As NASCAR seeks a way for cars to return to pit road with flat tires, series officials will ask drivers to stay in their cars and be towed back to pit road this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
NASCAR used this policy last weekend at Auto Club Speedway. This is not seen by competitors as a permanent solution due to the laps a driver loses when towed to pit road.
Austin Dillon says something has to be done.
“It would really suck to end your race trying to miss a wreck and having to spin and get punctures,” he said.
Dillon suggested that without changes it could lead to a security issue. He noted that drivers could try to drive through accidents instead of turning to avoid them and risk having flat tires, which would cause them to lose turns while waiting on a tow truck, being hooked to the truck and then towed to pit road.
The problem with the Next Gen car is that it sits low to the ground. Combined with the larger wheel, there is no room for an inner liner, which was used previously and allowed cars to return to pit road with flat tyres. Once the tires are flat, the Next Gen car sits on the bottom of the vehicle and can damage or destroy aerodynamic components there.
Joey Logano, who was stuck on flat tires after spinning in the Daytona 500, pitched an idea this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“We should have a AAA truck that comes out on the race track when the cars are circling and have flat tires…and they change your tires right there on the race track, so you can get to pit road , instead of trying to hook it up to a tow truck and dragging the whole bottom of the car or pushing myself,” he said. “Daytona was horrible. It was horrible for me.
“That’s how I went crazy. I missed that crash. The tires are flat. I didn’t hit anything. I’m fine. I’m stuck, then the tow truck comes behind me. He starts to push me onto the racetrack where I’m going, and I’m stuck again. Now the ambulance is behind me and I’m stuck. The ambulance won’t move. Nobody knows what’s going on. I’m going back in the ambulance. Now I’m stuck again.
“There’s the tow truck again. The tow truck is trying to push me, and now I’m just going to spin through the grass (in the field) because I can’t go two and a half miles on these wear blocks (on the bottom of the car). The car doesn’t even move. I start to cross the grass and everything is fine. Here’s Kurt Busch coming down pit road and the tow truck pulls up so I don’t get into him, which was great.
“Now the tow truck can no longer push the car because it has no more momentum. He spins his tires behind me. He backs up, and now he’s starting to hit me. … It only got worse. Now I’m three laps down…because I had a puncture. So yeah, I went crazy for a little while.
NASCAR continues to have discussions with teams and suppliers on possible solutions to this issue.
Pinhole tolerances remain the same
NASCAR will keep the same tolerances for pin and pilot bores the next two weeks in Las Vegas and Phoenix.
NASCAR confiscated tires from RFK Racing and Team Penske two days before the Daytona 500 due to wheel modifications made by the teams. Both teams said they made safety modifications to the drive pin holes to ensure the wheels are securely attached.
NASCAR did not penalize either team, stating that it “made small adjustments to increase the upper tolerance on the pins and pilot bores for (Auto Club Speedway).”
Series officials said they will reevaluate the matter with suppliers and race teams and determine a way forward after last weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway. The decision to extend current regulations to Phoenix gives NASCAR more time to find a solution.
Call in progress
Kaulig Racing has appealed the penalty against Justin Haley’s No. 31 team for loosening a wheel in the Daytona 500. It’s a four-race suspension for the crew chief and both crew members. crew who got their hands on this wheel.
NASCAR has yet to schedule the call as teams travel back and forth from the West Coast to North Carolina during this three-race swing.
Front Row Motorsports announced Wednesday that it will appeal its penalty for a wheel coming off Todd Gilliland’s car last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.