NASCAR America: Cup teams take different routes to faster pit stops

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Withing with one fewer team member because of a new limit reducing pit crews from six to five, teams are experimenting with various ways to change four tires.

While crews figure out how to execute pit stops as quickly as possible, they’re also having to deal with new pit guns, not all of which worked Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

On NASCAR America, analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte took a look at the different pit crew strategies teams are trying and compared them with last year. There were three distinct strategies examined:

–The front-tire changer also carrying a tire (employed by the teams of Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch).

–A tire carrier lugging both tires to the right side of the car (used by Brad Keselowski‘s crew).

–A dual jack man approach (Ryan Newman‘s team).

At Atlanta, Harvick’s race-winning team used two tire changers, a jack man, the fuel man and one tire carrier on the rear. The front-tire changer also carried a tire and got help from the jack man.

“I think probably the thought process in that is, ‘Let’s speed up the rear up so it’s as close to the front as possible,'” Burton said.

Letarte highlighted the unique strategy of Keselowski’s team having one carrier with both tires.

“This tire carrier has about 150 pounds of tires in his hands, 75 pounds each,” Letarte said. “You have to have a strong, agile crew member.”

No matter the strategy, pit stops already have improved in two races.

“These pit stops have picked up almost 2 seconds, just from Daytona to Atlanta,” Letarte said.

Watch the video above for more on the different pit stop styles.

Below, Burton and Letarte discuss the various cost saving initiatives NASCAR has introduced this season.