NASCAR-issued pit guns cause problems for several teams at Atlanta
NASCAR's new pit guns posed problems for several drivers, including winner Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., in the Cup race at Atlanta.
NASCAR's pit-gun initiative posed problems for at least four race teams Sunday in Atlanta, with defending Cup series champion Martin Truex's crew chief, Cole Pearn, telling NBC: "They're pieces of s—."
This season, NASCAR began issuing three standardized pit guns to every team at each race. After consulting with the Race Team Alliance, officials made the move as a cost-saving measure, to cut down on an expensive "arms race" as teams made their own specialized, ever-more expensive guns.
But after a trouble-free debut in the season-opening Daytona 500, problems surfaced at Atlanta. Kevin Harvick had to pit twice at lap 30 after the air hose came off the gun on his first stop. Although the extra stop dropped Harvick back in the field, he overcame the early misfortune to win the race.
Truex's Furniture Row Racing team wasn't so fortunate. The 2017 series champion had two slow stops because of problems with pit guns, before finally getting one that worked. He rebounded to finish fifth.
"I think everybody is a little concerned," Truex said. "Somebody else is supplying you the parts and the guns, and the quality control, you really don't have control in all that. Last year I don't think we had one single issue with a pit gun or any equipment in the pit stall. That says a lot. Thirty-eight races last year and no issues and two races this year and already an issue."
Multiples reports indicated both Kyle Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing team and Alex Bowman's Hendrick Motorsports team also had issues.
NASCAR senior vice president Steve O’Donnell told SiriusXM’s “The Morning Drive" that the sanctioning body is reviewing the situation.
"We never want to see failures with any part or piece," O’Donnell said. "We’ll have conversations and get it right. We want it to be in hands of drivers and teams. We’ll head to Vegas and hopefully get that cleaned up.”
Despite Harvick's early issue with the pit gun, his crew chief, Rodney Childers, said those who had implemented the pit-gun system had done an "outstanding job."
"I can’t complain about anything they’ve done," Childers said. "I can’t imagine taking that on over a two- to three-month span. We’re going to go through ups and downs, and we need to go through them together and learn together and that’s part of it.”