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NASCAR set for major change?

DOVER, DELAWARE – OCTOBER 05: Brandon Jones, driver of the #19 Menards/Atlas Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway on October 05, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)


NASCAR is set for a fundamental change in the near future, following the new pit stop experiment being trialled in the Xfinity Series and Gander RV Truck Series events over the course of the year ahead. These trials begin this season, and if successful, could then be moved across the rest of the circuit in future.

The concept is a relatively simple one: contain the vast costs, whilst ensuring the competition remains at a competitive level. Keeping the sport spirited is of significant importance, as a means of enhancing interest in both the viewing and betting on the sport. In fact, the competition appears to be closer than ever, with drivers being far closer in the betting markets to achieve success at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event. Kyle Busch is the general 4/1 favourite, with Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr and Denny Hamlin all available at around 9/2. Gone are the days when events would typically see a short priced, or even odds-on, favourite – with the changes in system increasing competitiveness – something which is consolidated with the cramped nature of the markets on offer. Furthermore, across all different types of NASCAR betting markets, including driver match bets as well as race outrights – the markets are indicative that the aforementioned changes are having the desired impact when it comes to closing the gap between the outsiders and the favourites.

An example of a previous change that has been implemented, is at the Snowball Derby Super Late Model race, in Florida. Vast sums were being paid in the past, with teams spending this on hired national touring pit crews. However, this was altered with the freezing of the position of drivers during caution periods. This ensured that drivers were not able to change positions during this this time.

The overall impact of this was boundless, not only making the races more competitive for better viewing, but also saved the array teams a substantial sum of money. The positive results have led to these changes now being put forward for permanent implementation, and they will be hoping for similar results during the four Xfinity series races, and three truck series events this season.

So, what exactly are the changes that are taking place?
• Teams will only be able to use members from their original chosen eight person roster. These will also be the only members able to be sent over the wall.
• Cautions – a team can change two tires and refuel each time but for a four tire stop, it will require a second trip down the pit road.
• Pit strategy will also base the restart order. For example, the vehicles that had not pitted, will line up first in the order. They will then be followed by the vehicles that had only pitted once. All the others will then follow that includes the likes of lap-down vehicles that did not pit, free -pass vehicles and penalised vehicles.

The main aim of this is to level the playing field, by putting more control into the result from the drivers and how effective their crew members are. 

However, it has not received all positive reports, and much will depend on whether it turns out to be a success – something which can only be determined over a sustained period of trial over time. A previous fault that has occurred on numerous occasions over the recent period of NASCAR, is the inability to get teams lined up in the correct order from the restart – something that the authorities will need to look at as the concept evolves.

Errors from race control, including taking the green flag while drivers are out of place, appear to be common place. This is just one indication as to how things can go wrong, and NASCAR are certainly going to account for this throughout the implementation phase. If the changes are to be a success, then teams are going to need to take part of the responsibility in the process. NASCAR will need to avoid simple errors from the start, or negativity that’s been reported could become ever more commonplace.

Whether the changes are a success, a failure, or somewhere in between – change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Trial and error are  key components in the lawmakers of any sport, and NASCAR is no different. It all points towards a fascinating season ahead in NASCAR.

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Posted by on January 14, 2020. Filed under Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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