NASCAR has announced that Newman's Whelen Modified team committed violations on Saturday in winning the Loudon race, and as a result has stripped Newman of the win and disqualified him from the race. As NASCAR indicated in announcing the violation, "the intake manifold ports did not completely seal to the cylinder head ports. The use of metal shim-type intake manifold gaskets is not permitted."
So what kind of advantage did this give? More air to the engine. Sirius XM's Dave Moody reported that the car's intake manifold bolts were apparently drilled, which lets air bypass the restrictor plate. Those holes were allegedly filled with wax to disguise their presence from inspectors, and then the wax melted in the race's heat. Allegedly slick, yes?
As a result of the violation, crew chief Mike LaRochelle has been suspended from all NASCAR regional touring events until the end of the year, as has Kevin Manion, owner of the No. 7. Manion, Jamie McMurray's crew chief, will apparently be allowed to continue his Sprint Cup duties without further action.
The No. 7 car drew NASCAR's attention because of Newman's impressive run in the last two years: four starts at Loudon and Bristol, four wins. That does tend to raise an eyebrow or two.
- Ryan Newman