Waltrip’s team joins cheat list

first_imgWaltrip, docked 100 points, will be allowed to participate in today’s races that determine the field for NASCAR’s biggest event of the year. David Hyder, his crew chief, was thrown out of the garage and fined $100,000. Team director Bobby Kennedy also was kicked out. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A second day of scandal hit the Daytona 500 on Wednesday when two-time winner Michael Waltrip’s crew chief and team director were thrown out of NASCAR’s biggest race for cheating. They were suspended indefinitely after an illegal substance was found during inspection for the season-opening race. “This is not the way you want to enter the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, by any means,” said Jim Aust, president of Toyota Racing Development. “But circumstances are what they are, and we’ll support NASCAR in any way we can to help to help them find a resolution to the issue.” Five teams have been caught cheating during preparations for Sunday’s race. The crew chiefs for 2003 champion Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Scott Riggs and Elliott Sadler all were suspended Tuesday. NASCAR officials would not reveal what they found in Waltrip’s intake manifold, but a person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press it was a property contained in jet fuel. NASCAR competition director Robin Pemberton said only that the substance was not jet fuel itself. “We’re not going to go into any great detail, but it was a foreign substance that we feel should not have been inside the engine, and we’ll leave it at that,” Pemberton said. “I don’t think this is anything that we’ve seen in the recent past.” center_img The substance was found during the inspection of Waltrip’s new Toyota Camry before Sunday’s qualifying session. NASCAR seized the part and shipped it back to North Carolina for analysis, and spent all day Wednesday pulling parts and pieces from under the hood. The manifold is a part of the engine that supplies the fuel/air mix to the engine cylinders. Waltrip’s team coated the inside of it with an illegal substance that is believed to be a property contained in jet fuel. Waltrip’s team maintains it was oil. Adding the substance, described by NASCAR as an oxygenate, would boost the octane in the fuel, thus making the engine run better at higher horsepower. Pemberton said the substance was discovered when a NASCAR official reached his hand into the manifold to feel for loose parts. “When he brought his hand out, there was a substance on there that was unlike anything he had ever seen in the inspection line before,” Pemberton said. Some rival team members said they thought NASCAR should have taken away more points from Waltrip’s team, because in a sport where cheating is common, tampering with the fuel is a rarity. “Throughout the garage area I think everybody knows you don’t mess around with tires, you don’t mess around with the engine, the restrictor plates,” Pemberton said. “Those things are very taboo.” The last penalty NASCAR issued for a fuel-tampering violation was harsher than Waltrip’s. In May 2000, driver Jeremy Mayfield and team owner Michael Kranefuss were penalized 151 points each for a fuel-related violation found at Talladega Superspeedway. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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