NASCAR All Star Qualifying has typically had some interesting kinks thrown into it. This year, the drivers’ starting spots for the All Star Heat Races, and the All Star Open rest on the shoulders of the pit crews. But how does it work?
History of Showcasing Pit Crews at the All-Star Race
The pit crew challenge has come and gone through the years. Originally, it was a part of All Star Weekend festivities, but it was not held at the race track. It was instead held at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte back when the race was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Eventually that was cut out of All Star Weekend. However, pit crews were still involved in All Star Qualifying with the new format featuring two flying laps and a pit stop, with the combined time deciding the pole. Last year, the qualifying format featured the eight fastest drivers being put into a tournament which started with a four tire pit stop, and whoever exited the pit stall and made it back to the finish line first won that round.
The 2023 Format
This year, there are no extra laps or anything like that. It is all about the pit crews. The fastest pit crew takes the top spot in the first heat race on Saturday night or the Open on Sunday night.
The format will work like this. Each driver will drive to their pit stall on pit road with no speed limit. The timer starts one pit box before the pit stall and the timer stops one pit box after the pit stall. When the drivers get into their pit boxes, their respective pit crews will complete a typical four-tire pit stop.
Penalties will be assesed as well. For each minor infraction on pit road such as over the wall too soon, there will be a five second time penalty. For a loose wheel on pit road, the crew will immediately be disqualified from the competition.
With the pit crew challenge coming back this year, this is an awesome opportunity for pit crews to shine on a big stage. This truly does make NASCAR’s All Star weekend feel a little bit more like an All Star weekend.