Anatomy Of A Pit Stop
1. Inside Front Tire Changer: Usually one of the mechanics, the tire changer takes the tire and air gun over the wall one lap before the pit stop and is on his knees when the car arrives at 50 mph. Removes old tire and replaces with new Firestone tire in six to eight seconds. Assists with front wing adjustments.
2. Front Tire Assistant: Helps pass the tires over the wall and assists wherever he is needed. Not part of over-the-wall crew.
3. Fire Extinguisher: Uses fire extinguisher to spray a mixture of water and ColdFire on the engine cowling to wash away any spillage after the fuel hose is removed. Not part of the over-the wall crew.
4. Fueler: Fits fuel nozzle into tank opening on side of car, allowing fuel to flow into car and capturing any fumes or excess fuel.
5. Deadman/Fuel Hose Assistant: Operates springloaded lever on fuel tank that allows fuel to flow through hose into the car. Called the "Deadman" because if a fuel problem occurs, he can stop the flow of ethanol by releasing the lever. Also helps Fueler balance fuel hose, keeping it level to ensure the quickest fuel flow to the car. Not part of the over-the-wall crew.
6. Airjack: Inserts airjack nozzle into airjack receptacle, which raises car for tire change.
7. Inside Rear Tire Changer: Like Inside Front Tire Changer, is in position on the lap before the pit stop. After changing the tire, helps push car out of the pit.
8. Rear Tire Assistant: Passes inside rear tire over the wall. Also passes starter over the wall in the event that the car stalls. Not part of the over-the-wall crew.
9. Outside Rear Tire Changer: Unlike the other tire changers, must wait by the wall with air gun in hand. When the car pulls in, the tire changer runs around to the rear of the car, changes tire and helps push car out of pit.
10. Outside Front Tire Changer: Typically the chief mechanic, guides driver into pit stall and signals driver to stop on a mark. After changing tire, makes any necessary front wing adjustments. Usually is responsible for signaling driver to leave pit.
11. Stop Sign/Front Air Hose/Wing: Waves stop sign up and down to signal driver to pit. As car enters pit stall, lowers stop sign to mark the optimum stopping location. Assists outside front tire changer by clearing wheel gun and air hose to prevent driver from running over while exiting the pit.
Pit Stop Fast Facts
- Only six crew members are allowed over the wall during a pit stop
- Crew members actively participating in a pit stop are required to wear firesuits, fire-resistant footwear, fire-resistant gloves, Nomex underwear and helmets.
- During a typical pit stop, the crew will change four Firestone tires, add 18.5 gallons of Sunoco E85R and make win adjustments in less than 10 seconds.
- Many pit crew members work with athletic trainers during the week for peak performance and to prevent injuries.
Other Key Players
- Data Acquisition Engineer: Maintains the data acquisition system, ensures all sensors are calibrated and well-functioning and analyzes data. Located on pit box.
- Race Strategist: Calls race and pit strategy for the team. Communicates with the driver via radio during the race. Located on pit box.
- Race Engineer: Oversees the running of the car including what to adjust during pit stops to maximize performance. Located on the pit box.
- Spotter: The spotter is the driver’s eyes in the sky and the voice that guides around the racetrack. Positioned above the racetrack, the spotter communicates with the driver via radio to inform of on-track incidents, opportunities to pass and more. Located on spotters’ stand above grandstands.