A tire exited the pit box of Clint Bowyer on Sunday at Kansas Speedway during the NASCAR race; No penalty
An explanation from the EVP and a look at the NASCAR rule book regarding uncontrolled tires on pit road
The Stewart-Haas Racing crew jumped over the wall to service the #14 machine of Clint Bowyer. The right side tires were replaced with new shoes. The old worn tires were then scooted back to the pit wall.
The rule states that the tire must remain within an arms length of the crew member. It also states that the tire must be moving in the same direction of the crew member.
When heading to the right side of the car, all of those things were check marked. As the jack dropped and the crew headed to the left side of the car, the old left rear tire was already leaned against the pit wall.
The old right front was sent in the same direction as the left rear tire. A crew member reached over the wall to catch it. However, the two old right side tires bounced off of each other.
The old right front was missed by the tire catcher was reached over the wall. Instead, it bounced into the pit stall that was just ahead of Clint Bowyer.
Fans were expecting a penalty for Clint Bowyer. That penalty never came.
Clint Bowyer went on to finish 13th in the event. He will join all three of his teammates as all four SHR cars have advanced to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs.
You can watch of video of the Clint Bowyer pit stop that’s being discussed in the video at the bottom of this post.
Steve O’Donnell explains the uncontrolled tire penalty
“As the rule stands, if the tire’s controlled until it gets to the inside of the pit pox,” NASCAR EVP Steve O’Donnell explained via ‘The Morning Drive’ on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. “That’s kinda the first part [of the rule].”
“Then, it is allowed to cross into an adjacent pit pox. That happened in both of those cases.”
“Then, it can’t impede another car. In this case, if Clint would have been pitting and there’s another car right in front of him and it somehow had messed up the stop of that car, that would have been a penalty.”
“You can almost say the stars aligned for the #14 car there. Because it was open and they were able to get the tire halfway back.”
“It was a no call on our end, with the circumstances that surrounded it.”
Is this something that will change next year?
“We’ll review all of those calls. But, it’s one of those where we never want to have to make a call,” O’Donnell continued.
“The arms length is really when you’re on the car side of pit road. In terms of a tire getting away or a tire getting hit.”
“If you’ve made that move back toward the wall and it’s in control. You have that in a more safe position.”
“That’s always something we’ll look at. This year, it’s new in terms of the number of pit crew members and how we do it.”
“It’s certainly something we’ll review. But, that will be consistent with how we call it through the remainder of the season.”
From my understand of what Steve said, the uncontrolled tire rules change based on which direction you’re moving in the pit box. The rules are stricter when you’re moving away from the inside wall. Then, the rules lax a bit as you come back across your stall and to the inside pit wall.
Which is a bit confusing.
NASCAR Rule Book:
NASCAR considers a tire/wheel controlled when all of the following are met:
“A crew member must remain within arm’s reach and moving in the same direction as the tire/wheel when removing the tire/wheel from the outside half of the pit box.”
“The tire/wheel must never cross the center of pit road.”
“The removed tire/wheel must not be allowed to roll free into an adjacent competitor’s pit box.”