April 2014 Archives - Hood Hargett Breakfast Club

Chad Knaus discusses Jimmy Johnson NASCAR Start

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races won by seven different drivers. And six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is not among the winners.

Crew chief Chad Knaus isn’t overly concerned. He has seen this movie before. 

Chad Knaus Speaking to the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club

Chad Knaus Speaking to the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club

“I think we’re doing pretty good,” Knaus said Wednesday morning following a speaking engagement with the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “I think we had a car capable of winning (at Texas). We obviously had a car capable of winning Martinsville — we just came up a little bit short.

“Fontana, we had a car capable of winning there. Bristol, I think we had a car capable of winning there. So short a couple of tire failures and weird things, I think we’d be OK.”

Johnson is seventh in points as he and his team prepare to head to Darlington Raceway for this weekend’s Bojangle’s Southern 500. After opening the season with finishes of sixth or better in the first three races, Johnson finished 19th or worse in three of the next four. In spite of the finishes, he led 44 laps at Bristol and 104 at Auto Club Speedway — where a tire issue cost him the lead with less than 10 laps remaining.

At Texas, a large piece of metal punched a hole in the front of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet and damaged the windshield. Johnson struck the debris after teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. clipped the grass just off the racing surface on the frontstretch, then shot across the track and made hard contact with the wall.

Johnson’s crew made repairs, but a cut tire eventually put him two laps down. Unable to get back on the lead lap, he finished 25th.

“We’ve seen debris get scattered about, but man that was a pretty big piece of metal,” Knaus said of the Lap 13 incident. “It really wasn’t the windshield that created debris for us. That was a bad thing, but the windshield actually did exactly what it was supposed to do — it deflected whatever the debris was and we moved on.

“Our biggest problem was the big hole we had in the nose (of the car). Whatever put the hole in the nose was lodged inside the car. While Jimmie was running around out there, it fell out and that’s what cut the right rear tire. That’s why we lost two laps. Otherwise I think we would have been OK.”

Johnson, whose 66 career wins is No. 2 among active drivers, is a three-time winner at Darlington. He finished fourth in the race a year ago. Knaus said he is looking forward to returning to the track, often called the most difficult on the schedule.

Cup teams will have one day to do all of their on-track preparation — with two practices scheduled for Friday before qualifying at 6:05 p.m. ET.

“I like Darlington. It’s a tough track, it really is,” he said. “The schedule is even more difficult the way they’ve got it laid out, but I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s a very difficult race track, a very intense race track. Five hundred miles around that race track is extremely difficult. You don’t have an opportunity to relax and catch your breath. So it’s very taxing on the driver, but from the team’s standpoint, it’s pretty difficult, too.”

Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good Discusses Company Response to Dan River Spill with Hood Hargett Breakfast Club

Duke CEO Lynn Good speaking at a member luncheon of the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club

Duke CEO Lynn Good speaking at a member luncheon of the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club (Photo credit:  Two Redheads)

Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good defended her company’s response to the February coal ash spill into the Dan River, saying Duke will “continue to cooperate” with inquiries into the event.

Good did not stray far Wednesday from Duke’s previous public statements. She sidestepped questions that probed the differences between those statements and Duke’s legal positions.

Duke calls the Feb. 2 Dan River spill an accident for which it takes responsibility.

But Duke responded to four state lawsuits over ash contamination at its North Carolina plants this week by saying other discharges from its ash ponds were allowed by state permits.

“We have responsibility and maintain our commitment to safe, reliable operations,” Good told reporters after speaking to a Hood Hargett Breakfast Club lunch meeting. “We’re committed to water quality, we’re committed to the environment. And as a result of Dan River, the conversation has moved to the policy of ash management and ash (pond) closure.

“We’ve put together a very credible and thoughtful plan on how to move forward and will be working constructively with regulators and with policy makers to put together a plan that makes sense for North Carolina.”

Duke filed legal motions this week to minimize the role of advocacy groups who have joined the four lawsuits filed by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Those groups, which include the Charlotte-based Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, have criticized DENR for being too soft on Duke.

“It has been our position that DENR represents the citizens of North Carolina,” Good said. “I believe ultimately the court will have to make that decision, and we are moving forward with the plan that we have outlined.”

Duke says it will remove ash from ponds at its Riverbend power plant west of Charlotte and from the Dan River plant. It will continue moving ash from its Asheville plant. Other plants will move to dry-ash handling as outside engineers evaluate the company’s ash operations.

“Our highest priority is to work through this in a way that demonstrates lessons learned and our commitment to safe operations,” Good said.

Duke has bought full-page newspaper ads and written state legislators to apologize for the spill.

But it hasn’t taken the step Gov. Pat McCrory and many members of the public, according to polls, want to see: committing to remove all ash that is stored near water that could become contaminated.

“I appreciate that there are a number of people who have a point of view about the way we’ve handled this situation,” Good told reporters.

Duke says it will bear the costs of the Dan River cleanup but expects to ask state regulators to make customers pay for closing its 33 ash ponds across North Carolina.

Good told the Hood Hargett lunch meeting that “we need to continue to think about balance” between environmental protection and meeting electricity needs.

Noting the state’s 2002 Clean Smokestacks Act, which curbed air pollution from power plants, she said the Dan spill offers an “opportunity for Duke and North Carolina to lead” on ash policies.

“Our commitment to all of you is that Duke will do the right thing,” she said. Source: News Observer

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