We asked veteran tire changer and now pit coach Joe Piette to share his thoughts on the idea of 6 pit crew members to 5. Here is what he said:
In the aftermath of the Motorsport.com article on 9/27/16 regarding possibly reducing the number of pit crew members over the wall for 2017, I have spent hours upon hours discussing the ramifications with current active pit crew members. There are many questions and concerns floating around and because this is my 28th year being involved in the sport we love, I have been asked to share my opinion. As we all know, opinions are like…well you know what I mean, we all have them so here is mine:
First things first…THERE IS NO RULE AT THIS TIME! Folks, if we all knew about every instance where rule changes are talked about behind the scenes, we would be absolutely crazier than we are now! Things are discussed every day but that doesn’t mean there is a rule made for each discussion. I believe there have been talks between our Team Owners and the Sanctioning Body about this topic. I don’t have a problem with that, I don’t have a problem with them keeping this discussion behind closed doors, it happens every day. I have no idea how in-depth this topic has been debated, I didn’t get an invite to the discussion and I’m ok with that too. I have 100% faith in the people that make the final decisions on any changes within our sport and that the final decision will be based on facts…and facts that make sense to make our sport more appealing to our fans. Our sport cannot survive without our great fans and that’s what it’s all about!
Why is this topic so sensitive and why has it stirred up so much anxiety in the pit crew world? Simple…it could impact people’s lively hood. You don’t have to be a Super-fan to know that rule changes are part of our sport, it’s an ongoing, never ending part of it and has been since 1948. As racers, it is our job to adapt to the set of rules we are given and to execute better than our competition, that’s what we do and the ones that do it best win races and championships. Simply put, racers adapt to rule changes.
My biggest concern with this “rumored” change is that we are at the beginning of October, we have just over 7 weeks left in the season, this is not something that should be just hanging in the background. A potential change of this nature should be revealed much earlier in the season so crew members have more time to plan their future.
Pit road arguably creates some of the most exciting moments in our races, let’s do our best to look after the guys and gals that make that happen week in and week out!