What was one of the most dominant performances in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour history has turned into a disqualification and a big black eye for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman and the Kevin Manion and Gary Putnam-owned #7NY Modified.
NASCAR officials announced on Wednesday that Newman’s victory in Saturday’s F.W. Webb 100 was taken away and crew chief Mike LaRochelle and listed car owner Kevin Manion would be suspended from all NASCAR Regional Touring Series events until December 31st due to rule infractions in the area of the intake manifold ports. The win will now go to original runner-up Todd Szegedy.
From the NASCAR release:
“The team was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-I (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20D-5.9P (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) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book. The violations were discovered during post-race inspection on July 16.”
After Newman went to victory lane on Saturday in the F.W. Webb 100, his car was taken to post-race technical inspection. Issues arose, forcing WMT officials to call in the assistance of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby, who further analyzed the winning #7NY car and the ECR Engines power plant.
The car eventually was loaded into a NASCAR trailer and taken to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina.
“We pulled the vacuum out of it (Saturday) and did a pressure test on it and there was a leak,” Darby told Speed51.com on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “We will take it back and test it again and pull it apart to see where the leak was coming from.”
No word came from NASCAR officials on Monday nor Tuesday about the possible outcome of the inspection on Newman’s car until word came from NASCAR Public Relations at approximately 12:30pm on Wednesday announcing the disqualification of the car from the event.
In addition to the disqualification, Manion, as the listed car owner, was suspended from all NASCAR regional touring series events until December 31st, 2011. Manion’s suspension only goes towards NASCAR’s touring events such as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, and will not affect his role as crew chief for Jamie McMurray’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team.
Crew Chief Mike LaRochelle also was suspended from all NASCAR regional touring events until December 31st. No suspension was given to Newman, just the disqualification from the race.
The disqualification comes after Newman had apparently won his third-straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after sweeping both events there in 2010. Newman also won the 2010 NASCAR WMT event at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee in the same #7NY.
Todd Szegedy inherits what is now his 16th career victory after passing Ron Silk on the final lap for what appeared to be the runner-up spot.
Speed51.com will remain on top of the situation should more information arise.