RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Rusty Wallace managed to avoid hard-driving Jeff Gordon and finish first in the Pontiac Excitement 400 Sunday, but he might not have won the race.
Four hours after Wallace crossed the finish line, NASCAR officials announced they had taken the engine from his Ford for ``failing to meet compression ratio specifications.''
NASCAR spokesman Kevin Triplett said the engine had been tested more than once and did not comply with the organization's 14-to-1 compression standard. The inspection is routine for the winner's engine and at least two others after each race.
Triplett said there will be more testing on the engine before a ruling is announced, probably today.
Wallace and his had left the grounds of Richmond International Raceway late Sunday, and could not be reached for comment.
It is unlikely that Wallace will be stripped of the victory, given the precedent established by NASCAR when it determined that the 198th of Richard Petty's 200 career victories - in the Miller 500 at Charlotte in 1983 - was achieved with an illegal engine. The sanctioning body also permitted Mark Martin to keep a victory when an illegal part was discovered after he won this race seven years ago.