(NEW YORK) — NASCAR officials are investigating whether race teams tampered with tires using a technique called “bleeding” to gain an improper advantage.
Officials seized tires from eight teams following the last two races, including tires from Kurt Busch and Joey Logano.
“Bleeding” involves poking miniscule holes in the tires to slowly release air, improving tire durability and helping drivers get an ideal grip on the track. NASCAR officials confiscated the wheels of Logano and Kevin Harvick two weeks ago, and those tires did not show evidence of “bleeding.”
NASCAR is still awaiting results from the latest eight tests. ABC News attempted to contact all of the crews involved in the investigation, but those efforts were unsuccessful. If caught cheating, drivers could face as much as a $125,000 fine and a six-race suspension.
Some drivers, including Denny Hamlin, say those penalties don’t go far enough.
“If it’s out there and they know about it, you should be gone forever,” Hamlin said. “If they find [impropriety] multiple times with somebody, they should have a permanent vacation somewhere.”
NASCAR officials told ABC News that the tire inspections are frequently performed and not unusual, but normally these measures don’t receive such widespread attention. Jeff Gordon is concerned by the recent investigations.
“I’ve heard a lot of things with valve caps and poking holes in tires for years. But I’ve never seen it done. I’ve never had proof that it was done,” Gordon said. “So it’s very interesting to me that NASCAR is investigating this further.”
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