Infamous 48 car will be put out to pasture

April, 3, 2012

In case you're wondering whether Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson will bring the infamous C-post Daytona 500 car to Talladega Superspeedway next month, let me help.


Team owner Rick Hendrick told me on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway the No. 48 car that NASCAR deemed illegal, the one that cost him 30 days of "hell'' fighting the penalties, will be laid to rest in the woods surrounding Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s property in Cleveland County, N.C.

It'll be in Junior's car graveyard with the mangled No. 42 that Juan Pablo Montoya drove into a jet dryer to cause a two-hour delay in the Daytona 500 and more than 50 other cars Earnhardt calls "yard ornaments."

So is this an admission that the car was illegal, even though chief appellate officer John Middlebrook overturned the 25-point deduction for Johnson and six-week suspensions to crew chief Knaus and car chief Ron Malec?

You know, the car that Johnson said was "completely legal'' when the appeals process was over?

No. Hendrick's just not willing to test the governing body and possibly create another 30 days of turmoil.

Smart move. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby told me that if the 48 car with the same C-posts goes to Talladega, it will be confiscated again and the same penalties will be applied.

Remember, Middlebrook didn't remove the $100,000 fine on Knaus, an indication he felt something was wrong.

And as Hendrick noted, one of the big issues he fought during the appeals process was that NASCAR didn't give Johnson's team a chance to fix the C-posts after they were discovered in initial tech inspection. Several other teams got that chance without penalty.

So the infamous C-post car -- or at least the legal version that was wrecked on the second lap of the 500 -- is in a proper place. It is in a place with other cars that, if they could speak, could tell great stories.

And that's the end of this story.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer
David Newton is an NFL reporter at ESPN and covers the Carolina Panthers. Newton began covering Carolina in 1995 and came to ESPN in 2006 as a NASCAR reporter before joining NFL Nation in 2013. You can follow Newton on Twitter at @DNewtonespn.


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