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July 6, 2023

NASCAR alters pit-road speed-limit procedures for Atlanta

NASCAR cars drive pit road at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sean Gardner
Getty Images

NASCAR officials announced Thursday an alteration to its pit-road speed-limit procedures for this weekend’s Xfinity Series and Cup Series events at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

After extending pit entrance to Turn 3 for the spring race in March — a product of Atlanta’s 2022 reconfiguration that resulted in superspeedway-style racing at the 1.54-mile oval — NASCAR is implementing two separate pit-road speed limits under green-flag conditions for this weekend’s races.

MORE: Cup standings | Atlanta schedule

During green-flag pit stops, sections 1 and 2 of pit road will be limited at 90 mph, while sections 3 through 18 will be policed at 45 mph. Under caution-flag conditions, pit-road speed will be 45 mph for the full distance of pit road, starting from the white commitment line in Turn 3 to pit exit in Turn 1.

The extended length of pit road saw a steady 45 mph speed limit at all times during the March race weekend, resulting in cars falling laps down during green-flag conditions. NASCAR’s goal in implementing two separate pit road speed limits is to help minimize a team’s chances of falling off the lead lap during such pit cycles.

“It’ll certainly be different having two gears,” 2020 Cup champion Chase Elliott told reporters Thursday. “Having a taller gear for your fast section and then having to downshift to get to your normal pit-road speed is definitely something that I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I don’t know that that’s going to change the dynamic of the race a whole lot. I think it’s going to take a little getting used to from a driver’s standpoint just to do that and to do it efficiently.”

Due to the unique circumstances, NASCAR will hold one pit-entry practice per series following their respective final rounds of qualifying. The sessions will see drivers sent in groups of three to test the 90-mph green-flag entry speed from the Turn 3 white entry line to the traditional yellow pit entry line in Turn 4 where the limit drops to the standard 45 mph. Teams will also be able to run the first few sections of pit road to get a feel for going from the 90-mph entry speed to 45-mph pit road speed.

Additionally, NASCAR will extend its Damaged Vehicle Policy by one minute in each series, which is consistent with the sanctioning body’s approach to the March event. Cup teams will have eight minutes to repair damage to their vehicles and meet minimum speed requirements, up from its standard seven minutes. Xfinity teams will have seven minutes to fix their cars, up from six.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series competes in the Alsco Uniforms 250 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, USA Network, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App). The NASCAR Cup Series races in the Quaker State 400 available at Walmart on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, USA, PRN, SiriusXM, NBC Sports App).