Drivers and teams were vocal against NASCAR’s uncontrolled tire policy; The rule has now been updated
Two weeks ago, Denny Hamlin’s crew left a tire more than arms length away during a pit stop. That resulted in a penalty during the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Hamlin was sent to the tail of the field. His day was ruined over a few inches on a pit stop.
“Ruined our day. And for what? A nickel and dime judgment call? This intent is not why this rule was put into place. Let’s go back to using common sense,” Denny Hamlin said of the penalty.
A tire sitting in place right next to a changer is not uncontrolled. If it’s a real safety issue then let’s get back the 40 guys we laid off who used to carry these tires in a “controlled” manner,” another tweet from Hamlin read
The tweet was highly popular among NASCAR fans. 3.4k likes, 300 retweets and 250 comments later…
NASCAR adjusts the uncontrolled tire rule
“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,” said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR vice president of officiating and technical inspection. “
“To be clear, tires must still be returned from the outside of the pit box in a controlled manner.”
In other words, having a tire roll across the pit lane and into the grass will result in a penalty. Additionally, leaving tires outside of your pit box and forcing drives to move around them, will also result in a penalty.
New NASCAR uncontrolled tire rules:
-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.
New NASCAR road course pit stop rules
On August 4th, 2019 the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will return to Watkins Glen International. It’s a clockwise race track, unlike most tracks in the United States which are counter-clockwise.
Going the opposite direction causes some unique strategies on pit road. The bigger teams have the staff to run practice simulations and get used to the new strategies.
Some of those strategies put crew members in a danger zone. For example, if the crew changes the inside tires first and then goes to the outside. Then, those crew members are exposed to on coming traffic as cars leave the pit lane.
“When changing all four tires, crew members must change/remove the outside tires first. The penalty for changing/removing the inside tires first will be restarting at the tail end of the field under caution or a pass-through under green.”
“Additionally, beginning at the Watkins Glen race weekend, we are mandating that outside tires must be changed first during a four-tire stop, to reduce crew members’ exposure to adjacent vehicles departing their pit stalls,” Sawyer said in a statement.
“Our commitment to safety remains unchanged, and these rules adjustments will lessen potential danger for crew members.”