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4 Tires & Fuel: RFK, 23XI Crews Keep Spirited Win Battle Alive at Darlington

Brad Keselowski and Tyler Reddick were locked into an intense battle throughout Sunday's race at Darlington, which carried over to the pit crews, who went shot for shot in the Goodyear 400.


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At Darlington Raceway, tire wear is a huge factor, so it's no surprise that such a high volume of four-tire pit stops were made during Sunday's Goodyear 400. Once again, the pressure was ramped up and the top crews delivered, as sixty percent of those stops were completed in less than 10 seconds. Those quick pit stop times were spread throughout the field, with 35 of 36 teams completing at least one stop under that threshold

Best Individual Pit Stop Speeds

As the weeks pass, the field is getting closer together when it comes to pit stop performance. It was so close this past weekend at Darlington, that an extra section was added to the chart, due to there being a tie for 10th-place.

Half of the pit stops featured on the list recorded a pit stop in less than nine seconds, and the most dominant cars on the racetrack were supported by the best pit crews, as the RFK Racing No. 6 (Keselowski) recorded the fastest stop of the afternoon, with the 23XI Racing No. 45 (Reddick) a couple of spots behind.

6RFK Racing8.77
99Trackhouse Racing8.79
4523XI Racing8.80
14Stewart-Haas Racing8.89
24Hendrick Motorsports8.90
34Front Row Motorsports8.99
2Team Penske9.09
2323XI Racing9.09
48Hendrick Motorsports9.09
9Hendrick Motorsports9.18
19Joe Gibbs Racing9.18

23XI Racing continues to show growth and consistency in their pit crew department, with both teams appearing on the top-10 chart this weekend, alongside some of the usual suspects from the powerhouse organizations of Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing.

The depth of the Joe Gibbs Racing organization was put on display once again, as even the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 (McDowell), which rents a crew from JGR, made it onto the list, with an 8.99-second four-tire pit stop.

Median Four Tire Pit Stop Speeds

Accomplishing a single quick pit stop is impressive, but consistency throughout the entire race is what produces results, and the RFK Racing No. 6 team (Keselowski) was able to combine both to help their driver reach Victory Lane on Sunday. They were the only crew to have a median pit stop time below the nine-second threshold, and it showed, as they consistently kept their driver at the front through every pit cycle.

6RFK Racing8.99
4523XI Racing9.10
48Hendrick Motorsports9.10
4Stewart-Haas Racing9.29
12Team Penske9.29
2Team Penske9.49
11Joe Gibbs Racing9.49
14Stewart-Haas Racing9.49
17RFK Racing9.49
2323XI Racing9.49
34Front Row Motorsports9.49

The No. 6 RFK Racing crew has veteran tire changer Johnny Roberts on the front. Before joining RFK, Roberts was part of the Hendrick Motorsports organization, most recently pitting the No. 24. His competitive exploits extend away from the racetrack as he is also an avid fisherman.

Roberts is joined by rear tire changer Steve Price, previously of Chip Ganassi Racing. Roberts and Price are assisted by tire carrier Telvin McClurkin, who grew up playing football and was a defensive end at Coastal Carolina University. McClurkin worked his way through the RFK Racing organization after reaching out several years ago, joining the team's development program and collecting a Truck Series title with Ben Rhodes.

Dustin Lineback is on the jack, and is also a former football player, spending time at Eastern Carolina University as a linebacker. Outside of his athletic pursuits, Lineback is also a comic book enthusiast and even operates a shop called Race City Comics. That No. 6 crew is rounded out by fueler Brad Robison who was recruited to be a pit crew member from his college career as a football player. He is one of the most versatile veterans in the sport, having previously been on the jack and a tire carrier.

Moving down the list, it's clear why there was a constant battle between the No. 45 and No. 6, as the 23XI Racing No. 45 crew placed second in this week's media pit stop times, clocking in just over a tenth of a second behind the Keselowski crew. The pit department at 23XI Racing is showing growth this season, as both the No. 23 and No. 45 crews make an appearance in the top-10 chart this week.

The No. 12 (Blaney) crew is usually the most dominant pit crew within the Team Penske organization, so it's not surprising to see them in the top half of the chart once again this week, but the No. 2 (Cindric) crew also joined them this weekend at Darlington, with a median stop time of 9.49, just a couple of tenths slower than their teammates.

That median pit stop time was also common this week, and shows just how competitive pit lane has become with crews from Team Penske, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, RFK Racing, 23XI Racing, and Front Row Motorsports all recording a median pit stop time of 9.49 seconds.

Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have dominated the charts for most of the season, but this week, it's clear that other crews are starting to catch up. The No. 11 crew (Hamlin) is no surprise as being one of the contenders this week, but the notable entry from their organization is the No. 34 crew, which is leased to Front Row Motorsports, showing up with the same median four-tire change time.

Pit Crew Challenge Approaches

This is the right time of the season to heat up as pit crews will be in the spotlight later this week with the Pit Crew Challenge at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Crews will have an opportunity to compete for the top honors during the Cup Series qualifying session on Friday. You can learn more about how pit crews prepare for this event in our special coverage of the lead-up to the 2023 Pit Crew Challenge.