Two years ago, there were four NASCAR Winston Cup venues - Darlington Raceway, North Carolina Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway - that had two distinct pit roads, drawing criticism from some teams. Three of the four...
Two years ago, there were four NASCAR Winston Cup venues - Darlington Raceway, North Carolina Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway - that had two distinct pit roads, drawing criticism from some teams. Three of the four tracks have since changed their pit road configurations, leveling the playing field by creating a single pit-lane entrance. Bristol Motor Speedway, the home of this weekend's Food City 500, is the last of the Winston Cup tracks with two separate pit roads. We asked the seven Roush Racing drivers their thoughts on venues with two distinct pit roads, and whether there is an overwhelming disadvantage to pitting on the backstretch.
Chad Little, No. 97 John Deere Ford Taurus:
"NASCAR's big objective this year seems to focus on parity. The idea of a common template to bring the manufactures in line has been mentioned, but that's not the only factor needs to be taken into account. I'm not quite sure how they can strive for a level playing for the all the cars when certain tracks are predisposed with a certain advantage built in them when it comes to having two pit roads. Bristol is not the only track with two pit roads. Sears Point has the island of about five cars that are forced to wait 10 seconds after the conclusion of their stop before they are allowed to continue. If there is to be parity, all aspects must be investigated, not just the cars themselves."
Mark Martin, No. 6 Valvoline/Cummins Ford Taurus:
"I can't visualize how they could have just one pit road at Bristol. If they found a way to make it work, that would be great. Fortunately, for me I haven't had to worry about it that often, but from the times I have pitted on the backstretch, I know it can cripple you. It might not be as bad for a car running in the middle of the pack, but if you work your way up front, you most likely won't still be up front by the time you've made your pit stop."
Kevin Lepage, No. 16 FamilyClick.com Ford Taurus:
"If you look at the guys who finished 1, 2 and 3 at Bristol last year, they were pitting on the backstretch. In some cases it benefits you to pit on the backstretch under green flag conditions. Pitting on the backstretch at Bristol is not as much as a hindrance as it was at other tracks."
Jeff Burton, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford Taurus:
"There is no excuse, in the year 2000, to have two pit roads. There is a way and it is a shame we haven't figured it out. NASCAR wants everything to be fair and having one pit road at every track would help with that. That would give everyone the chance to win, rather than being stuck on the backstretch and having to pit later than everyone else. One pit road would definitely make it fair for every team."
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford Taurus:
"It's tough to win races when you're pitting on the backstretch. It can happen, but you need the chips to fall your way. I think all tracks should have one continuous pit road. At Bristol it's not as much of a disadvantage to pit on the backstretch because the track is so short, but it would be nice not to have to worry when you're qualifying the car that you might have to pit on the backstretch. If a guy has a problem during qualifying that's out of his control he shouldn't be penalized by having to pit on the back."
Greg Biffle, No. 50 Grainger Ford F-150:
"I think NASCAR is doing a great job of transforming tracks that used to have two pit roads into one. Teams that have to pit on the backstretch are at a big disadvantage because they have to wait to enter pit road after the frontstretch teams have made their stops. This process never gives them the opportunity to move to the front due to quick pit work by their crew. NASCAR prides itself in the parity of competition it tries to uphold, and having one pit lane at all of the tracks gets them one step closer."
Kurt Busch, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150:
"Having to pit on the backstretch during a race can hinder the opportunity for a win. You can have a great car, but pitting on the backside keeps you from staying in contention. A driver can lose all of the track positions he has gained by having to pit on the backstretch. I think it is a great move by NASCAR to turn these two pit road tracks into one because it gives teams that may have had a bad qualifying lap a legitimate shot at the win."