BRISTOL, Tenn. – Jimmie Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports team still has its crew chief and car chief at the track and hasn’t prepared for their absences, which could come next week.

NASCAR has suspended Johnson crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec for six weeks but has deferred the suspensions through the team’s appeals process.

Hendrick lost its initial appeal to a three-member panel last Tuesday and has its final appeal next Tuesday with NASCAR’s chief appellate officer John Middlebrook.

Middlebrook’s decision will be final on the penalties issued for what NASCAR says were illegal C-posts on the car Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway.

Hendrick Motorsports has said that the C-posts had passed inspection throughout 2011 and that NASCAR never put templates on the car. NASCAR officials says that the C-posts, the body work from the roof to the top of the rear quarter panel, represented illegal aerodynamic modifications.