NASCAR changes pit crew rules and at-track roster limits for 2018
NASCAR pit crews and at-track team rosters will look slightly different for the 2018 season.
Pit crew numbers will be reduced from six to five next season in an effort to cut costs and create an equal field across all teams, according to an announcement from NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell (via NASCAR.com).
"The drive toward parity is to have more teams have the ability to win,” O’Donnell said, via USA Today. “We want everybody to have the same amount of resources at the track. And we want to put focus on other team members, as well.”
In addition to over-the-wall pit crew changes, rosters will be divided into two other categories: organizational and road crew. There will be restrictions on number of crew members who are allowed to come to the track in each category as well.
The organizational category includes the competition director, team manager, technical director, IT specialists and similar positions. Cup teams with two or fewer cars are limited to three people, while organizations with more than two cars will be allowed to have four members at the track. Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series will be limited to one person.
The road crew category includes crew chief, car chief, engineers, mechanics, shock specialist, tire specialist and aero specialist. Cup teams will be limited to 12 members while Xfinity teams can have seven and Camping World Truck Series will be limited to six members.
Another change NASCAR made to pit road will not allow the team's refueler to perform other duties. In past seasons, refuelers tended to help with the tires or make chassis adjustments during pit stops, but they will not be allowed to in 2018.
"These teams are experts at what they do,” O’Donnell said. “I think it will present some different challenges in terms of how teams approach it. That’s one of the beauties of this — we’ll see more innovation. The stops might be a little slower, but I wouldn’t anticipate anything drastic.”