NASCAR announced sweeping changes to road crew rosters for all three major touring series. “Sweeping changes” are a beloved term in the NASCAR circles. This time the changes were, in fact, sweeping as a member of each NASCAR team was essentially swept right out of the shop.
NASCAR will eliminate one tire carrier position starting in 2018. There will only be 5 crew members allowed to go over the wall in 2018 to service the car. Down from the 6 that they allowed in 2017. Here are some of the key changes NASCAR will be making next season;
- 5 crew members over the wall
- NASCAR will limit the number of team personnel that can travel to the track
- Organizational Members- competition director, team managers, IT specialists, and technical directors. Three spots will be allotted for these members on a 1-2 car team, four spots on a 3-4 car team. Only one in the Xfinity/Truck series.
- Road Crew- crew chief, car chief, mechanics, engine tuners, specialists, and spotters. Cup teams are allowed 12, Xfinity is allowed 7 and Truck teams are allowed 6.
- Pit Crew- Over the wall members are limited to 5 in all three series.
- A standard air gun will be used in 2018. Sorry JGR.
- Gasman can no longer use the wrench to make adjustments in 2018.
- Team members will be required to wear armbands identifying which team they are with. That will also bar them working on another car.
These are pretty huge changes when you break it down. Teams can structure their team however they like. If they want to bring 12 specialists to the track, so be it. It’s open to however you want to interpret the rule. What isn’t super clear is if the organizational members for the Xfinity and Truck series are limited to one per position or only one of those 4 can be at a track each weekend.
Also do we really want to brand team members? Branding people historically has not turned out well, especially with armbands.
This Is About Safety & Cost Cutting
NASCAR said the elimination of an over the wall member was a safety measure. That’s true, there’s no way we can deny that. We’ve seen tire carriers get clipped and fewer people on pit road obviously makes it safer. But this was a move to save money too. The elimination of one of those positions not only saves on salary but also travel arrangements each weekend. That’s one less hotel room, meal, a seat on a flight, it’s a lot of money.
The standard air gun is about cost saving as well thanks to JGR. The boys over at the football coaches house were out there dropping $100k on an air gun turning a billion RPM’s liable to snap your wrist in .000001 seconds after you hit the trigger. Now everyone will have the same gun and JGR tossed money down the drain. Just the classic case of doing something fun and your buddy spending thousands to have something better and ruining the fun.
Slower Pit Stops
One thing that will definitely happen is slower pit stops. Unless these teams are genetically altering these guys to grow a third arm and look like the mail sorter from Men In Black 2, stops will be slower. Some tire changer is going to have to act like a tire carrier. Meaning he has to carry the gun and the tire. Set the tire down, take the lugs and old wheel off, throw the new one on, hit the lugs, run around the car and grab the other tire, take the lugs off, old tire off, throw the new one on. That’s a lot of work that will definitely take longer.
This is taking a wide receiver away from a quarterback and making him throw to himself. A pitcher without a catcher. A soccer team without another soccer guy. A forward without a center. It just doesn’t make sense. The game is going to be slower.
They’re interesting changes that will certainly be a storyline going into Daytona.
Oh, no air jack for 2018. Shoutout Lee Spencer again.
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