In the Pits
Over the wall
Imagine filling up your car with fuel and changing all four tires in less than 15 seconds. That’s exactly what happens during a pit stop at a NASCAR Sprint Cup event. As a race progresses, cars need to be refueled and worn tires need to be replaced. That’s when a pit stop is needed.
Because seconds are so critical in a race, fast pit stops are important – all it takes is one bad pit stop to move a potential winner to the back of the pack. NASCAR allows seven team members over the pit wall to service a car during pit stops. Pit crewmembers include:
1. Tire Carriers
Starting on the right side of the car and repeating the process on the left side, two tire carriers (one each for front and back tires) carry new tires over the pit wall and hand them to the tire changers.
The jackman carries a 20-pound hydraulic jack and raises the car on both sides (first right, then left) to allow the tires to be changed.
3. Tire Changers
First removes and replaces right rear tire using an air-powered impact wrench to loosen and tighten five lug nuts holding the tire rim in place. He then moves to the opposite side of the car to change the left rear tire.
4. Catch Can Man
This crewmember holds a can that collects overflow from the fuel cell as it is being filled and signals the rest of the team when the fueling process is finished.
5. Gas Man
The gas man fills the car’s fuel cell with two 12-gallon cans of fuel (81 pounds each).
6. Support Crew
Behind the pit wall, other crewmembers help by passing fuel and tires and collecting items used by the “over-the-wall” crew.
7. Extra Man
Occasionally, an eighth man is allowed to clean the windshield or assist the driver as needed.
8. NASCAR Official
Each crew is supervised by an official who watches for rules violations and helps maintain safety.