Upcoming Events on

RATV white
Full Schedule

Chad Knaus Expresses Concern Over Penalties; "Nobody is Holding The Single-Source Providers Accountable"

The long-time crew chief spoke with members of the media on Friday about the inconsistent communication with the sanctioning body, and the non-conforming parts allegedly being distributed to teams.


hero image for Chad Knaus Expresses Concern Over Penalties; "Nobody is Holding The Single-Source Providers Accountable"

Since the beginning of last weekend, the hot-button topic in the NASCAR Cup Series garage has been related to the confiscation of hood louvers from Hendrick Motorsports and Kaulig Racing, which this week, led to hefty penalties.

The penalties, announced on Wednesday, include a fine of $100k and a four-race suspension to the five impacted crew chiefs, as well as the loss of 100 driver points, 100 owner points, and 10 playoff points to the impacted drivers and teams.

Both organizations have decided to take their penalties to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel (NMAP) for further inquiry, and after Chad Knaus, VP of Competition for Hendrick Motorsports, spoke to members of the media Friday, their defences are beginning to align.

The statement provided by Kaulig Racing on Thursday outlines the fact that NASCAR only confiscated one of the two louvers from the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro, driven by Justin Haley.

Kaulig Racing believes that by only one hood louver being taken by the sanctioning body, it proves that there are subtle inconsistencies in the parts that are being provided to teams through NASCAR's single-source vendor, and that there was no competitive advantage.

Knaus' comments carried a similar tone on Friday, as the long-time crew chief explained some of the issues that teams - and NASCAR - have been having as of late, while also expressing his disappointment at the abrasiveness of the situation.

"At the end of last year, everyone worked an awful lot; were very diligent in getting the spec parts developed, and everything done in the parity test that needed to be," said Knaus. "When we started to get parts at the beginning of the 2023 season, we didn't have the parts that we though we were going to have."

Knaus continued, saying "Through a tremendous amount of back-and-forth with NASCAR, the OEMs, and the teams, there's been conversations about whether we can clean up the parts, not clean up the parts - and it's changed, quite honestly, every couple of weeks. So it's been challenging for us to navigate and we're just going to have to see what happens when we get through the appeal."

In the organization's statement, released shortly after the penalties were announced on Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports outlined its reasoning behind the decision to appeal the penalty, citing: "Louvers provided to teams through NASCAR’s mandated single-source supplier do not match the design submitted by the manufacturer and approved by NASCAR."

"We as a company and we as a garage - every single one of these teams here are being held accountable to put their car out there to go through inspection and perform at the level they need to like the teams are being held accountable for doing that," Knaus said. "Nobody is holding the single-source providers accountable at the level that they need to be, to give us the parts that we need. That goes through NASCAR's distribution center and NASCAR's approval process to get those parts, and we're not getting the right parts.

Speed51 Icon

“I can tell you this – we’ve got a brand-new set of these parts that we can go pull off the shelf right now that NASCAR deemed illegal and inappropriate for us to race.”

Chad Knaus - Vice President of Competition, Hendrick Motorsports

However, it appears that more than anything else, the disappointment stems from the sudden abrasiveness from NASCAR to the teams, in the second year of the NextGen car being on-track, a complete pivot from the working relationship the two sanctioning body has had with the teams throughout the entire process.

"It’s been trying,” Knaus said. “Look, we’ve all jumped in bed on this thing together since we started the Gen-7 car. And that’s the thing that I think we’ve all prided ourselves on in the garage, is that there’s been a tremendous amount of give-and-take as we’ve tried to learn how to race this car and work together.

“It’s very disappointing to me that we’re sitting in this situation right now with a component that we’ve all come to the conclusion that it is not correct, and we’ve all tried to work to get it fixed because we’ve done that with the other parts.”

Another reason for the championship-winning organization to make an appeal to the penalties, was the fact that the louvers were found in a voluntary inspection, prior to the start of practice on Friday, but Hendrick Motorsports maintains they were penalized in a manner similar to that of a post-race teardown.

“If you look back at 2022 and the L2 penalties that were handed out, all of those were post-race inspection penalties,” said Jeff Andrews, President and General Manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “There was not an L2-level penalty handed out in 2022 during a pre-race – or at that point even a pre-inspection – where a part was taken and a penalty was issued.”

"From my perspective, I think it's different," Knaus stated. "A voluntary inspection, I don't understand why you would be hung and ordered for a voluntary inspection. Typically, you would be told 'hey, you need to go work on that' or 'hey, we need to discuss what's going on here.'"

As it stands, the fate of both Hendrick Motorsports and Kaulig Racing stands with the National Motorsports Appeals Panel and how they feel about the defence that has been lined up by the organization - and the sanctioning body.

According to Jeff Andrews, a date for Hendrick Motorsports' penalty appeal has not yet been set. However, that single day, could have a bigger impact on the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season than any other.

Photo Credit: Craig White, Courtesy of TobyChristie.com

RA Icon


Sign-up for our free NASCAR & Grassroots racing newsletter...