NASCAR engine builder says RCR is cheating

UPDATE The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing (RCR), regarding allegations made in a lawsuit filed by a former employee:

The allegations made about RCR in a lawsuit filed by a disgruntled former employee are absolutely untrue. Specifically, our cars passed NASCAR inspection both before and after qualifying for the 2006 Daytona 500. Additional allegations made are also untrue. We will make no further comments until after the issue is resolved in a court of law.

09/21/06 A lawsuit filed by a former Richard Childress Racing employee includes specific allegations that engines the team used in events at 2006 Speedweeks at Daytona were designed to defeat NASCAR rules.

The team denies the allegations.

Anthony Corrente, who lost his job as assistant manager for engine research and development for RCR earlier this year, filed his suit Wednesday in Mecklenburg County superior court. It alleges wrongful termination, defamation and breach of contract against the team, which fields Nextel Cup cars for Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer.

Corrente said he inspected an engine from Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet after the Budweiser Shootout and found it had been altered to allow more air to enter, which would be contrary to the purpose of carburetor restrictor plates used at the Daytona track.

“Inserts were placed in the four outside corners of the cylinder head where the manifold is attached," the lawsuit says.

When tightened, the bottom of the bolts hit these inserts, leaving room for air to get in between the intake manifold and the cylinder head. Such air would get to the engine beneath the restrictor plate, which is designed specifically to limit the flow of air. More air means more power, at least in theory.

The suit also says that Burton won the pole for this year’s Daytona 500 with another engine that had the same modifications. Burton’s engine passed NASCAR inspection following the qualifying session.

Corrente said he found the inserts when he checked over the engine from Harvick’s car after four pistons were damaged in the Shootout.

“I called Richard in Daytona because I was concerned about his reputation," Corrente said. “He said we would talk about it when he got back from Daytona."

When Childress returned, Corrente’s lawsuit says, Childress responded by saying “all teams do something to enhance performance."

David Hart, a spokesman for Richard Childress Racing, said Thursday that Corrente’s allegations are untrue. “We will deal with them in the courts," Hart said. More at ThatsRacin.com

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