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What goes into NASCAR's pit stops?

NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500
NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500
Ankit Agarwalla
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In NASCAR, and other motorsports, winning and losing is a matter of milliseconds. Races can literally be won or lost solely upon how swiftly the pit crew reacts and gets its driver back on the track.

While the crew chief heads the affairs, they are ably supported by one or more race engineers in making technical and strategic decisions along the way. In NASCAR parlance, it is known as the pit strategy.

While that is one part of the job, the ability to make the right choices ranging from the number of tires to be changed, whether two or four, to just refilling the tank, makes all the difference.

Of course, these decisions are directly dependant on the track you are racing on.

NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500
NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500

The car chief, jackman, two tire changers, gas man, and the tire carrier make up the five members allowed to go over the wall to service the car. The utility man makes for the sixth member, only if permitted.

The clock for pit stops starts ticking from the very moment the car stops in its pit stall to the moment it leaves it.

A successful pit stop for four tires along with fuel can usually last 12 to 16 seconds. Around five to seven seconds for two tires and fuel, and approximately two to three seconds if only refilling the tank work is to be done.

The numbers, of course, vary depending upon the quality of the crew.

While there may not be enough verified information on fastest pit stops in NASCAR, the crew No. 9 of Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with Chase Elliott behind the wheels clocked an average four-tire stop of 14.134 seconds in the 2019 season.

And Kevin Harvick's pit stop of 13.816 seconds at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was clocked as the fastest for the 2020 season.

Also Read- 4 titleless drivers who could win in 2021


Will the NASCAR pit stop time drop in the coming years?

NASCAR tests NextGen Cup car at Homestead Miami Speedway
NASCAR tests NextGen Cup car at Homestead Miami Speedway

There is a high probability that the pit stop timings for NASCAR will drop in the times to come. Thanks at large to the NextGen car which will be rolled out in the Cup Series starting in 2022.

The NextGen car will use just a single lug nut to fasten its tires, compared to the five lug nut pattern which is currently employed in the cars.

NASCAR Cup Series Test
NASCAR Cup Series Test

This will be made possible by the new 18-inch aluminum wheels which are three inches bigger than the ones used now.

While it remains to be seen how fruitful this innovation might turn out to be in the years to come, one thing is for sure, it will keep the pits highly competitive.

You May Also Like- How can NASCAR cars go so fast


Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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