Tire changer Eric Maycroft on the pit gun failure: “It’s like being on an island all by yourself and nobody is there.”
Kevin Harvick lost the lead due to a pit gun failure at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The team had to bring the car back down pit road after dominating the race to that point.
Yet, Kevin Harvick wasn’t the only one to suffer from an air gun malfunction. It’s the second race for the standardized pit guns. They failed for multiple teams up and down the pit lane.
The #4 Stewart-Haas Racing team rebounded from the pit gun failure and went to victory lane anyway. Some 20 laps after the gun failure, the team reclaimed the top spot.
“We did have a slight malfunction in the pits,” front tire changer Eric Maycroft told Claire B Lang. “But, it didn’t matter because we had the rocket ship today. Right back to P1 in like 20 laps.”
Maycroft removed the tire on the right front of Kevin Harvick. He then felt the air pressure going down in the gun before swinging around the the left side.
“It’s like being on an island all by yourself and nobody is there. It is the worst. It is the bottom of the pits.”
“It was a little bit of a struggle. I tried my best to hold it together. But, I don’t think the lugs were tight so we had to come back down pit road.”
“I’m really glad we won.”
#4 rear tire changer
“There was definitely an unknown going into this weekend, rear tire changer Daniel Smith explains. “You don’t know exactly how the gun’s going to react. Especially for 500 miles.”
“Mine seemed fine last week. There was a few issues but overall it was fine.”
“When I saw Maycroft’s gun go down I definitely went and checked my own. At that point, you don’t know what’s going on up and down pit road. You don’t know if it’s an epidemic or if it’s a one-off thing.”
When teams arrive in the morning they pick up their air hoses as well as their pressure regulators. The teams then set up their pit stalls with the modem that Paoli distributes.
Lastly, an hour before the race, teams pick up their guns. In that hour, team will check the guns to make sure they are functioning correctly. They will also set the pressure to the desired pressure.
When the race is over the guns are handed back.
Claire B Lang: But, what if Maycroft takes the gun and slams it on the concrete first?
“I don’t think you can do that. Paoli, probably, would not like that.”
“It’s just growing pains right now. Overall, the guns are really good and their doing a good job. As long as they’re consistent, that’s all that you can ask for.”
#4 Crew Chief
“I have to be honest. The people that have took that on… Really have done an outstanding job,” Rodney Childers says from the media center after the win.
“There’s no way I could sit up here and complain about anything they’ve done. Because I can’t imagine taking that on over the winter.”
“My opinion is we’re going to go through up’s and down’s. We need to go through them together and learn together.”
The new standardized pit gun idea came late in the 2017 season. Paoli jumped into actually quickly, developing and producing guns for every team on pit road. Essentially, they only had 2-3 months.
Earlier in the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, this crew set the bar. The team became the first crew to crack the 14 second bracket during pit stops. That quick stop is highlighted below.