Stop in for a look at pit strategies
A crew chief has to process a wealth of information about tracks, tires, weather, aerodynamics and cars when deciding when to make and what to change during a pit stop.
You've no doubt heard the term "pit strategy" bantered about quite a bit during the broadcasts of the Sprint Cup races lately. It is the hot topic for the moment.
8. Pit selection is also critical at some tracks where pit entry is tight or the pit boxes are small, etc. You want your driver to have the best opportunity to get in and out of the pits with minimum problems. The pole winner gets first pick on a pit and then it goes down by the order of qualifying. If you want a good pit then make a good qualifying run.9. While it is less critical today with the current car, brand performance was once a prime factor in how you approached a particular race. Years ago GM brand products tended to do better at Daytona in February while Ford products did better in July. Part of that was because of the comparative handling characteristics of the brands. Fords generally handled better on hot and slick tracks back then. However, even though today's cars are virtually identical, you can still see some trends where one brand outperforms the others at certain tracks. 10. How your team has done at a particular track will influence how you approach your preparation as well. Jimmie Johnson seemed to own Lowe's Motor Speedway for several years and virtually could do no wrong there. Was it superior equipment or a collective team psychology that they expected to win or some of both? Drivers have favorite tracks where they tend to do better than at others. But, again, it becomes a chicken and egg scenario. Does he do well there because he expects to or does he have some advantage over the other drivers at that particular track? The crew chief has to factor the driver into the equation just as much as he factors in projected fuel mileage or tire wear. Race day pit strategy starts at the shop when the crew chief reviews all of the history of previous races and then decides how he will approach this particular race. Have recent races at that track been won on fuel economy? Has the tire wear or tire performance been such that the team is forced to pit frequently for new rubber? Does his driver like that particular track? Is his driver a charger or can he be held in check for a fuel economy run? The list is endless. Once the race begins the crew chief has to be ready to alter his strategy at any moment when events on the track dictate that he do so. That was very evident at Indianapolis last week. And there is one final factor that no crew chief can control and that is that little four letter word called "Luck." Either you have it or you don't. Now where did I put that horseshoe and my rabbit's foot? Bill Borden is a former championship winning crew chief who operated David Pearson's Racing School for many years.
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