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Johnson denies Penske penalties involvement

NASCAR.com

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Jimmie Johnson said no one from his No. 48 team or the rest of the Hendrick Motorsports organization approached NASCAR officials to "rat out" Penske Racing last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Sprint Cup Series cars of drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano passed pre-race inspection only after changing the rear end housings on both Ford entries, a move that initially delayed their appearance on pit road and eventually led to stiff sanctions. 

Four days after the race, on April 16, NASCAR levied deductions of 25 driver and owner points for each of the two teams, fines totaling $200,000 and penalties that could see crew chiefs and other personnel suspended for six races for the unapproved suspension pieces.

"The best officiating in the garage area has always been your neighbor," said Johnson, a five-time Cup champion. "That's just been part of NASCAR for years and years and why NASCAR has the procedures in place that they do.

"Everybody has people watching and we've been very impressed with the 2 car's staff and their ability to have somebody just stand and watch other teams. So this environment does take place in the garage area. So yeah, there are eyes open."

Teams have two options when they see another team going in a questionable direction, he said.

"One, they go home and try to adapt (what they've seen) to their car and see if they can make it work," he said. "Or they go on the (NASCAR) truck and say something. 

"We don't say something. We're a company built on performance; we're a company that tries to understand the rulebook as close as we can to the law. Sure we've had our issues with it but that's racing. It's been that way since day one.

"We go in there and we try to be as smart as we can, we conform to the rules and put the best race car on the track."

Keselowski, the defending series champion, had broached the subject of teams altering rear-end setups last summer, a move that allows the back end of the cars to skew, and thus get more air to the rear spoiler when under power. At that time, he didn't specifically name Hendrick teams, but noted that there were "parts and pieces on the car that are moving after inspection that makes the cars more competitive."

Penske teams, Keselowski added, "errs on the safe side because we don't want to be the guys that get the big penalty."

Johnson, the points leader heading into the April 21 STP 400 at Kansas Speedway said "everybody is watching and everybody is looking.

"But in no way shape or form did anybody from the 48 car walk in that truck and say anything."

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-- Jimmie Johnson

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