NASCAR sends tires used in Fontana race for further evaluation by a third party

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NASCAR confirmed Wednesday to NASCAR Talk that it sent some of the tires used by teams at Auto Club Speedway for further evaluation in a third-party review.

The tires of Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman were taken after Sunday’s Auto Club 400 and brought to the R&D Center in Concord, N.C., as part of what NASCAR deems a “tire audit.”

NASCAR wouldn’t confirm which tires were sent for more examination, nor where they were sent after leaving the R&D Center.

Goodyear is uninvolved in the process. The decision to confiscate the tires for further scrutiny was made independent of the tire supplier and unrelated to durability. Goodyear occasionally keeps tires for further examination (such as with tire failures on the cars of Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. last October at Kansas Speedway).

It was the second consecutive Sprint Cup race that NASCAR conducted a tire audit. After the March 15 race at Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR checked the tires used by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick and found nothing out of the ordinary.

NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell told SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s NASCAR channel that the audits were “just something we like to do every once in a while.”

It’s unusual for NASCAR to send tires to an independent laboratory for examination, but an investigation was conducted on the tires of Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin. After Gordon won at New Hampshire in August 1998, Jack Roush, Martin’s car owner, had accused the competition of tampering. NASCAR said it found no wrongdoing after exhaustive testing.