DOVER, Del. – Jimmie Johnson expressed Hendrick Motorsports’ displeasure with a NASCAR penalty this week to his team but offered little else on the matter Friday morning.
NASCAR issued warnings to Johnson’s team for two consecutive events, triggering a P1 penalty – that the team would make among the last picks for its pit stall this weekend at Dover International Speedway regardless of how it qualifies. The pole-sitter gets first choice to pick their pit stall, followed by the second-fastest qualifier all the way to 43rd. With a tight pit road and track position so critical, the penalty had the potential to play a key role in Johnson’s performance Sunday. He seeks a record-extending 10th win at this track.
Hendrick Motorsports decided to appeal the penalty this week – thus the pit stall selection will be deferred. No date has been set for the appeal.
“We definitely don’t agree with what has happened,’’ Johnson said at Dover International Speedway. “That’s why the appeal has taken place. I look forward to the process taking its course and respect it and I certainly hope for a different outcome when everything runs its course.’’
NASCAR issued a warning to the team after the Sprint All-Star Race for modifying its side skirt during the event. The NASCAR rule book states that if officials determine a team has made an unapproved adjustment or modification to the car during the event, officials will order the vehicle go to pit road to “perform a satisfactory repair” before the returning to the event. That did not happen in Johnson’s case.
Instead, NASCAR announced after the All-Star race it was looking into a possible issue with Johnson’s team for modifying a side skirt. A warning was issued a few days later.
NASCAR announced this week that it had issued Johnson’s team a warning for failing to get through pre-qualifying inspection in a timely fashion for the Coca-Cola 600. That second warning led to the P1 penalty.
Johnson was asked Friday how much of a difference it would make not having to make the last pit stall selection – provided he doesn’t qualify last.
“I guess there is that part of it,’’ Johnson said. “My qualifying record of late hasn’t been so stellar. We won’t know the implication of that until after qualifying, obviously. We’ll find out then.’’