New pit stop rules will enhance competition, create intrigue and level the playing field
January 10, 2020, St. Louis Region – An exciting new twist has been added to World Wide Technology Raceway’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series iHeart 200 presented by CK Power on August 21. Earlier this week, NASCAR announced new competition rules for pit stops in select NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series races designed to enhance competition, create intrigue and level the playing field for race teams.
The change affects Truck Series events at WWTR, Iowa Speedway and the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course, as well as four Xfinity Series races. During stage breaks, per the new rules package, the race field will be frozen when cautions come out. Two pit stops for a full service – four tires and fuel – now will be required at these select events. The pit stop must be completed within a designated time period and the team roster will include eight crew members, including the crew that goes over the wall. After pit stops occurring under caution, restarts will be established based on the order of the cars at the time of the caution and the pit strategy used. Vehicles that did not pit would be at the front of the field, followed by vehicles that pitted once, followed by those that pitted twice and the free pass wave-around and penalty cars. The new format allows crew chiefs to strategize under new scenarios.
“This new system should provide another exciting factor to the pit strategy of our event while also leveling the playing field throughout the field,” said WWTR owner and CEO Curtis Francois. “NASCAR is taking some tremendous steps to improve the race day experience while also helping the small and independent teams. Our race has always produced great action and this opens the door for even more race day drama.”
Eric Peterson, NASCAR’s technical manager of the NASCAR Xfinity Series said using the smaller race samples this year in the Xfinity and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will be a good way to gauge if these rules are something that could be implemented on a grander scale. Stand-alone events for both series were specifically chosen for logistics sake as the sanctioning body evaluates the new format.
“It’s somewhat of a departure from what we do today, so we wanted to dip our toe in the water and do a deliberate, strategic approach to implementing it and getting a look at it,” Peterson said.
He acknowledged the new rules bolster strategy and said he is encouraged by the competitive possibilities.
“The reason for limiting what they can do on each pit stop is so that we have the opportunity to have differing tire strategies,” Peterson said. “So if we had it where they can do whatever they want on each pit stop, then that would not allow us the opportunity to get different restart scenarios based on what you elected to do between two tires and four tires at an oval or four tires on the road courses.
“That decision was basically purely based off incentivizing the teams to make different strategy plays.”
For 2020, WWTR’s NASCAR race has moved from June to August 21 and now comprises one-half of an exciting Truck Series-INDYCAR doubleheader weekend.
For more information on World Wide Technology Raceway, please call (618) 215-8888. Follow WWTR on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
About World Wide Technology Raceway
World Wide Technology Raceway is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 380 acres, WWTR is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. WWTR’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, recently-expanded 2.0-mile road course, a state-of-the-art karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue. WWTR acquired Gateway National Golf Links, adjacent to the speedway property, in 2019. WWTR was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from the St. Louis Attractions Association. In 2018, owner and CEO Curtis Francois received the Innovator Award from the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission in recognition of his work for restoring World Wide Technology Raceway (known then as Gateway Motorsports Park) to prominence.