Waltrip talks Klaus penalties; Whitlock on NFL Free Agency

From Fox Sports –

NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip on Chad Knaus Penalties: “There are enough questions to merit an appeal”

Whitlock: “The NFL is a crazy desperate league”

NASCAR ON FOX HEADS TO BRISTOL FOR FIRST SHORT TRACK OF 2012 – Defending Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart is off to one of the best season starts he’s ever had, but its Greg Biffle the field is chasing in the early days of 2012. On Sunday, March 18 (12:30 PM ET), the NASCAR on FOX season heads to Thunder Valley for NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing from Bristol, TN.

Coverage starts with the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace show hosted by Chris Myers, with up-to-the-minute reports, live interviews with drivers, crewmen and officials shaping the day’s action, and analysis from Darrell Waltrip and Michael Waltrip. Veteran analyst Jeff Hammond takes his extensive experience as a former championship-winning crew chief to where the action is, in the garages and pit road.  This week, Darrell Waltrip sits down with Kyle Busch.

Once the green flag drops, race announcer Mike Joy is alongside analysts Waltrip and Larry McReynolds to call all the twists and turns on the track while Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum patrol the pits for reports on teams and pit stops.

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Earlier this week, a three-member NASCAR appeals panel unanimously upheld the penalties handed down to five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus for failing an inspection prior to the Daytona 500 last month.  Johnson’s team lost 25 driver points and Knaus was suspended for six races and fined $100,000.  Hendrick motorsports argues that NASCAR’s penalty was too heavy handed and will appeal to NASCAR’s highest power, appellate officer John Middlebrook.  NASCAR on FOX’s lead analyst and Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip offered his thoughts on the topic.

On NASCAR’s penalty procedure:  “I’m glad NASCAR has a process.  There are a lot of things in this case that don’t look right and enough questions that John Middlebrook (NASCAR’s ‘supreme court’), will have to decide.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Middlebrook reduced the suspension.”

On what Johnson’s team should do if/when Knaus begins serving suspension:  “Take one of the other crew chiefs, maybe Steve Letarte or Allan Gustafson and let them be the crew chief on the 48.”

On how this affects Johnson’s points standings:  “He went from negative in points after the first race to 23rd and with another good week, in Bristol and then Fontana, he’ll be knocking on the door of the top 10.  Johnson’s argument is that if they weren’t penalized in points, they’d be in second right now but they can’t do anything about that and neither can Middlebrook.”

MARVEZ ON MANNING’S NEXT TEAM: PEYTON DOESN’T KNOW YET – FOXSports.com senior NFL writer Alex Marvez appeared on WFAN NY’s “Benigno & Roberts” program earlier today and offered his opinion on NFL free agent Peyton Manning.  “When it comes to Peyton Manning: I don’t think he knows yet.   I’m curious as to why he hasn’t chosen a team.  You’ve heard the pitch from Denver, Arizona & Miami.  Clearly nothing said from those three franchises blew Peyton away enough that he’d want to cancel any future visits,” said Marvez.  Next up to meet with Peyton Manning are the Tennessee Titans.  “Now, he’ll look into Tennessee.  The reality in Tennessee is that the owner, Bud Adams, wants Peyton Manning there and nobody else in the building does.  You didn’t see head coach Mike Munchak or general manager Ruston Webster beating down Peyton Manning’s door when he was released but the Titans will do whatever Bud Adams wants.”

WHITLOCK: “THE NFL IS A CRAZY, DESPERATE LEAGUE” – Heading into the offseason, FOXSports.com National Columnist Jason Whitlock thought any team offering Peyton Manning a significant contract would be crazy. “Manning has had four neck surgeries. So far, he hasn’t worked out for any teams. There’s a strategically leaked, grainy videotape purporting to be proof of Manning’s good health circulating the Internet and ESPN airwaves. The team with the most information about Manning’s health (the Colts) let him walk,” Whitlock writes. “Yep, I was very suspicious a week or two ago. Now? Not so much. The NFL is a crazy, desperate league. Randy Moss just got a new job! Mark Sanchez got a new contract! The Bears just went all-in with a receiver who appears to have some really serious domestic-violence issues! Why not give Manning $100 million? It’s only money.”

To read more from Whitlock, click here: http://on-msn.com/w6U677

FOXSPORTS.COM’s WHATIFSPORTS PREDICTS FINAL FOUR AND WINNER OF IT ALL WhatIfSports.com predicts that the Kentucky Wildcats will become the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions when the final game is played on April 2nd from New Orleans. Computers simulated the tournament 2,001 times factoring individual statistics, roster trends, injuries and player’s average minutes per game.  The top four favorites to win it all are Kentucky (20.2%), Syracuse (14.3%), North Carolina (11.2%) and Kansas (11.2%). The most common Final Four matchup prediction was Kentucky vs. Missouri and Syracuse vs. North Carolina. The computer simulator likes Belmont, BYU, North Carolina State and Texas to advance the first weekend and gives Texas a nearly 40 percent chance of reaching the Sweet 16. WhatIfSports.com, a site fully integrated into FOXSports.com on MSN, specializes in online sports simulations and fantasy-style games. With their custom sports simulators, users can match teams from any era and not only see a final score, but also view complete play-by-play summaries of each game. Games are simulated using proprietary technology that incorporates statistical data, past performances and ratings into a complex game engine.

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