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Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson penalized by NASCAR

No. 24 (Jeff-Gordon) and No. 48 (Jimmie-Johnson) were both penalized by NASCAR for the violations at Infineon Raceway.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson penalized by NASCAR Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were docked 100 points each Tuesday, and their crew chiefs were both fined $100,000 and suspended for six races after the two Hendrick Motorsports cars failed an initial inspection Friday in Sonoma, Calif., when NASCAR officials found unapproved modifications to the fenders on their Chevrolets.

 Hendrick fixed the fenders then, and Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were allowed to race, but both had to start at the end of the line. Johnson finished 17th and Gordon 7th at the Sonoma race. Gordon remains the Nextel Cup points leader after the deduction, but his margin was cut to 171 points over Denny Hamlin. Johnson dropped from third to fifth.

 The crew chiefs Chad Knaus (Johnson) and Steve Letarte (Gordon) are not eligible to return to the track until August 15th and, were also placed on probation through the end of the year. This is at least the 15th time Knaus has been penalized for something during his crew chief career, and this was his fourth suspension since 2001, according to Fox Sports. He sat out four races last season when NASCAR found illegal modifications following Johnson's qualifying run for the Daytona 500. In the light of his past actions, some called the punishment a slap on the wrist for Knaus.

 The owner Rick Hendrick said he the penalties were excessive and was disappointed by the NASCAR decision. Rick Hendrick also has been penalized 100 owner points for the Gordon penalty, and Jeff Gordon, who is the listed owner for Jimmie Johnson's entry, has been penalized 100 for the Johnson violation.

 Jeff Gordon remains the favorite to win the upcoming Nextel Cup race, Lenox Industrial Tools 300, with betting odds of 5/1, according to the online bookmaker Bodog Sports (new window). Jimmie Johnson also improved his odds, now 9/2 on the Lenox race, compared to last week 16/1 on Infineon (before the penalty).

Published on 06/26/2007

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