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Sprint Cup Series director John Darby presented NASCAR's case to Middlebrook. Unlike a week ago, when each side presented their arguments separately, Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR were in the room together with Middlebrook.
"I think the forum today was a little bit better. It allowed us to get us in the same room with the NASCAR personnel and discuss what happened, and the appeal committee was able to hear both sides of the story at the same time," Knaus said. "There's two sides to every story: There's my side, NASCAR's side and the truth always falls in the middle somewhere.
"Today we did a good job to make sure the truth was laid out there for everybody."
Middlebrook is NASCAR's final arbitrator. He retired in 2008 after 49 years with General Motors and is paid $1 a year by NASCAR for the position he took over at the start of the 2010 season.
In three previous rulings, he had rescinded but not overturned entire penalties.
Hendrick, a longtime Chevrolet dealer and partner in NASCAR and one of six people who spoke at Middlebrook's retirement dinner, thought Tuesday's process was fair.
"I think he's very smart, and he's very detailed," Hendrick said. "We were not talking to someone who doesn't understand how a car is built, and he's read the rulebook."
Knaus has been in trouble before with NASCAR and has served three previous suspensions. He had a two-race suspension in 2005 reduced to probation on appeal.
His last suspension was six races in 2007 for an infraction found at Sonoma.
He long has argued that he's not an outright cheater, and his infractions have been cases of Knaus finding loopholes in the rulebook or exploiting gray areas. With his five championships, he's considered one of the greatest crew chiefs in NASCAR history. But he reiterated Tuesday that he's not concerned about his reputation.
"It is what it is," he said. "I am not really worried about my reputation; I'm worried about winning races for Hendrick Motorsports. If people don't like the way we do it or what's happened in the past, that's sad.
"I don't like personal digs, because this is a business, this is a sport, but that's the way it is."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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