Transcript: Chad Knaus after chief appellate officer decision
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 CHEVROLET
MARCH 20, 2012
Q: WHAT IS YOUR VERSION OF WHAT WENT ON TODAY?
CHAD KNAUS: I’m glad it’s over with, that’s for sure. It’s been a tough 30 days for everybody involved, all the guys on the team and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. We had to put a lot of effort into this to prove our innocence, and obviously it was worthwhile. It’s good to be over with that’s for sure.
Q: DO YOU FEEL VINDICATED?
KNAUS: To a degree. Obviously we’re not happy with the fine. That’s an awful lot of money for something that was clearly, obviously proved to be OK, so that hurts a little bit. But, it’s not about vindication, it’s over with. It’s time to move on, time to focus on trying to make the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) and seeing what we can do with the No. 48 team.
Q: DID THEY TELL YOU WHY THEY KEPT THE FINE?
KNAUS: You’ll have to ask them about that. I really don’t know. You just have to get back with them. I don’t really know what the situation was with that.
Q: DO YOU FEEL LIKE THEY MADE A MISTAKE IN THE INSPECTION PROCESS? HOW DID YOU GET IN THIS MESS?
KNAUS: Exactly. How did I? It’s a tough deal, the way NASCAR inspects the cars, they do a very good job and they inspect much differently than a lot of the other series. They inspect all the cars pre-competition, which is not the norm in motor sports. So, I felt like they made a mistake. Obviously, with the information that was put out there, it was determined that they had, and it was just a small break down in the system. And I think that after what we’ve done today, some of that is going to get cleared up and make it better and easier for everybody honestly.
Q: WAS THIS A WIN, NOT JUST FOR YOU, BUT FOR CREW CHIEFS THAT YOU CAN PLAY WITH THE CAR A LITTLE BIT, BUT STILL BE WITHIN THE RULES?
KNAUS: No, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about doing what the rules state. And we were 100 percent compliant with the rules.
Q: YOU SAID CLEARING THINGS UP WITH THIS MAY BE ABLE TO CLEAR UP THINGS WITH THE INSPECTION PROCESS, HOW SO? WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SEE MOVING FORWARD?
KNAUS: We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the future.
Q: DID YOU PLAN ON GOING TO CALIFORNIA, OR HAD YOU ALREADY, IN YOUR MIND, THOUGHT ‘I’M GOING TO HAVE TO SIT FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS?’
KNAUS: I think you know better than that. Of course, I was extremely prepared for whatever the outcome was; whether is was six, weeks, 10 weeks, two weeks, or a week. Who knew what the situation was going to be? We were prepared as a company to absorb whatever the extra work flow was going to be on the other people on the team, and all of that was going to be ready to go.
Q: DO YOU THINK YOU WERE PUNISHED FOR LEANING INTO THE CAR AND SAYING WHAT YOU SAID TO JIMMIE (JOHNSON)? DO YOU THINK THERE’S A TARGET ON YOUR BACK AND THEY’RE WATCHING YOU CLOSER, OR DO YOU THINK YOU WERE PUNISHED BECAUSE OF THAT?
KNAUS: I don’t know about that. I can tell you the (No.) 48 car goes through technical inspection more than most people do because we typically run a little bit better and we’re at the NASCAR R&D Center a little more often, but that’s about it.
Q: IS IT A BIGGER SURPRISE THAT YOU GOT POPPED IN THE FIRST PLACE?
KNAUS: I think I explained to you guys last time we talked, I was pretty shocked at Daytona (Fla.) when this happened. We go through great, great lengths. It’s been years since we’ve been in trouble, years. It’s unfortunate that the perception out there is that we continue to bend the rules because we truly don’t. We do everything within our power, and I think you can get with John Darby or any of the NASCAR officials to see that we go above and beyond to be compliant with what it is they want. I was shocked; I was really, really shocked. I was pretty torn up because I felt we did everything in our power to build the best race car we could for the Daytona 500 and take it down there without any problems.
Q: BUT ARE YOU SHOCKED TODAY?
KNAUS: I’m not as shocked today as I was last Tuesday.
KNAUS: Because I don’t feel like we were wrong.
Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK THE DIFFERENCE WAS? WHY DO YOU THINK YOU WON TODAY AND NOT LAST TUESDAY?
KNAUS: I think the forum today was a little bit better. It allowed us to get in the same room with the NASCAR personnel and discuss openly what happened. The appeals committee was able to actually hear both sides of the story at the same time, and that cuts out a lot of the he-said, she-said stuff. The facts get laid out 100 percent. There’s two sides to every story. There’s my side, NASCAR’S side and the truth. That always lies in the middle somewhere, and I think today we did a good job of making sure the truth was laid out there for everybody.
Q: HOW RELIEVED ARE YOU RELATED TO WHAT YOUR TEAM CAN DO MOVING FORWARD?
KNAUS: I’m stoked. I’m excited. I can’t wait to get to Fontana (Calif.). It’s one of my favorite racetracks. That’s where we got our first win in 2002 with the (No.) 48 team, so we’re really pumped up. We’re ready to get out there and have some fun. We have the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet out there this weekend, and we’re excited. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of getting back those 25 points, even before we got the gift of getting them back. I think that shows the strength of the No. 48 team, and I’m extremely proud of the way the No. 88 team is running. Obviously being the (Nos.) 48/88 shop, it’s pretty impressive, even with all the stuff that’s going on.
Q: HOW DOES THIS IMPACT YOUR REPUTATION?
KNAUS: It is what is. I’m not really worried about my reputation; I’m worried about winning races for Hendrick Motorsports and doing the best I can for Lowe’s and Jimmie Johnson. If people don’t like the way that we do it, or the way it’s been done in the past, it’s sad. I don’t like personal digs because this is a business, this is a sport and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But, you’re always going to have that.
Q: HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU HAVE TO SPEND THIS WEEK ON THIS DEFENSE, OR TOTAL?
KNAUS: A lot. It’s been 30 days and it’s been a long 30 days.
Q: AVERAGE HOURS?
KNAUS: I can’t even begin to tell you how much time it’s been. It’s been very encompassing and pretty daunting.
Q: HAVE YOU CALLED JIMMIE (JOHNSON) YET, HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TELL HIM?
KNAUS: I sent him a text. Isn’t that what we do in the modern era? Send texts?
Q: DID YOU HEAR FROM HIM?
Q: WHAT DID HE SAY?
KNAUS: (LAUGHS.) We won’t say that.
Q: FROM A POINTS STANDPOINT, HOW RELIEVED ARE YOU REGARDING THE CHASE?
KNAUS: It’s really important. Obviously you want to get out there and be in the top 10 and battle and be in the mix. That’s what we want to do. We were going to get there one way or another.
- Hendrick Motorsports Media Release