Water found in the fuel tanks of cars driven by #11-Denny Hamlin and #22-Dave Blaney during Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Atlanta was not isolated to those teams, a NASCAR official said Monday. Water also was discovered in the fuel of the Penske Racing cars driven by #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman after returning to Charlotte, N.C. In addition, water was found in the fuel cell of all three Richard Childress racing team cars belonging to #29-Kevin Harvick, #07-Clint Bowyer and #31-Jeff Burton. #16-Greg Biffle believes his car may have had water in its fuel, although no evidence was found.
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said the problem is more widespread than originally thought and that NASCAR has issued bulletins to all Cup and Truck Series teams to check for evidence of contamination so they can locate the source. Darby said everything from the underground fuel-holding tank at the track to the fuel trucks that deliver the gas to the individual gas cans are being analyzed. He said the underground tank is the least likely source because there is an alarm system located that can detect the slightest amount of contamination. Darby dismissed sabotage as a possible explanation, saying too many teams were affected for anyone to have been singled out.
More teams – including Pep Boys Auto 500 winner Jimmie Johnson – have found water contamination in their fuel systems as they have torn down their cars back at the shop today, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Monday afternoon.
Water found in the fuel tanks of cars driven by Denny Hamlin and Dave Blaney during Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was not isolated to those teams, a NASCAR official said Monday.
Water also was discovered in the fuel of the Penske Racing cars driven by Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman after returning to Charlotte, N.C.
Greg Biffle believes his car may have had water in its fuel, although no evidence was found.
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said the problem is more widespread than originally thought and that NASCAR has issued bulletins to all Cup and Truck Series teams to check for evidence of contamination so they can locate the source.
“It’s obviously something we’re concerned about,” Darby said during Monday’s test of the Car of tomorrow.
Darby said the contamination could have occurred as early as Thursday when the trucks took the track for the first time. He said NASCAR is working with Sunoco to aggressively find out how the water got there.
“It’s really difficult to pinpoint,” he said. “We have to almost work backwards.”
“Sabotage is also a possibility”, NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said. “There are ways people could put something in there. We don’t anticipate that. We have security here all night,” he said.
Denny Hamlin, who thought he had enough gas while leading when his car sputtered and didn’t start with three laps remaining in the Pep Boys Auto 500, actually had water in his fuel cell at the time.
Whether that caused him not to accelerate and get hit from behind by Martin Truex Jr. is uncertain, Joe Gibbs Racing Senior Vice President Jimmy Makar said Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, site of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race.
But what is certain is that Hamlin and Bill Davis Racing’s Dave Blaney had water in their fuel cells, and Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle also might have had a similar situation.
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said that no water was found in the Sunoco pumps following the race. Darby said all of the Sunoco documentation from the weekend shows no water in the tanks.
“The teams did give me a sample from each of those cars that has a little bit of water in it, but again water always settles to the bottom,” Darby said. “What you don’t know is when the water got introduced, was it two weeks ago, was it a week ago …
“What we’re pretty confident of is the dump cans they were using today, because they’re all stored in their tractor trailers and locked up all weekend, and all the fuel that we’ve taken, including just doing a chemical test on the [Sunoco] tanks over there, show no condensation.”