Breaking down the speed limit, stall selection and more
No pit road is exactly the same.
Take Talladega Superspeedway, an oval that measures 2.66 miles around and is the longest track on the NASCAR circuit. The pit road for that facility is simply a straight line of pavement -- and it's longer than the actual straightaways on most short tracks.
That's not the story for Martinsville Speedway. The paper-clip shaped oval in Virginia is 0.526 miles, the shortest on the circuit. Its pit road snakes along the back straightaway, before cutting left below Turn 1 and ends just short of Turn 2.
But despite those differences, both pit roads -- and pit roads at any track, for that matter -- must follow the same rules. There's always a pit-road speed limit for safety purposes, and each pit road is split up into zones.
At Talladega, for example, and other massive tracks such as Pocono Raceway, the pit-road speed limit is approximately 55 mph. At Martinsville, that would be treacherous. The short track's pit-road speed limit is approximately 30 mph.
Pit road is also broken up into zones, the number of which is determined based on how long the stretch is. That makes it easier to determine when a driver goes too fast.
Speed of cars on pit road is determined by the tried and true formula, by measuring distance over time. NASCAR acquires that data through electronic scoring loops, which are sensors below the pit-road pavement.
Those sections help NASCAR monitor pit-road speeds more accurately. The exact location of all sections is made available to all teams, and if a pit-road speeding penalty occurs, NASCAR reveals the section in which the infraction happened.
All teams are also given a specific pit stall, determined based on qualifying order. The driver that wins the Coors Light Pole gets first pick -- and that team almost always chooses the first stall, which puts you close to the final line that signifies the end of pit road and also comes with the advantage of having no pit stall in front of it.
The second-place qualifying team then picks its preferred stall, and that continues until the 43rd driver gets the final remaining spot.
To make it easier for a driver to find his stall, teams use colorful pit signs to display.