NASCAR has made a pair of rule changes affecting tire handling during pit stops.
The first change, effective this weekend at Pocono Raceway, relates to “uncontrolled tires” during stops. Crew members will no longer required to be within an arm’s length when controlling tires. Tires will be considered uncontrolled and the related car subject to a penalty if they create a safety issue or interfere/impede another competitor’s pit stop.
- 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, with the associated car starting at the tail end of the field under caution conditions.
The tires must still be returned from the outside half of the pit box in a controlled manner before the vehicle exits the pit box. This adjustment focuses enforcement on preventing a safety hazard rather than the subjective “arm’s length” criteria.
Meanwhile, starting at the following weekend’s race at Watkins Glen, when teams perform a four-tire stop, they will be required to change the outside tires first. If a team mistakenly changes the inside tires first and subsequently changes the outside tires during the same pit stop, they will be subject to a penalty.
The penalty for changing inside tires first during a four-tire stop will be a pass through under green-flag conditions and dropping to the tail end of the field for the restart under caution.