NASCAR limits at-track rosters for teams

Barry Cantrell/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

In a rare press conference before the Thanksgiving holiday, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, Steve O’Donnell announced that the sanctioning body will standardize the number of at-track individuals who work on the car across all three national series in 2018.

The roster will consist of three categories: Organizational, Road Crew and Pit Crew. Every team must decide how they will distribute positions for their respective rosters.

The organizational roster will include competition director, team manager, technical director, IT specialists, etc. The road crew roster consists of crew chief, car chief, engineers, mechanics, shock specialists, tire specialist, aero specialist, spotter, engine tuner,  etc. The pit crew will consist of anybody who goes over-the-wall during a pit stop.

For the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS), the organizational crew will have three or four members. If an organization has one or two cars, three roster sports can be designated to the organizational level. An organization with three or four cars, can have four members dedicated to the organizational level. There will be 12 road crew and five over-the wall crews.  There will be an additional road crew spot open at road course events and at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

For the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS), there can only be one organizational member on the roster, seven road crew members, and five pit crew members. Additional road crew spots will be available at 10 races. For the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), there can only be one organizational member on the roster, six road crew members and five pit crew members. There will be an additional road crew member spot available at five races.

Teams in NXS and NCWTS will be able to use their additional road crew member at their own personal discretion.

“The ultimate goal here is to continue to put the best racing on the track. To continue toward that parity with more teams being able to win,” said O’Donnell. “We looked at other areas to continue to drive parity in the sport and continue to give as many teams as possible the opportunity to win. These initiatives – moving from six crew members to five over the wall and allowing the fueler to only fuel the vehicle – fits in from a safety standpoint as well.”

An important note is that the fueler can only perform the task of fueling the vehicle. A new technique for four tire pit stops will also have to be created as NASCAR has eliminated one tire carrier for each team. NASCAR is currently working on a penalty structure for teams who violate this policy.

“We’ve got new technology at the track to monitor who is in important areas to work on the car,” O’Donnell said. “One of things we always hear drivers talk about is, ‘This is a team sport.’ We want those people to be known. We have some of the brightest minds in racing here. We believe by doing this roster initiative, we’ll be able to identify through their uniforms and on roster sheets to the media and ultimately to the fans who makes up each team and start to promote them as well.”

Team members will only be allowed to work on the car in which they are on the roster for. If a pit crew member goes to working on one car to another during the race weekend, they must be listed on both team rosters. Each member on the roster will be assigned a number and letter, which must be visible at all times on the team uniform and armbands. The roster will be made public before each race weekend.

As with all of NASCAR’s policies, this is expected to help promote better racing through increasing parity, improving safety and to promote the team aspect more.

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