Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Details On Newman's Disputed Mod Tour Win

More details have emerged regarding possible issues with Saturday’s winning NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour entry at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The car -– owned by Sprint Cup Series crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and driven by Ryan Newman -- has gone four-for-four in cameo appearances on the tour over the last two seasons, sweeping both 2010 NHMS events and dominating the circuit’s annual stop at Bristol Motor Speedway. He claimed Saturday’s F.W. Webb 100 from the pole position, taking the lead from Ronnie Silk on lap 84 and claiming a relatively comfortable 1.9-second win over runner-up Todd Szegedy. The car’s performance resulted in increased post-race scrutiny from NASCAR officials, and the sanctioning body ultimately impounded the car for further investigation.

NASCAR spokesman Jason Christley said Saturday that officials would take the car back to their Concord, NC, Research and Development facility. "If there is something in question, we take the parts in question back to the R&D Center to make full use of our resources and expertise there, rather than make a spot decision at the track," he said. While Christley stressed that the move “is not necessarily an indication of any impending penalty," multiple sources tell Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that the car’s intake manifold bolts appear to have been drilled, allowing air to bypass the restrictor plate. The holes were reportedly filled with wax, hiding the modification from NASCAR officials until the engine heated up on the racetrack, melting the wax and allowing more air to flow.

Penalties, if any, are expected to be announced Tuesday. While NASCAR has never overturned a win in its top three national series, there is precedent for such a move in its lower divisions. In 2008, Burt Myers was stripped of a Modified Tour victory at Martinsville Speedway after spliced ignition wires raised concerns over possible traction control.

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