Kansas: Chad Knaus - Friday media visit

CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed the issues discovered with both the No. 48 and No. 5 cars at the NASCAR R&D center. ON THE SITUATION. "We have been working hard with...

CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed the issues discovered with both the No. 48 and No. 5 cars at the NASCAR R&D center.

ON THE SITUATION. "We have been working hard with NASCAR over the course of the last three years, all of us out the whole the garage to make our measurement systems and stuff are repeated from what we do at our shops verses what they do at NASCAR. With the amount of damage that we had on our car they thought that we were close and they wanted to get together with us and our cars at Hendrick Motorsports, watch exactly how we are measuring our stuff and try to develop a little better correlation between the two places. That's really it. It's turned into a little bit bigger story than what it was intended to be. The tolerances were a little bit closer than what they've seen in our cars in the past. We've had man I can't even tell you how many cars we've had at the NASCAR Research and Development facility measured and both of them were just a little closer to the tight tolerance they are holding than what we've seen in the past."

DID THEY TELL YOU TO CHANGE THEM? "Yeah, they said look you're a little close on the tolerance but like I said there is a little bit of damage to the cars, they want to make sure it was the damage, it wasn't something that was built in intentionally because like I've said we've had so many cars there that have been within the tolerances and are acceptable and these were just a little bit off. It's just preventive maintenance more than anything. Just to make sure that we don't have a situation. The hold this car in very high regard and we all understand that. The reason why it's like that is because we don't want to get back to the cars that we had in the past where the bodies were all manipulated and it was very difficult. We spent a lot of time at wind tunnels. We all know that, especially with the state of the economy right now people don't want people getting outside that box. We understand that and we want to help to make sure that we all ensure that those tight tolerances are accountable."

WHERE EXACTLY WERE THE TOLERANCES CLOSE? "There were some different areas. There were. As you race these cars they move a little bit ... There's a handful of measurements in different areas of the car, on both cars, in different spots that are just a little bit off. They want to make sure that we're doing the best that we can to get it right and we're taking precautions at Hendrick Motorsports to ramp up our repeatability to make sure that we don't have issues. The car that we had was raced a couple of times, smacked in the butt a couple of times on a couple of different occasions and it had a little damage. We just need to make sure that we make sure everything is right before we leave the shop and our installation process as well."

WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THIS AS ALMOST A COURTESY ON NASCAR'S PART TO TRY TO KEEP THINGS IN LINE? "I think we have to have that throughout the garage. There's always going to be different things and different situations that everybody has to have a tolerance. There's a tolerance for everything and as long as you're within the tolerance that's fine but when you start getting close to that line you've got to make sure that we understand why and that's what we're trying to do. There's been other teams in the garage that have been over there and they said hey you guys are pushing it and you're going to need to get to work. This is just fortunately the first time that we've had that. So it's good timing for everyone. It's realigning where we need to be. The last thing that we want with what we're trying to do with this here is to have a situation in the post race inspection, that's the furthest thing from our minds. We're going into this deal trying to win our fourth straight championship and that's our focus."

HOW DO YOU FIGHT OFF PEOPLE SAYING YOU ARE PUSHING THE LIMIT, THOSE GUYS ARE CHEATING? "First off if we were cheating I wouldn't be standing here I'd back in Charlotte so obviously that's not the case. It's a situation that we do a good job of building very, very good race cars and we take pride in that. We really do. We've always taken it to what we thought were the tolerances but we never crossed that line and we don't cross that line. The cars were legal. That's the thing everybody has to understand. It's turned into a bigger issue than what it really should. We're trying to work with NASCAR to make sure the inspection process and the way that we measure cars and the way they measure cars are all in line. You have to realize that it was only 10 short years ago when we used to tech the template on these cars was a piece of plywood cut in the silhouette of a race car. Now we're measuring with quarter measuring systems measured to the hundreds of thousandths of an inch and it's a learning process for everybody. It hasn't been that long that we've been doing this. It's like I said in the past we've had more cars there than everybody and we haven't had an issue and that's why they're like okay we need to make sure we don't have an issue rising. That's just it. That's how it works."

IF THIS WERE TO HAPPEN AGAIN AND THE SAME TOLERANCES WERE TO COME BACK AGAIN DID NASCAR SAY YOU WOULD BE PENALIZED NEXT TIME? "We didn't have that conversation."

IS IT AN ISSUE BECAUSE OF THE SUCCESS YOU GUYS ARE HAVING? "That's you guys. Ultimately it's not that big of an issue. It's really not. They've have cars there in the past to measure two and three times before. With the way the schedule was to get out here with flight times and so forth they couldn't do it last week because people were leaving. We want to get into our shop and we are going to measure the cars together and make sure we're all doing it the same. We just couldn't do it last week there was not enough time in the week. We just couldn't make it happen."

WHEN IS THAT CAR SUPPOSED TO BE USED AGAIN? "We're going to take it Lowe's Motor Speedway."

YOU DON'T THINK THE OTHER NINE OR SO COMPETITORS THAT AREN'T HENDRICK CARS ARE GOING TO THINK THIS IS AN ISSUE? "I don't think so. I can promise you that is the last thing that we want is to put ourselves in a situation where we have a deficit or any type of penalty or anything looming over this. We've had our issues in the past. Trust me I've had multiple discussion with Mike Helton and those guys in the past. The last thing I want to do is sit in a closed-door meeting with Mike Helton again over what has happened to me in my past. We've worked really hard to clean up the reputation of this No. 48 team and we're going to hold that to the highest regard and the highest integrity. We're not going to go down that path and we're going to win as many races as we can and as many championship as we can as legal as we can."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mike Helton , Chad Knaus
Teams Hendrick Motorsports