Jimmie Johnson’s team wins appeal but still seeking clarification on NASCAR warnings

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CONCORD, N.C. — Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 team won its appeal Tuesday to overturn a P1 penalty, but crew chief Chad Knaus still awaits more clarity on its exposure to future punishment.

NASCAR issued the penalty of last choice in pit stalls for the next race after the team received written warnings in consecutive Sprint Cup events (the All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway). The punishment was deferred for Tuesday’s appeal hearing at the NASCAR R&D Center.

Written warnings are cumulative over the course of a season, and if a team receives six over a six-month period following the first, it could result in a P2 penalty. Per the 2015 NASCAR rulebook, a P2 penalty would result in at least one (and possibly more) of the following: loss of 10 championship driver and owner points; $10,000-$25,000 fine; suspension for the crew chief,and/or any other team members for at least one race; probation through the end of the calendar year for the crew chief.

Johnson’s team has received three warnings this season and could face another after failing prerace inspection three times Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

At a news conference with a small group of news reporters shortly after the result was announced, Knaus said Hendrick Motorsports’ appeal was as much about understanding the new system, which was introduced last year, as contesting the penalty.

“If you look at the way warning schedule is, and the way the penalties can start to accumulate over a period of time, we needed to understand the methodology behind that, and we have a better understanding of that now,” he said. “I think that with all the teams and NASCAR, we’re all going to have some more conversations in the future about how the warnings are applied and can be contested.

“That was the big reason we’re here. We need to get in here and understand the format, the system and thankfully, we have a system like this. I think it’s great that NASCAR is willing to have an open forum to where we can get together, chat and have a face to face conversation about it and try to get some clarification.”

Knaus, who attended the appeal hearing with team owner Rick Hendrick and car chief Ron Malec, said the team was unsure if there would be a reduction in warnings.

“That’s the reason we’re here, to understand the format and how all that stuff is going to play out,” Knaus said. “As of right now we’re waiting to get clarification on the warnings from the hearing. So we know the penalty is gone. We’ll know more probably around the same time you guys do.”

According to the rulebook, NASCAR can issue written warnings instead of penalties “for certain types of very minor, first-time infractions.”

The tricky part of the new system is a warning isn’t appealable, but a punishment resulting from a warning is. NASCAR, at its discretion, can issue P1 penalties based on multiple warnings or warnings in consecutive events.

P1 penalties can include one or more of the following: Last choice in pit selection; reductions in track time during practice; reduction in track time during qualifying; delay in order of inspection; selected for postrace inspection; delay in unloading the car at the beginning of an event weekend; temporary suspension of annual hard card credentials; reduction or suspension of event privileges (such as parking passes); community service.

“We talked about the warnings,” Knaus said. “We all understand there needs to be discussion about that moving forward. We came in here to talk about that and try to get the penalty stricken. The penalty’s been dissolved. That’s a good thing from our standpoint. Then the rest of it, we’re waiting to hear back from NASCAR.”

Knaus said the team contested the reasons for both of its warnings. The first at the Sprint All-Star Race was for repairs that apparently caused an illegal modification to the No. 48 Chevy’s side skirt. The second was for needing too many attempts at prequalifying inspection for the Coca-Cola 600.

The appeals panel of Richard Gore, David Hall and Jay Signore ruled there was a “preponderance of evidence presented that the side skirt violation … did occur. There was conflicting evidence about the inspection violation which led to the second warning instead of preponderance.”

Did Knaus want to share the details of how the team made its case?

“No, not really,” he said, smiling broadly.

NASCAR, which must accept the panel’s decision as final, didn’t make a representative immediately available to address the appeal.

Portland Xfinity race results, driver points

Portland Xfinity results
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Cole Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when the top three cars made contact and went on to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway. Custer is the 10th different winner in 13 races this season.

MORE: Portland Xfinity race results

MORE: Driver points after Portland Xfinity race

JR Motorsports took the next three spots: Justin Allgaier placed second, Sam Mayer was third and Josh Berry was fourth. Austin Hill completed the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek remains the points leader after 13 races. He has a 14-point lead on Hill. Nemechek leads Allgaier by 44 points.

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Portland in overtime


Cole Custer held off Justin Allgaier at the finish to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in overtime at Portland International Raceway. It is Custer’s first victory of the season.

JR Motorsports placed second, third and fourth with Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry. Austin Hill finished fifth.

MORE: Race results, driver points

Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when Parker Kligerman, who restarted third, attempted to pass Allgaier, who was leading. Sheldon Creed was on the outside of Allgaier. All three cars made contact entering Turn 1, allowing Custer to slip by. Creed finished seventh. Kligerman placed 14th.

Custer won the second stage when John Hunter Nemechek made contact with Creed’s car while racing for the lead on the final lap of the stage. The contact spun Creed and Custer inched by Nemechek at the line.

Early in the final stage, Creed gained revenge with contact that spun Nemechek, who went on to finish 10th. A few laps later, Nemechek and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith had issues. Smith spun Nemechek. After getting back around, Nemechek quickly caught Smith and turned into Smith’s car, damaging it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Despite the contact on the overtime restart, runner-up Justin Allgaier managed to score his fourth consecutive top-three finish. … Sam Mayer’s third-place finish is his best on a road course. … Austin Hill’s fifth-place finish gives him four consecutive top-five results.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Daniel Hemric finished 33rd after a fire in his car. … Riley Herbst placed 32nd after an engine issue. After opening the season with six top 10s in a row, Herbst has gone seven races in a row without a top 10.

NEXT: The series competes June 10 at Sonoma Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

Truck race results at WWT Raceway: Grant Enfinger wins


Grant Enfinger took the lead when the leaders wrecked in the final laps and held off the field in overtime to win Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

It is Enfinger’s second win in the last five races. He also collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the Triple Truck Challenge.

MORE: Truck race results

MORE: Driver points after WWT Raceway

Christian Eckes finished second and was followed by Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy.

Ty Majeski and Zane Smith wrecked while racing for the lead with six laps to go. Majeski, running on the inside of Smith, slid up the track and clipped Smith’s truck. Both hit the wall. That put Enfinger in the lead.

Smith finished 20th. Majeski placed 30th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Grant Enfinger’s victory is his fourth top 10 in the last five races. … Carson Hocevar’s fourth-place finish is his fourth consecutive top-five result. … Stewart Friesen’s third-place finish moved him into a playoff spot with four races left in the regular season. … Matt DiBenedetto‘s sixth-place finish is his third consecutive top 10. … Jesse Love finished ninth in his series debut.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Majeski had a chance to take the points lead with series leader Corey Heim out because of illness, but Majeski’s 30th-place finish after running at the front most of the day, leaves him behind Heim. … Hailie Deegan finished 32nd after contact sent her truck into the wall hard. … After finishing a career-high third last week at Charlotte, Dean Thompson placed 34th Saturday due to an engine issue.

NEXT: The series races June 23 at Nashville Superspeedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1)

Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole


Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.