Kevin Harvick: New pit road rules will require "some patience"
Pit road issues have been a thorn in Kevin Harvick’s side during his NASCAR career and this season’s new rules could provide more difficulties.
NASCAR reduced the number of over-the-wall pit crew members from six to five in the offseason and teams have had to work on adjustments to their pit stop routines to compensate.
The changes could provide some problematic issues the first few races of the 2018 seasons as teams get adjusted to making on-the-clock pit stops in race conditions.
“As you go through the early part of the season, I think you have to have some patience with pit road because you know how new, fresh and different it is through those first few races,” Harvick said.
“I mean, we’ve all practiced this, but nobody’s practiced it with cars going everywhere, and in the heat of the moment. So it’s definitely something you’re going to have to have some patience with.
“But, as we get toward the end of the year, they should have it figured out, and it’ll probably just be the new norm.”
Don’t get Harvick wrong. He thinks the changes on pit road – the reduction of crew members as well as the change to a uniform pit gun – are beneficial for the sport.
“I like change. I like things that are different. A few things were accomplished in the pit crew changes. Getting 40 people off pit road is going to help the bottom line with the race teams,” he said.
“I think the pit stops were in the 10-second range, and I think slowing them down a little bit and keeping those cars on pit road and having a little bit longer pit stop isn’t going to hurt anything. The amount of money we were spending on the pit guns, the R&D and things wasn’t exactly fair for all the teams up and down pit road, so the spec gun is a good change.
“When I first started Cup racing, the pit stops were 22 seconds long. If I have to sit there for 12 or 13 seconds, I’m probably still going to think it’s really fast.”
Harvick enters his 18th season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and his fifth at Stewart-Haas Racing with crew chief Rodney Childers. His only previous Daytona 500 victory came in 2007. He also owns three victories in the Clash – 2009, 2010 and 2013.
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