NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell took exception to air gun issues being a main topic of conversation after the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The series’ executive vice president and chief racing development officer was asked about the spec-issued guns on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Monday morning after problems with the equipment continued for a second straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Winner Kevin Harvick had a pin come out of the gun after one of his stops and Daniel Suarez was also said to have had issues.
Last weekend in Atlanta multiple teams experienced various malfunctions.
“I wouldn’t assess the race as that’s the leading story by any means,” O’Donnell said. “Air gun issues have been part of the sport forever, so let me dispel the myth that there’s never been a failure. I think [FOX analyst] Larry [McReynolds] said that very well during the broadcast.
“Believe we had one that we’re looking into on the Cup side, the 19 car [Suarez], that we’re looking at. We don’t view an air gun like on the 4 car [Harvick] where the gun actually works for the pit stop and then has an issue. I think we’re making a lot out of this, which I know fans want to do. I’ve never heard pit guns talked about in the past which is fair when there’s failures, it’s new.”
After collaboration between NASCAR and the Race Team Alliance the decision was made to implement mandated pit guns this season, the hope being it would level the playing field and help teams cut down on costs as many had begun to pour resources into developing their own to be faster and lighter.
Each Sunday before the race, a team will draw a number and then receive the corresponding case with the air gun and other equipment that goes with it. This allows the process to be random, and NASCAR and Paoli, the manufacturer, have also worked to limit the amount of tampering teams can do to the air guns.
“We’re working through it,” O’Donnell continued. “As I said last week, one failure is too many, but again, we’re focused on getting them all right and the teams have been great in doing that. We’ll continue to do so.
“[We’re] happy Harvick was able to go out there and dominant, put on a great show, and I think it’s something we’re going to continue to work on. But not the focus on every race, for sure.”