NASCAR removes live pit stops in select events for 2020

NASCAR is running a test in seven races for 2020; Here’s how it works

David Pepper: “It’s going to create stories and names that maybe aren’t household names that you see every single week.”

Pit stops are one of the more expensive pieces of heading to the race track. And if you’re going to do it fast, it’s even further expensive.

For 2020, NASCAR is going to run an experiment. Four NASCAR Xfinity Series events and three NASCAR Truck Series events will lack live pit stops.

This is the format at many stepping stone series below the NASCAR level. Teams head for the pit lane under yellow, they’re given a select amount of time to change tires, add fuel and make adjustments.

As teams enter the track, they pick up in the same spots that they entered pit lane. This requires a much smaller number of crew members to complete a pit stop. It’s a massive cost saving measure.

At the same point, it’s a measure to level the playing field. Larger teams are able to develop pit crews and techniques. Smaller teams save money with slower crews. It’s one of many things that make it hard for them to compete.

Pit stop rules without LIVE stops

Yellow Flag: During a yellow-flag full cycle (non-quickie yellow) pit stop at oval tracks, a team may change two tires and add fuel. For a four-tire stop, a team must pit a second time during the caution period.

Road Course Yellow: At road courses for a full-cycle caution period, a team may change four tires or add fuel. A team opting for four tires and fuel must make a second trip to pit road.

Quickie Yellow: On both types of tracks, abbreviated caution periods — or “quickie” yellows — will provide only one opportunity for all cars to pit. Teams may change two tires and add fuel on their only stop on oval tracks in a quickie yellow.

On road courses during quickie yellows, teams may change four tires or add fuel on their only opportunity to stop.

Limits / Penalties

Time Limit: Teams will be given a time limit for pit stops. This will change on a track by track basis. The penalty is the rear of the field.

No time limit will be enforced on green-flag pit stops, except for vehicles on the six-minute Damaged Vehicle Policy clock. Tire changes under green will only be allowed if a vehicle has an incident (a flat tire, spin or crash) verified by race officials.

Teams will be permitted to add fuel during a green-flag stop.

NASCAR Restart Lineup Order: The restart lineup will be based on pit stop strategy.

-cars that didn’t pit
-vehicles that pitted once
-those that pitted twice
-lap(s)-down vehicles that did not pit
-lap(s)-down vehicles that pitted once
-lap(s)-down vehicles that pitted twice
free-pass vehicles
-wave-around vehicles
-penalized vehicles

Teams cannot gain or lose positions based on the speed of pit service in these races; positions will only be gained or lost based on their strategy, whether they stay out or opting for one stop versus two.

Penalties: Teams will be issued a two-lap penalty for violating the restrictions on tire changes and fuel.

NASCAR rain tires - Watkins Glen International
WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 04: Cars pit during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 4, 2018 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Eric Peterson

“We really feel like this new pit stop procedure for the stand-alone races is kind of a unique opportunity we have with those events to try something new in the Gander Truck Series and the Xfinity Series that we hope will provide some increased incentive for teams to make differing strategy calls,” said Eric Peterson, Xfinity Series technical manager.

“It will help mix up the event, provide more comers and goers and on-track passing during the race. The only way to really get a view of this is to do it, and we felt like taking a deliberate approach and doing it at the stand-alone events would be an excellent way to test it out, analyze the results when we get done and see where we go.”

“The stand-alones in general provide some additional logistical and efficiency challenges for Gander Trucks and Xfinity teams,” Peterson said.

“Any time you have races where we’re not a companion to Cup or Cup is in a different area of the country, it is logistically harder for the Xfinity and Truck teams to accomplish those races and do all the things we do on a normal weekend.”

“A lot of the teams — a good portion, not all of them — do utilize sharing pit crew personnel between Cup and Xfinity and Gander Trucks that it is a logistical hurdle for the teams to fly those individuals back and forth.”

“Trying this procedure at these events certainly alleviates a lot of that burden on the teams to make that happen.”

This could be expanded in the future

“We’re definitely using it as a trial and something that we can take a look at with these events and analyze it and go from there,” Peterson says.

“There’s no imminent plans to do anything beyond what we’re doing right now, but just like everything, we try to look all the time at how we can make it better for our fans and we’re going to use these events to see how it plays out and analyze the results to look at for the future,” Peterson concluded.

NASCAR Truck Series
FORT WORTH, TX – JUNE 09: Trucks come down pit road for service during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

David Pepper

“The goal is to allow — like in the Truck Series, Jordan Anderson, who has had many good runs, and then we come down pit road and he can’t compete on pit road with the pit crew,” said David Pepper, general manager for ThorSport Racing in the Gander Trucks ranks.

“This will allow that to go away and a team like that to compete at a high level and have an opportunity to showcase their crew chief and driver talent and their team’s talent in building a fast race truck.”

“So we’ve leveled the playing field, and I think you’re going to see a lot of really good stories from a lot of really good race car drivers that are out there that are going to have an opportunity to go run in the top five and go run in the top 10.”

“And it’s going to create stories and names that maybe aren’t household names that you see every single week, and it’s just going to make the competition better,” Pepper concluded.

2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series events without pit stops

May 30, 2020
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

June 13, 2020
Iowa Speedway

August 1, 2020
Iowa Speedway

August 8, 2020
Road America

Stewart Friesen - NASCAR Truck Series pit stop
MARTINSVILLE, VA – MARCH 23: Stewart Friesen, driver of the #52 Halmar International Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series TruNorth Global 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 23, 2019 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
2020 NASCAR Truck Series events without pit stops

June 12, 2020
Iowa Speedway

August 21, 2020
World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

September 6, 2020
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park


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