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4 Tires & Fuel: Hendrick Sets Pit Stop Record; Several Encounter Problems at Texas

Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas played host to an incredible showcase on pit road. Throughout the day, we saw a historically fast pit stop and a wheel detaching from the dominant car of the race.


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Texas Motor Speedway was once again a game of track position and pit stops were ramped up to match as the median four-tire change time was just 10.19 seconds and almost half of those were tire stops were under the 10-second mark. Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske took it one step further with an average down in the nine-second bracket as all of the Hendrick crews averaged a 9.27-second pit stop time while the Penske crews averaged 9.57 seconds for the day.

Photo Credit: Hendrick Motorsports

Best Individual Pit Stop Speeds

Photo Credit: Hendrick Motorsports

While all of the HMS crews had a strong showing at Texas, the No. 9 pit crew of Chase Elliott stood out the strongest as they knocked out the fastest four-tire change of the year at just 8.49 seconds. Their teammates on the No. 7 and No. 24 joined them in those sub-nine-second ranks along with the No. 22 squad from Team Penske.

The No. 9 crew took their momentum from Martinsville and built on it in order to complete a record-setting stop and put Chase Elliott out front for the opportunity to capture the win, which was the first for the No. 9 team since Talladega in October 2022.

9Hendrick Motorsports8.49
7Spire Motorsports8.79
24Hendrick Motorsports8.88
22Team Penske8.89
5Hendrick Motorsports9.08
12Team Penske9.08
99Trackhouse Racing9.10
8Richard Childress Racing9.18
34Front Row Motorsports9.19
51Rick Ware Racing9.19

Hendrick dominated the top three fastest pit stops as the No. 9 crew was joined at the top of the charts by the Hendrick-trained crew that works on the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet of Corey LaJoie along with the No. 24 crew of William Byron which continues to show their consistency this season. Team Penske crews also make an appearance inside the top-10 with the No. 22 (fourth) and No. 12 crew (sixth) getting into the mix with those HMS crews.

The biggest surprise on this list is the fact that none of the primary Joe Gibbs Racing crews make an appearance on the fastest pit stops list this week. Instead, we see some of their leased crews appear as the No. 34 pit crew of Michael McDowell makes an appearance alongside the No. 51 pit crew of Justin Haley. Both of those crews are leased from Joe Gibbs Racing.

After some early season changes to its roster, the No. 8 Richard Childress racing crew of Kyle Busch is showing that consistency in crew members is paying off as they make an appearance as the eighth fastest individual pit stop with a time of 9.18 seconds showing that the group is starting to gel now that they've been in that arrangement for a few races.

Median Four Tire Pit Stop Speeds

Photo Credit: Hendrick Motorsports

Not only was that No. 8 crew able to set a single fast stop at Texas, but they were also consistent for the whole race as they made an appearance in sixth place on our median four tire change speed chart showing a huge improvement from the start of the year. The top of the chart was once again dominated by Hendrick Motorsports with that No. 9 crew taking top honors with an impressive 8.99 second median four tire change time.

9Hendrick Motorsports8.99
24Hendrick Motorsports9.09
5Hendrick Motorsports9.24
22Team Penske9.24
7Spire Motorsports9.35
8Richard Childress Racing9.39
48Hendrick Motorsports9.39
12Team Penske9.50
10Stewart-Haas Racing9.59
2323XI Racing9.60

Hendrick was so dominant at Texas that half of this chart trains at their facilities with the No. 7 Spire Motorsports crew joining the four in-house crews on the list. The dominant Team Penske crews of Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano once again make an appearance with both setting median four tire change times of 9.5 seconds or less. The chart is rounded out by the No. 10 crew of Noah Gragson at Stewart-Haas Racing along with the No. 23 crew of Bubba Wallace at 23XI Racing who are now starting to make repeat appearances.

Issues on Pit Road

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett, LAT Images, Courtesy of Toyota Racing

While Hendrick had a good day on pit lane overall, it wasn't without its troubles as Kyle Larson lost a right rear wheel at one point in the race. That wheel was lost about a dozen laps after that No. 5 crew completed a right-side tire change in less than four seconds. The most likely scenario is that the pit stop moved so quickly that the rear tire changer wasn't able to fasten the right rear wheel nut all the way. Over time, the wheel nut worked its way off the wheel hub, and eventually it released the wheel from the car as Larson was circulating under caution. That lost wheel led to a two-lap penalty in the race and will likely result in a two-race suspension for the rear tire changer and the tire carrier this week.

That No. 5 crew wasn't the only one with issues as crews tried to set fast times all day while battling for track position. The No. 19 pit crew of Martin Truex Jr. battled wheel fastening issues multiple times during day. This led Truex to come down pit road twice to rectify loose wheels. The No. 45 pit crew of Tyler Reddick also had issues on pit lane late in the race where they had to redo part of the change on the right side of the car. Reddick came into the pits from the lead, but the issue allowed Denny Hamlin to get past Reddick on the exit of the pit lane. Hamlin erased a five-second gap that Reddick had on him entering that pit cycle.

The wildest issue of the day had to be the loss of a socket on the front of the No. 54 of Ty Gibbs early in the race which resulted in him having to come back down pit lane to refasten that wheel. That issue appears to be with how the socket was fastened to the wheel gun itself which is something that NASCAR and the wheel gun supplier will have to investigate as they are the only ones allowed to fasten those sockets.

Development Crews in Action at Texas

Photo Credit: Rusty Jones, LAT Images, Courtesy of Toyota Racing

Spire Motorsports leases the No. 71 crew from Trackhouse Racing and this week they moved up to the top half of the charts as they were able to take a 17th place spot on the median four-tire change chart with a time of 10.09 seconds. The No. 38 crew that Front Row Racing leases from Team Penske for Todd Gilliland also joined them in the top 20 with a median four-tire change time of 10.09 seconds. Both of those crews had individual pit stops below the ten-second mark.

Some of those regular development crews were joined by part-timers as an entry for the No. 84 of Jimmie Johnson this week meant that the Pit Crew Development Group (PDG) was in action once again and the pit crew was able to set a median four-tire change time of 11.09 seconds with their fastest stop clocking in at 10.19. This group is a joint venture between LEGACY MOTOR CLUB and 23XI Racing and is in action in the Cup Series when either of those teams runs a third car. Outside of their occasional Cup duties, the PDG squad has also picked up work in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as they work on the No. 15 car of Hailie Deegan for AM Racing.

Following Texas, teams head to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend where pit stops will be fuel-dependent and fuelers will have their work cut out for them. We'll be back in a couple of weeks as we get to Dover where tire change times will again take precedence.

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