Daytona Beach, FL – Jimmie Johnson's Daytona 500 car failed opening day inspection on Friday at Daytona International Speedway after NASCAR officials discovered a template (body) violation on his car.
Officials found the "C-posts" -- the panel that connects the rear of the car's roof to the top of the rear quarter panel or deck lid area -- to be illegal and therefore confiscated the parts for further investigation at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, NC.
"The 48 car had a body modification on it that was outside of what our tolerances are or what the original surface definitions for the body were," Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said. "What you would normally see is exactly what the original surface of the car should be.
"There were some obvious modifications that the template inspectors picked up on, and we did some additional inspections with some gauges and stuff and found that they were just too far out of tolerance to fix, so they were removed from the car. I think the team is working now on getting the correct pieces flown down here [from North Carolina], so they can get them all welded back in."
Johnson's team must fix the issue on the car and remit it for inspection before they can participate in the first practice for the Daytona 500, which is scheduled for Saturday morning. Qualifying is slated for Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (et).
Penalties could be forthcoming to Johnson's No.48 Hendrick Motorsports team, including possible suspension of crew chief Chad Knaus and other members of the team.
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said any penalties would be announced after Daytona Speedweeks concludes with the February 26 Daytona 500. Pemberton also noted this violation would not result in any members of the No.48 team being ejected from the racetrack for the remainder of Speedweeks.
In 2006, Johnson's car failed post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500, with officials discovering an unapproved template modification to the rear window area. Knaus was not allowed to participate in any further Speedweeks activities, including the Daytona 500. He was also suspended for the next three Cup races and received a $25,000 fine.
Johnson went on to win the Daytona 500 for the first time in 2006, with Darian Grubb serving as his interim crew chief at the time.