NASCAR alters pit road rules, including uncontrolled tires

NASCAR has altered two pit road rules, most notably how it will enforce the penalty for uncontrolled tires.

NASCAR alters pit road rules, including uncontrolled tires
 Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry DeWalt pit stop
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Office, makes a pit stop
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Ally, makes a pit stop
 Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger pit stop
Pit road action

In a rules bulletin announced Wednesday, NASCAR has removed the requirement that a tire remain within an “arm’s length” of pit crew members servicing cars during pit stops.

The change does not eliminate the rule but beginning this weekend for NASCAR events at Pocono Raceway and Iowa Speedway, tires will be considered “uncontrolled” if they create a safety issue or interfere/impede another competitor’s pit stop.

“After discussions internally and with competitors and teams, NASCAR will adjust how we officiate the uncontrolled tire rule to focus on preventing a safety hazard rather than concentrating on the subjective ‘arm’s length’ criteria,” Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s vice president of officiating and technical inspection, said in a statement.

“To be clear, tires must still be returned from the outside of the pit box in a controlled manner.”

Here are the guidelines regarding uncontrolled tires:

  • Safety issues include but are not limited to tires rolling into the traffic lane of pit road. 
  • Tires may not be bounced or thrown at any time. 
  • Tires may be rolled from the outside half of the pit box to the pit wall, providing they do not create a safety issue or interfere/impede another competitor’s pit stop.  
  • Once tires are returned to the inside half of the pit box they may not roll back to the outside half of the pit box.  
  • Tires, servicing equipment and crew members may not interfere or impede with another team’s pit stop. Tires contacting a vehicle while being carried to the outside half of the pit box may be considered a no call.  
  • The penalty for an uncontrolled tire under green flag conditions will be a pass through, and starting at the tail end of the field under caution conditions. 
  • Tires must still be returned from the outside half of the pit box in a controlled manner before the vehicle exits the pit box. 

In addition, beginning at Watkins Glen next weekend, when a team performs a four-tire stop, the outside tires must be changed first.

If team mistakenly changes the inside tires first and subsequently changes the outside tires during the same pit stop it will be a penalty. The penalty for changing inside tires first during a four-tire stop will be a pass through under green flag conditions and tail end of the field for the restart under caution.

Sawyer said the four-time change was made to “reduce crew members’ exposure to adjacent vehicles departing their pit stalls.”

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Series NASCAR Cup
Author Jim Utter
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