Mystery persists in NASCAR Sprint Cup garage about what happened to Ryan Newman’s tires


CONCORD, N.C. — Some Sprint Cup crew chiefs and team officials say they still don’t know what NASCAR found wrong with the tires on Ryan Newman’s car despite NASCAR Chairman Brian France saying Thursday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that officials communicate with teams about such issues.

Asked why NASCAR has not explained to teams exactly what was done to Ryan Newman’s tires, which led to a P5 penalty – second-stiffest in the rulebook – France told “Sirius Speedway” host Dave Moody: “The teams that compete, we communicate that all the time to them directly about what the infraction is.

“They’re interested because, obviously, they don’t want to make the same mistake. So, there’s plenty of communication that goes on, as it always has been. There’s plenty of communication to make sure that everybody understands the reaction that we had to make.’’

Teams contacted by NASCAR Talk before Sprint All-Star Race practices Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway were not aware of what was done to the tires that led NASCAR to penalize Newman’s team. NASCAR took Newman’s tires after the March 22 race at Auto Club Speedway.

NASCAR publicly has not said exactly what was done to Newman’s tires other than state in a penalty report what rule was violated, noting:

20.16: Wheels and tires

A. Any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted.

20.16.2: Tires

F. Modifications to the tires, by treatment or any other means, will not be permitted.

The final penalty, after appeals, was a 50-point deduction for Ryan Newman and car owner Richard Childress. Crew chief Luke Lambert was fined $75,000 and suspended for six points races plus the All-Star race since it was held during that time, and placed on probation though Dec. 31. Tire technician James Bender and engineer Philip Surgen each were suspended for six races plus the All-Star race and placed on probation through Dec. 31.