The 48 and 5 "Too Close" in Tolerances at NASCAR's R&D Center

Misan AkuyaCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 26: Mark Martin, driver of the #5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet, races Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson are currently 1st and 2nd in points.  Martin leads Johnson by 10 points.  Perhaps there is a reason why were seeing such speed out of these 2 cars this early in the chase.

Claire B. Lang reported on Sirius Satellite NASCAR Radio Channel 128 "Dialed In" show Thursday night that the #48 and #5 Chevy's teams of Hendrick Motorsports were told they cars were too close to NASCAR tolerances at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC this week.

The cars were taken to the R&D Center after Jimmie Johnson won the Sprint Cup race at Dover in the #48 with Mark Martin finishing 2nd in the #5 Chevy. Lang says she heard the teams were told not to bring the cars back to the track.

Lang asked NASCAR if this was true and was told: "The 48 and 5 were brought back to the R&D center. We've been doing this since the inception of the new car as a part of routine post-race inspection. We bring the winner and a random pick back to the R&D center after each event. While both cars passed post race inspection, we informed the 48 and 5 they were extremely close on some of the tolerances."

Now this doesn't come as a shock.  In 2005 after Jimmie Johnson won at Dover and Kyle Busch then in the 5 car finished 2nd.  NASCAR discovered some questionable shocks in both racecars.  In 2007 at Sonoma NASCAR suspended both Chad Kanus and Steve Letarte for 6 races after some things on the the 48 and 24 were not up to the rules set by NASCAR.  Kanus took the blame.

Chad has been always know as a guy who like to go in that "gray area" and will put it too the limits that most ethical crew chief wouldn't dare do.  This has gotten in him trouble in the past and may have tainted the past 3 championship scored by this team based on their past.

If the 48 and 5 truly cannot bring back their fast cars from Dover then this could be huge.  Jimmie Johnson was planning on bringing this car to Kansas I do believe.  Now they'll have to figure something else.

Lets see how the 48 performs without the their best car.