With only one lug nut, will NASCAR pit stops change with fuel taking longer than a tire change?
NASCAR is set to debut their Next Gen car in 2022. One of the most controversial topics of the new car is the use of a single lug nut. Controversial you say? Of course, that doesn’t mean I understand why.
With 5 lug nuts, teams have been hitting four or three and using it to speed up their pit stops. That only works in a short run as if they do that for any length of time, the wheel will vibrate or even break off.
That part is likely gone. But, that’s not the reason NASCAR went to a single lugnut.
The single lug is a requirement for the larger aluminum wheel. Five lugs, simply weren’t going to work.
A single lug nut isn’t uncommon in racing but it is uncommon in oval racing. To these fans, it’s unheard of. Sanctions like F1, Indycar and IMSA all use a single lugnut.
But, with one lugnut instead of five, pit stops are likely to be quicker. At least, the tire changing part. So, are we going to run into a situation where the tires are changed well before all the fuel is added to the car?
Will the speed of a pit stop be based on how much fuel you decide to put in the car alone? That could be the case. But, NASCAR is already working on different options to fix that.
Austin Dillon comments on faster 2022 pit stops
Richard Childress Racing has played a major role in the build of the NASCAR Next Gen car. The first model of the car, was built by the team.
“We just had our first pit practice. Pit stops are going to be faster,” Austin Dillon stated via the Dale Jr download.
“Stuff’s happening, really quick. So, I think at some point the fuel flow will be a topic. You’re either going to have to have a really good gasman or we’re going to have to have some faster flow.”
Eric Warren details the single lug nut
Eric Warren is the director of NASCAR programs at General Motors.
“5 lugs or one, there’s not a lot of visual difference. The difference between one lug nut is there’s a lot more torque it takes to get that on there,” Eric Warren added.
“Guys could hit the five lugs in a real short period of time. They have to stay on center lug a little bit more.”
“It depends on the gun. There’s two guns that are being talked about. Whether it was a 13 second pit stop or an 11 second pit stop and how much torque the gun had.”
“I think it will be very similar. Maybe a little faster but it’s not going to be 5 seconds faster.”
Loose lug nuts aren’t a thing of the past; But it’s safer
“I’ve had wheels fly off my car. It’s a very terrible experience and it hurts,” Dale Jr stated.
Loose lugnuts are still possible. However, there’s now a looking mechanism to prevent the lug from coming off.
“It certainly should be safer. But, sometimes those things fail, things happen,” Warren added.
“Once you enter the forged aluminum wheel — We were all talking about five nut, one nut, all these surveys. At one of the tests, the wheel manufacture looked at the five lugs and was like, ‘Oh, that can;t be done.’ “
“With the aluminum wheel, the taper it became not even close to a discussion. It went to, ‘Hey, this is a big safety difference between the two.’ “
“The locking mechanism made it so this should be a safer one. But, I’m sure with the locking mechanism, something wont work.”
The NASCAR Next Gen car, with it’s single lug nut will touch the track in 2022. The car makes it’s debut in the Clash at the Coliseum, a temporary 1/4-mile oval.