Jimmie Johnson claims that last Tuesday's final appeal ruling proves his Daytona 500 car was legal and believes all penalties for his team should have been overturned.
The five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion vaulted up from 18th to 11th in the points after chief appellate officer John Middlebrook rescinded all suspensions and points deductions issued following the season opener, when parts of Johnson's car were deemed illegal. Only a $100,000 fine for Knaus remained in place.
NASCAR insists there was still a rules violation, confirmed by the fine being upheld, despite all other penalties being overturned – leaving Johnson unhappy and puzzled. He expected all penalties to be rescinded and believed even after the first ruling that they were not warranted.
"I'm not totally happy with the decision," Johnson said. "I'm pleased that the big issues have come down, but I share confusion as well.
"I know our message all along through Hendrick Motorsports and we didn't feel that the penalty was warranted in the first place. So we're just as curious."
Johnson is adamant that Tuesday's outcome of the final hearing clearly proves that the C-posts on his Daytona 500 car, as presented for initial inspection, were within the regulations.
NASCAR President Mike Helton was asked on Friday morning if those same parts would be ruled illegal again if presented on Johnson's car for inspection at Talladega in May, and he replied that he would "hope" that was the case.
"I guess this is one one of those positions where we agreed to disagree and through the appeal process we proved that those C-posts were legal," said Johnson. "So that's where it stands."
Despite having to go though two appeals to prove his team's case, Johnson still believes in the detailed inspection process.
"I believe in the system," said Johnson. "It's governed our series for a lot of years and I think in all aspects of our sport we continue to look for areas to improve on.
"The inspection process is not something that I'm a part of, the cars is not something I'm a part of. I really can't make many comments because it's not the world I live in but I think all areas can be looked at, addressed and always improved."