Drivers come to pit road for a variety of reasons, but a full-blown pit stop consists of the following -- changing four tires, adding a full tank of Sunoco racing fuel, wiping the grille clean and making minor adjustments to the car.
Oh, and the really good team can accomplish all of that in 12 seconds with the allotted six crew members.
Several factors dictate a team's pit-road strategy. Race length, caution flags, fuel mileage and tire wear are all considered before the head man, the crew chief, decides on an appropriate course of action.
Two tires or four (or zero)? Adjustments, or will the car get worse due to changing track conditions?
It's all part of the anatomy of a pit stop.
1. Rear tire carrier
Assists the rear tire changer (2) by handing him a new right side Goodyear tire that he's carried from behind the pit wall. He may also adjust the rear jack bolt to adjust a car's handling.
2. Rear tire changer
Removes and replaces the right rear tire, using an air-powered impact wrench on the five lugnuts. He then moves to the opposite side of the car to change the left rear tire.
Operates a 20-pound hydraulic jack that raises the car for tire changes. After new tires are first bolted to the right side of the car, the jackman drops the car to the ground and repeats the process on the left side.
4. Front tire carrier
Assists the front tire changer (5) by handing him a new right front tire that he has carried from behind the pit wall.
5. Front tire changer
Removes and replaces the right front tire, using an air-powered impact wrench on the five lugnuts. He then moves to the opposite side of the car to change the left front tire.
6. Gas man
Empties two 12-gallon dump cans, which weigh 81 pounds each, of Sunoco Green E15 fuel into the car's fuel cell.
7. Support crew
Assists over the wall crew by rolling them tires, handing them fuel and retrieving air hoses and wrenches. According to NASCAR rules, support crew members must remain behind the pit wall during stops.
8. Extra man
On occasion, and at NASCAR's discretion, a seventh or "extra" man is allowed over the wall to clean the windshield and assist the driver if necessary.
9. NASCAR official
Watches for rules violations and helps maintain pit-lane safety.
10. Car chief
Works closely with the crew chief (11) in figuring out setups for the car and is responsible for executing the adjustments to the setup.
11. Crew chief
The head coach of the team. Assumes responsibility for race strategy and setups, as well as the actions of his/her driver, car owner and team member. The crew chief assigns and directs the activities of all crew members and others assigned to the racing team.
Calculates the exact setup for a car, including precisely how each shock should be built, which springs should be used and what tire pressures will be best.