In a stunning decision few people saw coming, Hendrick Motorsports won its final appeal of NASCAR's Daytona penalties against the No. 48 team on Tuesday.
No. 48 crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec had their six-week suspensions overturned by John Middlebrook, the chief appellate officer of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Board.
Middlebrook also restored Jimmie Johnson's lost 25 points, but curiously kept a $100,000 fine in place on Knaus.
The No. 48 team had been punished after the car was pulled out of the inspection line prior to Daytona 500 qualifying and found to have illegally modified C-posts installed on the car.
But team owner Rick Hendrick argued the C-posts were on the car for every race last year, and they were ruled legal numerous times.
NASCAR said it respected Middlebrook's decision, while Hendrick and Knaus told reporters outside NASCAR's R&D Center they expected to win the appeal all along.
We'll have much more on this story in the coming hours.