The new changes to pit crews will provide a challenge for NASCAR drivers this season, and each team is preparing for an adjustment period.
Each pit crew will only have five members go over the wall during pit stops, which is down from six members in previous years. Kevin Harvick said while the change will provide some difficulties early on, he’s actually in favor of the rule.
“I like change,” Harvick told Motorsport. “I like things that are different. A few things were accomplished in the pit crew changes. Getting 40 people off pit road is going to help the bottom line with the race teams.”
Harvick said the rule will slow down pit stops by a few seconds, but he doesn’t believe that’s necessarily a bad thing. He actually thinks it will move NASCAR’s pit stops back into the old days.
“I think the pit stops were in the 10-second range, and I think slowing them down a little bit and keeping those cars on pit road and having a little bit longer pit stop isn’t going to hurt anything,” he said. “The amount of money we were spending on the pit guns, the R&D and things wasn’t exactly fair for all the teams up and down pit road, so the spec gun is a good change.
“When I first started Cup racing, the pit stops were 22 seconds long. If I have to sit there for 12 or 13 seconds, I’m probably still going to think it’s really fast.”
Every team will be forced to adjust to the change, and it could take several races before pit crews are comfortable with just five team members. The teams that figure it out the quickest will have an early advantage this year.
Slowing down pit stops by a couple of seconds won’t be detrimental to the quality of racing, and it will also be safer to have 40 less people over the wall. The change will save teams a good bit of money during the year, and once teams grow accustomed to the rule, it shouldn’t be much of an issue.