Pit Road Discussion: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Timing Speeds

[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”235″][/media-credit]Pit road is sometimes the worst place for a driver as they can lose a lot of time, and sometimes it can be the best place. This past Sunday, during the final round of the stops, it didn’t pan out  in Johnson’s favor as he was caught speeding the final round of pit stops.

According to what NASCAR has told Johnson, he was speeding in the segment right before his pit stall. The explanation as to why he was trying to gain time resides in his closest competitor at that point – Kyle Busch.

On every round of pit stops, Busch had it perfectly figured out where he could speed up and where he had to slow down to gain the most time. He marked his segment well and did it every time, always gaining time.

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When Johnson came down pit road on that final round of pit stops, he was set to get the edge on Busch so he could start in the preferred line on the restart. He tried to push the boundaries, though pushed a segment too early and got busted.

A lot of questions have always surrounded pit road times and whether NASCAR is fair across the board. Johnson suggested that posting the times for all of the media and fans to see would be the best way to get rid of these questions.

“If NASCAR wanted to eliminate speeding controversy, they would post the times for the world to see,” Johnson said during a teleconference on Tuesday. “Just let the facts be out there. If pit road segment times were broadcast live to review, it would eliminate the finger pointing.

“We have this kind of controversy once a month, every couple of races. To have the data would be cool for fans to see and eliminate people like myself making comments and harming the credibility of the sport.”

Though the negative side of that is it shows the type of strategy plainly that drivers like Busch are using. As Johnson said, it would de-emphasize the importance of specific stalls on pit road and secrets surrounding them. A large of winning races is about the strategy played out on pit road to get in position to win.

As spotter for Brett Griffin says, “Picking pits is extremely important when strategizing how to maximize speed on pit road as it pertains to timing zones.”

Do you we want to eliminate part of that for our own gain? Some critics say that it’d be a wise step to make as it’d allow for fan education and allow the fans to find another avenue in where they feel more connected to the sport.

Another part of the discussions is if speeds should be judged on segment time or speed. Currently, they are judged on segment time, which allows drivers to push the envelope in the segment their pit stall in in. Johnson notes that he does like the flexibility that segment timing does bring. However, if they changed it to speed, no pushing of the envelope would be allowed. Is that fair to the strategy or is it better to do that to eliminate the questions?

In the end, it’s all about pushing the envelope for most drivers. They are given a pit road speed and then 5 mph leeway on top of that. Instead of sticking to the speed given, they try to hit the leeway mark and sometimes that gets them in trouble. Looks like Johnson tried to find another advantage and it bit him.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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