MWR: Hyder says he's in the dark over illegal additive

Updated: February 22, 2007, 3:16 PM ET
By Marty Smith | ESPN.ccom

Intake-gate gets more complex by the day.

Michael Waltrip Racing vice president Ty Norris told ESPN.com Thursday that the company offered crew chief David Hyder an opportunity to come clean about the illegal additive found in the fuel system of Waltrip's Toyota following qualifying for the Daytona 500.

Hyder didn't do it.

In fact, he claims he can't.

Norris said Hyder maintained his innocence -- even with the company promise of no termination in exchange for information.

Norris said Hyder continues to say he has neither information nor answers as to what the substance is, how it was introduced into the fuel system or, ultimately, what it does.

The crew chief could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.

Hyder had been given an indefinite leave of absence with pay from Michael Waltrip Racing on top of his suspension by NASCAR.

Norris said earlier this week that Hyder will not be allowed at the shop until it is determined if he had anything to do with the foreign substance that was found in Waltrip's engine during pre-qualifying inspection for last Sunday's 500.

NASCAR suspended Hyder and competition director Bobby Kennedy indefinitely. Hyder also was fined $100,000 and Waltrip was penalized 100 championship points.

A source close to the situation told ESPN.com last week that Hyder eventually will be fired.

Marty Smith is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage. He can be reached at ESPNsider@aol.com.

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