Failing Pit Guns Steal The NASCAR Weekend Spotlight

Posted: Feb 27 2018, 11:06am CST | by , in Latest Sports News


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Failing Pit Guns Steal the NASCAR Weekend Spotlight
Image: Autosport

Kevin Harvick may have one the race, but everybody is talking about how the malfunctioning pit guns are hurting drivers chances.

Every hair of a second you can win back makes a difference in NASCAR and any world-class form of motor racing. That's why Formula 1 and Supercar race series already use standardized pit guns, the race-spec version of an impact gun used to tighten and loosen lug nuts.

For 2018, NASCAR is adopting a similar system, but not without its fair share of hoops to jump through. Pit gun malfunctions have hampered drivers in each of the first two races for the 2018 season. While drivers are trying to put on a happy face and take it in stride, crew chiefs are making it known that this is no way to run a race series.

Formula Gun

Why are standardized pit guns necessary in the first place though? Auto racing can quickly devolve into a spending contest, and teams were investing millions on fast-socket guns. NASCAR wanted to bring costs down and level the playing field so that driving and coordinated pit stops determine who wins, not pit guns.

With the new rules, each team pays $1200 per race to rent the guns, compressors, and hoses that come along with them from NASCAR. The equipment is made by Paoli, supplier for the other race series’ as well. Some fittings and adjustments on the guns—such as air pressure—are fixed, while others allow for small changes.

Harvick, Truex and More Impacted

Any NASCAR race should be competitive, but when the leader has to come back from 19th place after a fouled pit stop, teams have a right to complain. That's precisely what happened to Kevin Harvick in Atlanta when a broken gun cost the team precious seconds during a pit stop.

Rodney Childers, crew chief of Harvick's pit team, pointed out that Paoli shouldn't be blamed because NASCAR requested the guns on short notice. It's somewhat unsurprising that a piece of equipment like this, when implemented across-the-board, would have a few kinks to work out.

Martin Truex Jr., who threatened Harvick late in the race but also suffered from faulty pit guns commented "I'm a little nervous about that. At the same time, it's the same for everyone. What comes around goes around, I guess."

It’s a testament to sportsmanship, but with more teams suffering the consequences of faulty guns, you have to imagine the undercurrent in NASCAR right now is “fix this, ASAP.”

What Will the Next Race Hold?

NASCAR has already responded to the incident in an attempt to quell the uprising of angry pit crews. If other racing series' can use this system with little or no occurrence of events, it would seem that NASCAR can too, but right now things are tense.

As it stands now, whatever ups and downs the guns take, all of NASCAR will feel it. Eventually, things will normalize. Unless they don't, but with the sizeable investment, it must have taken for NASCAR to purchase all that new equipment, don't expect to see it at your local speed shop anytime soon. Those guns are getting used.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/56" rel="author">Scott Huntington</a>
Scott Huntington is a writer and journalist from Harrisburg PA who covered movies, tech, cars, and more. Check out his blog Off The Throttle or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.




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