As the pit crews return from a very rare Off Weekend, everyone is rested up and most are looking forward to The Last Great Colosseum, aka Bristol Motor Speedway. Tagged “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” I couldn’t agree more. Fast is a great way to describe many things at Bristol.
Of all the tracks we race at, Bristol is the only one that has two pit roads, one on the front stretch and one on the back stretch. There are no openings in the pit wall thus there are only four desirable pit stalls, the first one on and the last one off each pit road. The 16’x27’ pit boxes make things very tight so this puts qualifying well and getting one of those four pit stalls at a premium.
With its high banked corners, the cars will run laps in the 15 second bracket which doesn’t leave much time for drivers to avoid mayhem, and at some point, mayhem will rear its ugly head! What does this have to do with the pit crews? If your car has issues and dives onto pit road unexpectedly, there will be mere seconds and the car will be in the pit box! If the crew has to take the time to put their helmets and gloves on, there will be lost time. Trust me, it’s never good if the car stops and the crew isn’t ready!!
Bristol can be a very tough place for the drivers to make a pass so track position is HUGE! If the pit crews can maintain or even gain spots on pit road they will have a good day. Mistakes on pit road are very tough to bounce back from therefore solid, consistent pit stops will be a key to winning!
On a side note, a good friend of mine from Wisconsin did the Richard Petty Driving Experience in 2006 at Bristol, he rode with an instructor for 3 laps. I talked to him the other day, he said he still has a lump in his shorts from that ride…it was fast!!
Good luck to all the pit crews this weekend at Bristol, stay safe!!