Pit Road Mistakes Are the Headline of Sprint All-Star Qualifying

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer IMay 15, 2009

CONCORD, NC - MAY 15:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota makes a pit stop during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 15, 2009 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Pit road mistakes in 2009 have become as common as Kyle Busch winning has.

Every week a handful of drivers are either having trouble on pit road or their crews are having problems on the pit stops.

We have seen it all this year from loose lug nuts, speeding penalties, runaway tires, and sliding through pit stalls.

Qualifying for the Sprint All-Star Friday night at the Lowe's Motor Speedway was no different as eight of the 18 drivers that qualified for the event, all made pit road mistakes.

The procedure for All-Star qualifying is different then every other race weekend. 

For the All-Star race, a driver will run a total of three laps. One lap around the track and then on lap 2 will make a pit stop and then leave pit road for a third lap. 

The total time between the on track laps and the pit stop determine your overall time.

A driver must obey pit road speed while coming onto pit road and pit the car inside the pit box just like a regular pit stop during a race.

Just like a normal race weekend, if a problem occurs on the stop, the team will be penalized. 

However, after the stop is completed, the driver can go as fast as they please to reenter the track and finish their qualifying run.

Just like every other race weekend, some drivers had a harder time than others making their pit stops.

Ironically, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not one of them and will start in the fourth position after being the provisional pole sitter before being overtaken by three other mistake free drivers.

After Tony Stewart made his qualifying attempt he said he was hoping that Dale Jr. missed his pit stall like he's been doing all year long.

The reason Stewart said that will become clear in a moment. 

The first driver to have a problem was Greg Biffle and his No. 16 Ford, who thought he had knocked Jeff Gordon off the provisional pole.

However, his crew had one loose lug nut and Biffle was issued a five second penalty and as a result will start 11th on Saturday night.

Next up came Denny Hamlin, who didn't have a pit road problem per say, but he broke a drive shaft while leaving his pit stall and tried to enter the track. Instead he hung a U-turn and went to the garage.

Hamlin will start last in the 18th position. 

Following Hamlin in the qualifying order was Ryan Newman who had one of the best times entered pit road for his pit stop.

His crew though, would have the slowest pit time and Newman will start in the 12th position. 

Newman's boss and teammate, Tony Stewart, was the sixth driver to take to the track and he came away with the quote of the weekend.

Stewart came down pit road for his pit stop and thought he was only getting two tires. As he pulled away he radioed "I'll be right back guys," and perfectly backed into his stall for the left side tires.

Because of the slow stop, Stewart will begin the All-Star race in the 15th starting spot.

Even after all of that, the mistakes were not over.

Carl Edwards, who had a front row run going, was issued a 15 second penalty after his crew had not one, but three loose lug nuts on their stop.

Edwards will start from the 14th position.

The Richard Childress Racing duo of Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton were both issued 20 second speeding penalties for entering pit road too fast.

Burton's No. 31 Caterpillar team won the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge on Thursday night, but it was their driver that was the pit road menace. 

Burton and Bowyer will start 16th and 17th respectively. 

Lastly came the driver that Jimmie Johnson thought could knock him off the pole.

Kyle Busch would have started second, however he will start 13th after being issued a five second penalty when his crew had a loose lug nut.

The 25th running of the Sprint All-Star race will see Jimmie Johnson on the pole for the first time in the All-Star race, while other All-Stars will have to overcome their pit road miscues.

That seems to be the story of the 2009 Sprint Cup season.