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.”

 

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.