Speed at your own risk

BRISTOL, Tenn. — NASCAR has added two pit road timing lines on each side of the track at Bristol to lessen the advantage of certain pit stalls.

Brad Keselowski raised eyebrows during his victory at the .533-mile track last August by accelerating rapidly from his pit stall and slowing suddenly as he approached the next time line. Since pit road speed is measured across areas separated by the timing lines, certain stalls located just beyond timing lines have been particularly advantageous.

Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, looks on in the garage area during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16, 2012 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, looks on in the garage area during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16, 2012 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Consequently, a driver can go as fast as possible in the segment in which his or her pit stop occurs without fear of a speeding penalty, effectively circumventing for a short burst Bristol’s 30 mph pit-road speed limit.

The timing lines added to the frontstretch and backstretch pits effectively cut the timing segments from the length of 11 pit stalls to six.

Jeff Gordon applauded the move.

“There are still slight advantages to certain stalls, but the increments of the advantages get much smaller when you do that,” Gordon said. “It needed to be done.”

Denny Hamlin agreed.

“I think that there were a handful of boxes that had humungous advantages over others, and I think that’s going to change that quite a bit,” Hamlin said. “I do think it’s needed, because if you have a pit road speed — and Martinsville is another track where they need to add some lines — that speed is set at that mile-per-hour because that’s where they feel safe with those cars driving through pit road.

“Well, if we’re able to cheat it by 10 miles an hour, that’s cheating it 30-something percent. That’s beyond where they felt initially it was safe, so they need to keep us at that mile-per-hour they want us at and, to do that, you need timing lines all over the place so people can’t cheat the line.”

 

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