Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Catonsville, Md.
Jimmie Johnson believes he won the Daytona 500 fair and square
From the Baltimore Sun:
Jimmie Johnson believes he won the Daytona 500 fair and square.
That is more than he can say about post-race comments that painted him as a cheater.
Johnson fired back yesterday at Ryan Newman, who said the victory wasn't "necessarily good for the sport." Johnson won the race Sunday without crew chief Chad Knaus, suspended for making an illegal modification to the No. 48 Chevrolet during qualifying.
"I think inside it felt good to [Newman] to take a shot at me," Johnson said yesterday during a media tour through New York. "He didn't win the race. That's what disappoints me. Be happy for me. I overcame a lot in this race. Why take a cheap shot?"
Newman, who finished third, said after the race: "This could still be the first opportunity for NASCAR to pull away a victory if the thing is illegal. It's disappointing. I think a lot of Jimmie Johnson and his talent, but I'm pretty sure at least three of his last four wins have had conflictions with the cars being illegal."
Those comments were made before Johnson's car passed post-race inspection. Johnson won the race for the first time in his five-year career after charging to the front with 14 laps remaining and holding on over two restarts.
Though Johnson understands drivers sometimes make emotional comments after races, he questioned some of what Newman has accomplished in the past.
Specifically in 2003, when Newman won a career-high eight races.
"It's well known that he got spectacular fuel mileage and there was something funny going along with that on his side with his equipment," Johnson said.
"I'm not one to judge people when they have infractions in our sport because all the crew chiefs walk that line. They're trying to find an advantage. That's what they're paid to do."
Johnson said every crew chief is trying to find an advantage, so Newman should have kept his thoughts to himself.
There was more fallout later in the day when NASCAR suspended Knaus for three more races and fined him $25,000 for making the illegal modification.
Knaus has had problems in the past, which probably led to the negative comments. Last March, he was accused of cheating after Johnson's win in Las Vegas when his car failed the post-race inspection. After a win in September in Dover, Del., Johnson's car again failed inspection.
Only that time, NASCAR said Knaus had exploited a loophole in the rule book, and the sanctioning body quickly closed it.
NASCAR, without comment, has also placed Knaus on probation for the rest of the year. It means the crew chief won't be able to push the limits the way he has done for much of the past four seasons.
Knaus seemed unrepentant yesterday.
"I think if we ran 25th every week we wouldn't be getting this attention," he said in a conference call.
Knaus also deflected several questions that gave him the opportunity to take responsibility for an alteration NASCAR has characterized as "blatant cheating."
"There's a lot of things out there that can be called intentional," Knaus said. "The fact of the matter is when NASCAR went back, it didn't fit the templates. How that happens is pretty irrelevant."
Well as far as him questioning Newman's 8 wins it was determined that Newman not only didn't cheat, he showed just how good a driver he is. He used a legal but smaller carburetor, which in essence gave up some hp but also gave him better gas mileage. A few others teams tried it (Jeff Gordon was one of them) but it didn't last too long because they weren't quick enough.
What really sucks is what was in the 'For the Record' section.
It seems that the new team owned by Troy Aikmen and Roger Staubach were fined 25k, 25 owner points and Terry Labonte fined 25 driver points for using an illegal carburetor. Hmm.....what about equal penalties ? Especially when you factor in Johnson failing post race inspection after several of his most recent wins.
Like when they confiscated Tony Stewar's car but still let him race.
I hate it when Nascar does that but I swear there are different rules for different people or sometimes I wonder if they really have any rules.
What do you guys think ???