NASCAR finds no tire irregularities By Shawn A. Akers RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 11, 1998) Case closed. Friday at Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR announced that an analysis of Goodyear tires taken from the race teams of the No.
NASCAR finds no tire irregularities By Shawn A. Akers
RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 11, 1998) Case closed. Friday at Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR announced that an analysis of Goodyear tires taken from the race teams of the No. 24 Chevrolet driven by Jeff Gordon and the No. 6 Ford driven by Mark Martin in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series following the Aug. 30 Farm Aid on CMT at New Hampshire International Speedway proved that no tampering had been done to the tires. It was revealed on a national teleconference Friday by NASCAR Vice President for Competition Mike Helton and Tony Freund, the lead engineer for stock cars for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, that numerous tests by an unnamed independent laboratory found no evidence of any irregularities involving NASCAR rules by either of the teams. "In an effort to address the issue that developed during post-race inspection following the NASCAR Winston Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway on Aug. 30, we have exhausted all known tests on the tires of the No. 24 and the No. 6 cars through an independent lab," Helton said. "The tests found nothing. This concurs with our initial inspection immediately following the event. "While our inspection procedure involving tires will continue and very well may evolve in the future, for now the issue of the New Hampshire tire inspection is closed." The tests done in the laboratory were extensive, Helton said. "What was done was basically they took some of the chemical that was claimed to have been an asset to a tire going faster, along with tires from the general Goodyear inventory at New Hampshire, and tires from the 6 and 24 cars, and analyzed them against each other to see if the chemical showed up in the tires," Helton said. "All of that proved that the tires from the 6 and the tires from the 24 were the same as the tires from the general inventory of Goodyears." Following the Aug. 30 event at New Hampshire, NASCAR Winston Cup Director Gary Nelson ordered some tires from Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet and Martin's No. 6 Ford, including those on the cars at the end of the race, brought to the NASCAR trailer. Gordon had taken on two tires during his final pit stop, compared to a four-tire stop by Martin. In the process of making the quicker pit stop, Gordon took the lead in the race and was subsequently unable to be caught. He won the race. Jack Roush, owner of the No. 6 Valvoline Ford, later made claims that he had been notified by an unidentified chemical company that "his competition" -- though no teams were ever named -- might be using some sort of undetectable solvent or "tire softener" to help give them an advantage on the race track. Roush went so far as to call some of Gordon's recent runs "miraculous." "There is not a solvent out there that is undetectable," Helton said. "And, as Tony Freund addressed, solvents are not used in the manufacturing of Goodyear tires, so our tests would have revealed them." PR representatives for Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports said no statements from the team or individuals would be made until after Bud Pole Qualifying for the Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 at RIR at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Gordon, however, saw no need to change his tune. "What am I going to say -- the same thing I said two weeks ago," said Gordon, dismissing the inquiry with a wave of his hand. Gordon has staunchly defended his team's innocence since Aug. 30. In a purely hypothetical situation, if the tires had been treated with some sort of "illegal material," the likelihood of the endurance of the tire over a period of laps in which Gordon and the 24 car ran at the end of the race at New Hampshire was nil, Freund said. "It's very unlikely someone could go that distance if they were treated," Freund said. "What you're doing basically when the tire is treated is you're starting to break down the rubber, and it carries the ingredient of the tire to the surface. "As the rubber starts to break down, it breaks down the tread, and as the tread breaks down, the sidewalls break down. So as you can deduce, the tire wouldn't last very long, and beyond a few laps, you're talking about something that's very unlikely." By and large in the Richmond garage area, comment was limited, with the general consensus being the conclusion reached by NASCAR and its laboratory was the expected climax to the affair.
Source: NASCAR Online