Jimmie Johnson ran just 1 lap in the Daytona 500 before a wreck took him out of contention (US Presswire)
Will Jimmie Johnson recover from 25-point penalty to make the Chase?
Pete PistoneJimmie Johnson's challenge to get back to the top of the Sprint Cup mountain as a six-time champion became a bit more difficult with the pending six race suspension of Chad Knaus and the 25 point penalty for the team's Daytona infractions. But JJ and the 48 team can absolutely overcome the obstacle.
In an odd way, the hole Johnson finds himself in, may actually provide even more motivation for the team.
Johnson has dealt with running without Knaus before, winning the 2006 Daytona 500 with interim crew chief Darian Grubb guiding the way as Knaus sat out a suspension. As it was then, the Hendrick organization has a wealth of talent at its disposal and perhaps more resources than any other team in the Sprint Cup Series.
If the six race Knaus suspension sticks after the team's appeal, I have no doubt someone will come from the ranks to crew chief the 48 and Johnson won't skip a beat.
I picked Johnson to be my 2012 champ and this doesn't change my mind.
Brian De Los Santos
In light of his disastrous finish (start?) in the Daytona 500 where he collected just 2 points after wrecking on Lap 2, a 25-point penalty would seem a mighty big hole to have to dig out of. But I'm going to say he still makes the Chase.
Subtract 25 points from his regular-season total last year and he still would have made the Chase comfortably. Of course, he had only four finishes outside the top 20 and none worse than 31st in the 26 races.
He's already been dinged with one bad finish -- which you can almost count as two bad finishes after you tack on the penalty -- so there's no a lot of room for error. But a similar campaign to what he had last season should still put him in the mix for a Chase berth.
There's a little less room for error, but if anybody can do it, it's the five-time champion 48 team, even without the services of Chad Knaus for six races.
|More NASCAR coverage|