Tamper, Tamper: No. 31 team Penalized for Tire Modifications

After rumors of tire tampering, NASCAR handed down penalties to Ryan Newman and his team Tuesday evening.

Tires were evaluated after the race at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, and the No. 31 team’s tires failed the inspection. As a result, NASCAR called it a P5 penalty, the second-highest offense on their transparent scale.

The penalties include the loss of 75 points in both the driver and owner standings, a $125,000 fine for crew chief Luke Lambert, and a six-race suspension for Lambert, team tire technician James Bender, and team engineer Phillip Surgen.

Richard Childress Racing president Torrey Galida made this statement following the announcement: “We understand the seriousness of the penalty. In fact, RCR has been one of the most outspoken opponents against ‘tire bleeding’ since the rumors began to surface last season. Once NASCAR provides us with the specific details of the infraction, we will conduct a further internal investigation and evaluate our options for an appeal.”

The rumors ramped up after NASCAR champion, Jeff Gordon, mentioned the issue after the start of the season. Other tires taken after the race at Auto Club Speedway, including those of Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, were found to be untampered. No problems arose from post-race inspection after this past weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway as well.

With these consequences in place, Newman falls from sixth to 27th in the standings.

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