NOTEBOOK: Knaus suspension dismissed by insiders
Kyle Busch wants Johnson at his best
No one is condoning the actions that put Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, on suspension for six weeks, but suffice it to say that the NASCAR disciplinary actions aren’t as controversial in the Phoenix International Raceway garage as in the public eye.
Kyle Busch was one of many who shrugged it off.
“It's just a part of the sport sometimes,” he said. “When you're doing some things that you may not should be doing, then you get a penalty for it, and that's how NASCAR felt it necessary to penalize those guys.
“Hopefully, there's no more of that for any of the competitors. We certainly don't want to see that. I want to see Chad (Knaus) at the race track. Have him around and have him crew-chief Jimmie Johnson because when you beat those guys, you know you're beating the best they have.”
Beyond the obvious: Of course, Roush Fenway Racing and Ford won the Daytona won the Daytona 500 with Matt Kenseth. Less important, but still significant, was the lack of attrition in the Roush camp.
“I think we all forget, especially us and you guys that cover the sport and us drivers that show up and drive the car, we forget how much energy goes into these cars to build them,” Carl Edwards said. “When you see cars torn up, it is just hundreds and hundreds of hours of work that has to be done. I can tell you that I haven’t seen Jack Roush much happier than he was after that race Monday night or Tuesday morning. He was very, very happy, thinking of it in terms of that he might have been real happy they didn’t tear up all that stuff.
“There’s a lot of money and time that goes into those. I don’t know how it sets us up for the next restrictor-plate race. With all the cars being rebodied for 2013, I don’t know how it fits everybody’s plan. We were trying specifically not to tear up the car. I tore mine up a little bit but we are going to run that car again at the next speedway race (Talladega). That is our plan.”
Remain calm: Johnson lost 25 points in the Knaus scandal, but all he has to do to make the Chase is either reach the top 10 in Sprint Cup points over the next 25 races or earn one of two wild-card spots by winning several races.
On the basis of past performances, it should be a piece of cake.
“No, no strategy change,” Johnson said. “The end result is winning races. The worst-case scenario would be fighting for a wild-card spot (in the Chase) and that boils down to winning races. It’s no different than if we won the Daytona 500. We want to go to the race track and perform as well as we can each and every week and win races. That is our agenda.”
Monte Dutton; 704-869-1841; twitter.com/montedutton