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NASCAR: Newman's team manipulated tires

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) NASCAR levied harsh penalties against Ryan Newman's race team Tuesday after determining Richard Childress Racing manipulated the tires Newman used at Auto Club Speedway in California.

There had been rampant speculation throughout the Sprint Cup garage that teams were drilling tiny holes in their tires to allow air to escape during a race. The process is known as "bleeding tires" and NASCAR last week at Martinsville Speedway warned crew chiefs about the penalties that would be levied against any team caught.

Newman was one of four drivers to have his tires taken by NASCAR after the March 22 race at Fontana. The tires were sent for an independent inspection, and NASCAR said Tuesday that Newman's tires were found to have violated a rule that "bars any modifications to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure."

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