When someone robs a bank, it generally doesn’t matter whether the perp pulls the gun out of his pocket before or after he walks into the branch.
That’s why I’m trying to figure out why Chad Knaus is still in Daytona after coming to the track with with a C-post that failed initial inspection.
NASCAR’s argument tends to be that if they catch the shenanigans before anybody gets on the track it isn’t as much as a crime because nobody else’s race is compromised. And I could accept that argument — all the way up until I saw Clint Bowyer’s Camry after qualifying, with his teammates sitting next to it, waiting to go through post-qualifying inspection once again.
The car ended up failing. According to a Michael Waltrip Racing spokesperson, the car was 60 thousandths of an inch too low on the left front.
“Really very surprised that we were — I don’t know if we got something stuck in the bleed hole in the shock, but the front just didn’t come back up,” MWR Vice President of Competition told FOXSports.com in denying any intentional wrongdoing. “It’s all the same stuff that we ran in practice, and it was coming back up.”
This is nothing new for Bowyer. In the 2010 Chase opener at New Hampshire, he found Victory Lane. Then he found his Chase hopes dashed when the back of his car was outside tolerance by 60-thousandths of an inch — after being bumped by a tow truck helping his gas-less car get to Victory Lane.
Bowyer was docked 150 point, despite Richard Childress going as far as reenacting the incident at Charlotte Motor Speedway to show the tow truck was the perpetrator.
Over the course of a weekend, cars get poked and prodded, bumped and bruised. It’s a lot easier to argue lack of intent once the madness starts. But when somebody shows up at the track with with a C-post so gnarled that NASCAR notices it with the naked eye, there is no excuse.
NASCAR crew chiefs are supposed to push the limit. Problem is, Knaus has lost any right to play on the fringes. If Knaus were a felon and NASCAR were a “three strikes you’re out” state, the crew chief would be going to jail for life without parole. He was suspended in 2006 (Daytona, when he was sent home after a post-qualifying failure) and 2007 (Sonoma).
Why should Knaus be kicked out of Daytona again? Because if you don’t, you look as bad as Ohio State, which suspended players for the first five games of the 2011 season after trading autographs for tattoos, but let them play in the Sugar Bowl.
The Buckeyes’ players shouldn’t have been allowed to play in the season’s marquee matchup before paying for their crimes.
And neither should Knaus.
Follow Josh Stewart on Twitter @JoshNASCARWWE