weekend after Coca-Cola 600 pre-qualifying inspection. The first warning was the result of the team pulling out a side skirt on the car during the All-Star Race. The second written warning came because the team had to go through inspection more than two times before finally passing the inspection process before Coca-Cola 600 qualifying.
As the result of the two written warnings issued during consecutive race weekends, the No. 48 received a penalty of last pit selection for the May 31 race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Because of the appeal, the penalty was deferred and the No. 48 team was able to make its pit selection in the order in which driver Jimmie Johnson qualified.
According to an annoouncement from the Appeals Panle, there was conclusive evidence that the side skirt incident did happen, but there was conflicting evidence regarding the inspection issue. Because of the conflicting evidence surrounding the inspection incident, the second written warning was thrown out by the Panel. the negation of that written warning eliminated the grounds for the pit selection penalty.
The National Motorsports Appeals Panel also found that warnings are not appealable.
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