Darlington Raceway is commonly coined the “Track Too Tough to Tame” for a reason, and last Sunday’s Round of 16 opener at the fabled location didn’t diminish this long-held notion a bit. After all, 10 of 16 playoff drivers had varying mishaps, further proving Darlington’s reputation as a tough postseason-opening venue.
But while uncertainty might have surrounded many drivers during the Cook Out Southern 500, there was nothing but certainty for Kyle Larson and William Byron, especially regarding each team’s respective pit crews.
In the case of Larson, his crew — led by front-tire changer Blaine Anderson, rear-tire changer Calvin Teague, tire carrier RJ Barnette, jackman Brandon Johnson and fueler Brandon Harder — helped vault the No. 5 firmly inside the top four among all Cup teams in average four-tire pit stop times (11.244 seconds). The No. 24 piloted by Byron, meanwhile, continued to maintain his top position — with an average four-tire pit stop time at 11.071 seconds — thanks to front-tire changer Orane Ossowski, rear-tire changer Jeff Cordero, tire carrier Ryan Patton, jackman Spencer Bishop and fueler Landon Walker.
And what fruits did this labor eventually help net for both drivers? Larson won at Darlington and clinched a Round of 12 berth, while Byron’s fourth-place result was the No. 24’s third consecutive finish inside the top 10, dating back to the team’s victory at Watkins Glen International. Should the Hendrick Motorsports duo wish to continue their positive playoff push, efficiency in the pits will be critical.
See below to analyze additional pit-road statistics through Darlington and before the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, USA Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App).
TEN FASTEST FOUR-TIRE PIT STOPS IN 2023
|1||Sonoma||Kyle Busch||9.185 seconds|
|2||Richmond-2||Daniel Suárez||9.260 seconds|
|3||Richmond-2||Ty Gibbs||9.276 seconds|
|4||Nashville||Kyle Larson||9.281 seconds|
|5||Sonoma||Austin Cindric||9.301 seconds|
|6||Richmond-1||Corey LaJoie||9.309 seconds|
|7||Nashville||Daniel Suárez||9.333 seconds|
|8||Richmond-2||Ty Gibbs||9.343 seconds|
|9||Charlotte||William Byron||9.383 seconds|
|10||Richmond-2||Denny Hamlin||9.408 seconds|