Man, we couldn't even get to the Budweiser Shootout before we had the trigger for the first set of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus conspiracy theories.
On Friday, during inspection before qualifying for the Daytona, the C-posts were confiscated off of the No. 48 after NASCAR deemed that there had been illegal modifications made.
"It was an obvious modification that the template inspectors picked up on," explained Darby. "We did some additional inspections and found that they were too far out of tolerance to fix."
Any monetary or points penalties will be assessed to the No. 48 team after the Daytona 500.
Maybe Knaus intentionally had the C-posts confiscated to throw everyone off the scent? How evil genius would THAT be? After all, this is the team that can control cautions with water bottles.
What if Chad asked the crew to damage the car as they rolled it to inspection so that they could skip inspection, but the crew failed and couldn't roll the car fast enough to cause any harm? Or since Johnson's lone Daytona 500 win came with Knaus suspended for rules violations (and Darian Grubb on top of Johnson's pit box), Knaus was willing to sacrifice himself if it meant another Daytona 500 championship. And the start of another five-year title run.
Never mind that failing inspection is actually the best antidote for any conspiracy theory involving the five-time champs. Besides, aren't teams supposed to be trying to stretch as far as they can within the tolerances? As we've said before, if a team isn't pushing the limits as best as possible, it isn't trying. And isn't the first race and inspection of the year the best place to try something? If it fits within the templates, then great, you have something to build off of for the entire season. If it doesn't, well, you got caught and potentially penalized, but better now than later.
But we know that's not going to stop many from dreaming up scenarios involving Jimmy Hoffa and Kim-Jong Il for the No. 48 bunch. Who would ever have thought a C-post could do that?