NASCAR To Limit At-Track Team Personnel
With the changes that are coming on the track, there’s also some in store in the garage area, too.
NASCAR announced Wednesday morning that they will limit the amount of personnel working on each racecar during a weekend for their three national series. The move is called a “standardization” and is meant to help keep costs in check, while keeping the public better informed.
“As much as we can possibly level the playing field and introduce new winners, that’s really the goal and what we want for the fans,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said. “And so if you look at these initiatives with the over-the-wall crew going to five members, that fits into our overall structure from a roster standpoint. We feel like that again puts the focus on the athletes and also continues down that line of putting the focus on the teams and opening it up to as many teams as possible to continue to win races and therefore put a better product out there for the fans.”
The rosters will be broken into three categories – organization, road crew and pit crew. Each section includes certain jobs and a maximum allotted amount.
- Organizational: Examples include competition director, team managers, technical director, IT specialists. In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, teams will be allotted three organizational roster spots for one- and two-car operations, and four spots for three- and four-car outfits. XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series teams will be allowed one organizational roster spot each.
- Road Crew: Examples include crew chief, car chief, mechanics, engine tuners, engineers, specialists (for areas such as tires, aerodynamics and shocks) and spotters. The limits for these personnel by series: Monster Energy Series, 12; XFINITY, 7; Camping World Trucks, 6.
- Pit Crew: This designation refers solely to team members who perform over-the-wall service during pit stops. The maximum is five for all three series.
The sanctioning body did announce that some exceptions will be made, with Cup teams being allowed one extra road crew position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and three road courses due to teams sometimes using multiple spotters. The XFINITY Series and Truck Series teams have additional spots opened on their road crew for 10 and five races, respectively.
Each team is allowed to assemble their squad within those limits, with the roster being made available to the public prior to the race weekend. At the track, these members will be assigned letters or numbers worn on their uniform and armband to signify their position.
The move comes after NASCAR announced that the fueler is no longer allowed to make chassis adjustments in the future. Teams will more than likely remove one tire carrier as they develop a new way to get the job done on pit road.
“First and foremost, it’s safety, and we’ve taken some steps in our own house in reducing the number of officials on pit road,” O’Donnell said. “We used to have seven crewmembers over the wall for the race teams as well; we’d reduced that to six. And this is just another evolution with five, to make sure that the environment is as safe as possible for the race, and then also, candidly, to continue to focus on the athletes. We’ve got some of the best athletes in the world out there on pit road, so we’ll want to showcase them in as safe an environment as we can.”
O’Donnell went on to say that NASCAR wanted to get the announcement out as soon as possible so teams could better prepare themselves for the new season in February.
“Short-term, it’s going to take some getting used to,” O’Donnell continued. “But long-term, I think it’ll really help develop some of the other names that have been a part of this sport for a long time and emphasize why you’ve always heard drivers talk about how this is a team sport. I think it’ll help showcase that for the fans.”
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