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NASCAR fans went crazy. A seemingly tiny rule change for 2021 and beyond has plunged the community into civil war. “When you turn it on and off, they always have to stop the gun — you can`t just plug it, it actually has to vibrate a few times before it tightens,” Probst said. “For example, today`s good tire changers can remove or tighten five wheel nuts in less than a second, say eight-tenths of a second to a second. You`ll probably need to keep the gun on for at least half a second, so if anything, they may be three tenths (faster) here and there, but that shouldn`t drastically change the timing during the pit stop. The Cup Series used five-wheel wheels on the previous generation, which could still stay on the car if a tire changer had only stopped three. The new single-legged wheel in the next-generation car only gives a tire changer a chance to make sure a wheel is tight. There are a lot of variables to explain why we`ve seen so many loose wheels, and it ranges from the design of the next-generation car`s components to the speed at which those pit crews move during a typical pit stop. Some fans have concluded that the change will fundamentally change NASCAR pit stops, giving them another reason to hate them. Since future four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon and his crew chief Ray Evernham entered the scene with Hendrick Motorsports in 1992, the modern pit stop has remained similar. For years, NASCAR has used five wheel nuts on the wheels of a race car. At the end of the 2020 season, that should change.

NASCAR plans to switch to a single wheel nut to secure tires during pit stops. The new procedure is expected to begin at the beginning of the 2021 season. Overall, switching to a centralized mother will save teams money, be safer for competitors and won`t change the visual nature of a pit stop, and it will always be difficult to get it right. Cup Series tyre changers have spent years perfecting the approach of the old car, whose five-wheel nuts gave them time-saving space during their super-fast 13-second pit stops. If three of the wheel nuts were tightened, the wheel remained lit, meaning the changers could pass two per wheel and couldn`t tighten them completely. This made the four-week suspension an appropriate response. To some extent, this problem will solve itself, at least on the part of the teams. What needs to adapt is NASCAR as an organization.

Loose wheels will likely continue to appear occasionally in NASCAR races, but are expected to become rarer as tire changers get a better idea of their equipment and crews gain more experience overall. They have to adapt to the conditions, so many will now slow down their stops to check that everything is tight and correct and not risk leaving a car with a loose wheel. The teams are doing everything they can to avoid these issues, and I hope NASCAR can work with them in the future to make improvements to parts and equipment to make the process safer and smoother. While the staff above the wall and their movements will be largely the same, 2021 will see further changes. In the new configuration, crew members will not be able to change tires in one-fifth of the time it currently takes. The new, larger, single tab requires more torque to properly secure the wheel. The 2019 season rules package served as the starting point for the development of the Next Gen. [1] [3] The prototype, built by Richard Childress Racing with a generic body, was first tested by driver Austin Dillon at Richmond Raceway on October 8 and 9. [9] [10] Pit stops require very precise choreography, and with ignition and stopping times halved with the new wheel nuts, the tire holder and jack now have to adapt and accelerate to get the car out as quickly as possible. The choreography involves not only the pit crew, but also the driver, who has to position the car exactly in the pits and is then ready to go as soon as the jack is released.

This is also where many problems came into play, as the cylinders accelerated to reach the speed of the tire changers, this left very little room for error, so if a tire changer has a problem with a tight wheel and has no way of signaling the jack. The jack can be released before the wheel nut is fully lit, causing the pilot to take off and eventually lose the wheel. NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke on his podcast about Lugnut`s change, recalling a difficult time in his Cup career. If the choreography works as expected, everything moves at an incredible pace and team members who go around the car are often able to change all four tires before the ten-second mark, but if there is a problem with one of the wheel nuts inside the tire change and the jack is released, They could end up with a loose wheel. While we know where the separation that results in a loose wheel usually is, the reason for stopping when changing tires can be related to a variety of reasons, ranging from mechanical issues to changer performance issues. The appearance of a single flap wheel will be a departure from the series, but other changes will be smaller. Probst said competition officials don`t expect drastic changes in the conduct of pit stops, the five-person limit for crew members crossing the wall, or team rosters in general. These pit stops are extremely fast and each operation for a particular corner of a car only takes fractions of a second, so there is very little room for error and everyone has to be synchronized. While many of these crew members have over a decade of experience with five-legged wheelguns and choreography, single-horn wheel changes are all new, and these wheel guns behave in a very different way, as my colleague Alanis King recently wrote during her visit to pit team training at Joe Gibbs Racing: “Many things can ruin a pit stop, including misaligning the little teeth of the gun with the horn or instinctively pulling at it. while the wheel is loose.

I have done this many times. Probst also confirmed that the majority of teams are more than willing to switch to the single-wheel nut method. It is also estimated that removing the single wheel nut takes about 0.5 seconds, instead of the 0.8 to 1.0 seconds that current tire changers need during pit stops. Probst said most Cup teams are in favor of the move, which NASCAR teams hope to be able to use wheels in several years (rather than several races with the current steel wheels). There has been some resistance from teams citing the competitive advantages that come from investing money and time to train teams to change five-wheel nuts. After the Daytona test, drivers expressed concern about internal heat due to the location of the exhaust just below the seat. [86] To address this issue, NASCAR added a front cooling channel to the vehicles in November 2021 (the front windshield was redesigned to allow for this change). [87] But the new one-eyelet wheel cannot be used in the same way. There`s only one chance to seal the wheel, and tyre changers have to do it solely through sensation – a process that has often failed this year as they get used to a whole new type of pit stop. The old penalty system plagued teams throughout the year, sidelining their crew members for a month and sending the less experienced ones to the pits in their place. “Just at my position, the hardest part, I think, is learning what`s a tight wheel and what`s not a tight wheel,” said Houston Stamper, tire changer for the No.

19 Toyota JGR and driver Martin Truex Jr. “When you hit five wheel nuts for 16 years, You know without a shadow of a doubt whether the wheel will hold or not. Or if it will be borderline. That`s probably the thing I`m focusing on the most, is really trying to focus on what`s going to be tight and what`s not. But with just one nut instead of five, pit stops are probably faster. At least the tire change part. So, are we going to end up in a situation where the tires are changed long before all the fuel is added to the car? The crews moved to the right side, then to the left side, before diving into the new Next Gen choreography for four-tire stops.

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