When six crew members were thrown out of the Daytona 500 for cheating it was suggested that NASCAR start suspending drivers as part of the penalty process.
Jimmie Johnson was aghast at the idea.
The defending Nextel Cup champion said he has no idea what crew chief Chad Knaus does while building his race cars. And even if Johnson were privy to such information, he has no control in how his Chevrolets are constructed.
Johnson's defense is at the very core of why NASCAR should start suspending its drivers. Benching the star of the team would force him to take responsibility for his crew.
Nothing else is working.
Johnson and teammate Jeff Gordon both showed up in Sonoma, Calif., with cars that failed initial inspection, and NASCAR refused to let them on the track Friday. But they still were allowed to race Sunday, and crew chiefs Knaus and Steve Letarte were both on site to guide their drivers to decent finishes. Gordon finished seventh and Johnson 17th.
Now they wait and wonder what further punishment NASCAR will impose. Penalties are traditionally issued on Tuesdays.