Originally created 09/12/98

Gordon's tires investigation shows nothing amiss



RICHMOND, Va. -- Jeff Gordon apparently is just too good. No cheating. No tire soaking. No chemicals giving him an unfair advantage.

NASCAR vice president of competition Mike Helton on Friday declared an investigation into possible tire tampering by Gordon's Winston Cup team over. He said independent tests conducted on tires used by Gordon and Mark Martin in the CMT 300 at Loudon. N.H., Aug. 30, found no tampering.

"We have exhausted all known tests on the tires from the No. 24 and No. 6 cars through an independent lab," Helton said. "The tests have found nothing.

"The issue of the New Hampshire tire inspection is now closed."

Gordon's tires were impounded after he won at Loudon. It was his fifth victory in six races, and came when he pulled away after taking on only two new tires while the rest of the leaders took four during late stops.

Rival teams, led by Martin's team owner Jack Roush, complained that Gordon must have been doing something illegal to run away on old tires.

Helton said Gordon's team, owned by Rick Hendrick, and Martin's were informed of the results earlier Friday, but Roush said he did not yet know the results and would not comment.

The lab, which Helton would not identify, tested tires used by Gordon and Martin in the race, as well as from other cars and off the Goodyear truck.

The tests found the tires were all the same, said Tony Freund, the lead engineer of the tire company's stock car tires program. He said any agents introduced after the tires were manufactured would have been detected.

In response to the controversy, NASCAR last week changed its policy of releasing race-day tires to its teams on the morning of a race, instead holding them until about an hour before the start.

It also now requires teams to trade in tires used in qualifying and pre-race practice to get another set, instead of receiving all its tires at once, but Helton did not anticipate any major rules changes.