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Was it a mix-up, or hanky panky, at Infineon?UPDATE Jeff Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports team avoided potential damage to its engine Friday when crewmen discovered lower-octane gasoline in its fuel cans during the day's first practice session at Infineon Raceway. The discovery was made when the team was topping off the #24 Chevy after Gordon had made brief runs early in the day's lone practice. Once the team realized the gasoline going into the car didn't have the expected bluish-green tint, crewmen alerted officials to the problem. That fuel was then drained from the car and replaced. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said officials checked every car in the garage after the Gordon issue was brought to their attention, but found no other problems. In addition to racing fuel, Infineon Raceway's tanks also contain lower-octane gas that can be used to fuel track vehicles. Track officials said Saturday that officials with Sunoco, the official fuel supplier for NASCAR, take control of the pumps a day before the track opens. In most cases, any pumps that dispense lower-octane fuel at a track are locked so that that fuel is not accidentally provided to competitors. Jeff Andrews, head of engine development for Hendrick Motorsports, said the team never made it out on the track with the lower-octane fuel. Such gasoline, he said, raised some concern initially. Teams arrive at the track for race weekends with empty fuel cells and gas cans. The cars are fueled while going through the inspection process prior to practice and only after the fuel cells have been inspected. The fuel that was added at that time, Andrews said, "looked normal" and said the Gordon team "was the only team in our camp that we know of, for sure, that had that issue." SceneDaily
06/19/10 Jeff Gordon's #24-Chevy, for some reason no one really wanted to explain, wound up with a tank of gasoline that wasn't the right stuff, when it was filled up at the Sunoco gas pumps Friday morning. Sunoco officials said they couldn't discuss the situation and referred questions to NASCAR officials NASCAR officials said they were studying the situation and didn't have anything to say just yet.
"We'll know more after qualifying," NASCAR's Robin Pemberton said. Doug Duchardt, one of the top bosses at the Gordon-Rick Hendrick operation, likewise said he couldn't say much about the situation either. Chevrolet officials also declined to comment.
A look at the three fuels available at the garage gas station shows two leaded fuels, one 114 octane, one 116 octane, and a third labeled 'unleaded' read "GTX260" at 98 octane. NASCAR teams are to be using the unleaded fuel. It would appear - and this is what some rivals were told - that a gas pumper inadvertently put some of the 'leaded' fuel in Gordon's car. The issue was apparently noted when the see-through fuel lines didn't show the blue-dye that NASCAR's official fuel carries, that it was instead clear. If there were other cars that also got the wrong fuel, it was unclear. But teams were told later to make sure the fuelers put the right fuel in their cars.
There was some question that the 'wrong' fuel in Gordon's car might have been some new E-15 racing fuel, which is being tested for possible use next season in NASCAR. Duchardt said the fuel in question was not related to any fuel the team might have used in any recent testing: "We went to the pumps (Friday morning) and got the fuel. It wasn't the color we were used to. But I don't know if the contents of the fuel were incorrect or not. I haven't been in the middle of it with NASCAR so I don't know the specifics. They tested the fuel; they have the results."
Richard Childress: "I heard it (the fuel in Gordon's car) had some discoloration. It could have come from somewhere they were testing the car; they might not have gotten all of that (other fuel) out of the car. That would be easy to do." Gordon recently tested at Watkins Glen. Whether or not he might have tested with E-15 racing fuel is unclear. NASCAR teams have been testing with E-15 for some time, to help NASCAR with the planned changeover. MikeMulhern.net
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