Toyota officials now say that the Roush Fenway Racing “proprietary part” Jack Roush claims was found in the possession of a Toyota team was a simple coil spring.
Toyota Racing Development President and CEO Jim Aust told ESPN.com's David Newton today that the incident occurred during a post-race teardown involving several cars, and that the part was immediately returned to Roush Fenway Racing when the mistake was discovered. Aust said he does not know how the spring got onto a table filled with Toyota parts, or which team it came from.
“It's unfortunate it happened the way it did,” he said. “It wasn't anything intentional. There's no reason (for it) to be done intentional. I have no idea how it happened to begin with."
Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith disputed Aust’s claim, saying the part in question was not, in fact, a coil spring. He declined to give further details, however, saying, "Jack is the only one to talk to at this time, and he presently doesn't want to make any additional comments.”
NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said the sanctioning body has not been asked to intervene, and is not interesting in doing so. "Stuff like that happens all the time; some by accident, some on purpose,” he said. “Those guys need to fix it themselves. We don't get in the middle of team squabbles.”