NASCAR officials have decided to limit the number of pit crew members who can go over the wall for next season, and the rule change will provide a difficult challenge to Cup teams.
There will be only five members of the pit crew allowed to go over the wall next year, which is down from six last season. The rule was created to help with safety as 40 less people will be over the wall during pit stops. It was also designed to cut costs for teams.
Drivers were surprised about the change, and Kyle Busch told ESPN he isn’t even convinced the rule will help with safety concerns.
“I don’t see how it’s going to be safer,” Busch said. “You’re taking 40 people of pit road, but you’re now going to have an opportunity for 20 tires being loose?
“The amount of talent you have going over the wall is only so great to be able to carry and do the things they’ve got to do already.”
Brad Keselowski was surprised about the change, and he said he doesn’t endorse it, either.
Teams are expected to use one tire carrier instead of two, but the strategy will likely be different for each team. Some teams have already started to practice new strategies to prepare for next season.
NASCAR officials will likely discuss how this will help with safety, but make no mistake about it: this move was to cut costs. It makes sense why NASCAR officials want to cut costs, but this change will make things much more difficult for teams.
Teams are so accustomed to using six members over the wall, and now they’ll have to completely alter their strategies to start next season. It will take several races for teams to adjust, and it will likely impact times on pit road during the first half of the season.
Keselowski and Busch see it as an unnecessary change, and it’s hard not to agree with them. It will just make things more difficult for teams, and it will provide another challenge on race days that drivers and crew chiefs have to worry about instead of racing.
The speed in which a pit crew can carry out a pit stop can have a drastic impact on a race, and now it’s almost like teams are having to start over. NASCAR executives can preach about how it will help with safety, but this is undeniably a move to help the sport financially more than it is about safety.