Kevin Harvick Believes the New Pit Rules Help Rather Than Hurt the Truck Series

Horn FanSenior Writer IMarch 23, 2009

You won't catch Kevin Harvick criticising the new changes made to pit stops in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series over the off season.

Regarding five member pit crews and making two pit stops rather than the traditional one stop.

Surprising isn't it, he always has something to say regarding NASCAR rules and never shy with giving you his opinion on them.

Wonder if after the American Commercial Lines 200, two weeks ago at Atlanta, if his opinion has changed.

Since he had the fastest truck, with normal pit stops he wins the race period and Rowdy doesn't.

Harvick co-owns with his wife Delana, Kevin Harvick Inc., fields two trucks full-time in the truck series and he'll run a couple of races each season.

He likes the rule, since he saves on travel expenses and the pit rule brings a new element to races with having two stops.

Do you take tires or fuel on the first stop, then come in a second stop do what wasn't done?

Late in the race, do make one or two stops?

Gamble on just taking fuel, or take two or four tires and come in a second time? 

Basically teams have to decide to take either tires or fuel and adjustments on their first stop, then come back in a second time for what they didn't do on the first stop.

Most teams have been doing whatever they can fastest second, so they are doing tires than fuel. But of course late in races that changes to teams just doing one stop.

With the rule pit crews were downsized to five members, from the traditional seven pit crew members. Then teams can only bring 12 personnel per team to the track each race.

It includes the driver, crew chief, spotter, the five pit crew members, and five other specialists to help get the truck ready to race each race day.

The last part of the rule is that teams have to use the same engine in two out of three races and the engine will be sealed by NASCAR.

Off course teams are allowed to make some adjustments and maintenance to the engines, but the bottom part of the engine is sealed.

NASCAR imposed the rule to save teams money in travel expenses and your talking $20,000 to $30,000 a year in travel expenses.

But according to Brian Scott, who drives for Xpress Motorsports, commented here on B/R. Regarding the five member pit crew and bring twelve people to the track rules.

That his team will still bring the same number of people to each race and the rule doesn't help the team save money.

"From an owner's stand point, you take two or three guys to the race track less", Harvick said.

"Our jackman is the gas man and one of our tire carriers is the the catch can man, so from a cost-saving efforts, I think that's helped us there...I don't think there's a negative to it."

it's the cost-saving that has a direct impact on their racing versus staying home and making it more affordable for them to race.

But what if their was a better way that saved the teams, say $15,000 a race versus the money saved on travel expenses.

While I've previously said, I'd support whatever NASCAR does to save teams money and to help the trucks survive the bad economy.

I have went to the Daytona truck race, have watched every race so far and plan my weekends around the truck races.

This doesn't mean, I have to like it and really the only part of the rules I hate is the two pit stops.

I've always been a huge fan of pit stops. When I go to a race, it's always the front stretch once I find my seat, out come the binoculars and I check out pit road to see what teams are pitting by me.

It's basically taken the excitement out of pitting for me. So far two out of four races, have been decided by this rule and both races the fastest trucks didn't win.

That stinks, especially at Daytona were the fans were robbed of see a rookie being J.R. Fitzpatrick win the race and with normal pitting Happy wins at Atlanta.

For me it comes down to safety, for the members on pit road and drivers on the track racing.

Let's face it we're going to have a driver gamble, run on old tires, just take fuel, then lose a tire either wrecking hurting themselves or cause a bad wreck.

We've already heard were crew chief Rick Ren commented about Ron Hornaday Jr. having tires at Fontana were worn down to the core at races end.

My other concern is with the trucks making two pit stops, basically one after another all 36 trucks at once and it's a disaster waiting to happen.

Pit road speeding penalties are up, we've seen a few mishaps and more concerning are the stronger teams are coming in on their second stop as your slow teams are just leaving completing their first stop.

This is a accident waiting too happen, it's only a matter of time before we see a wreck on pit road that involves crew members and trucks.

According to Rick Carelli general manager for Kevin Harvick Inc. Some tracks, you can't just put fuel in and run on old tires. Since sometimes having new tires makes such a big difference and obviously you don't want to put anybody in danger with the tires being old and worn out.

But let's face it, it doesn't happen that way in the real world and with the two stop rule. We'll see someone make one stop, gamble on taking just fuel and try too win a race.

Actually Hornaday, says it best interesting since his boss favors the rule.

"I'm pretty frustrated with this pit strategy deal", Hornaday said. "It isn't about who has the fastest truck anymore, it is about who can beat you on fuel mileage or with tire wear."

Really what I'm getting at maybe NASCAR should have just left the pit stops alone. Then just made a switch with the engine, go from the current 358in (5.8L) Pushrod V8 and use the spec engine from the Camping World East & West Series.

Your giving up horsepower, but since these rules were done due to the economy you can always switch back to the 358in (5.8L) Pushrod V8 when we're in better days economical.

By using the engine, your saving owners more money than what they currently have, it's win win for the series, owners and fans.

Plus it gives NASCAR to allow the Camping World East & West Series drivers with approval, to get their feet wet with running in the next level in the NASCAR ladder.

By adding a a few races or running part-time, those adding to the entries and helping to ensure races have a 36 truck field.

Since that series is a developmental series for NASCAR, loaded with young talent and really Trucks is the next step up.

More out of curiosity, than anything else. I saw the Harvick article and what if they just switched to the spec engine to save teams money, then did the engine rule, but left the pit stop and pit crew size alone.

Would that save the owners more money or what NASCAR did?

So I've broken down this way, with the current engine being $30,000 to $40,000 a race, I'm using $35,000 as the cost for the current engine.

Now the Spec engine, costs $20,000 if the team assembles it, or $22,000 if they get it built by the manufacture and I'm using the cost of $20,000 per engine.

That's were the $15,000 comment comes from I mentioned earlier, I am using the new engine rule, were the engine gets used twice in every three races.

I broke it down into two different 12 race segments, round it to 24 races and not 25. In each segment teams use 8 engines, of which four are raced twice and four once.

So I multiplied everything X2, the spec engine would cost the owners $480,000 and the current engine costs the teams $840,000 a season.

Now add in that a competitive truck teams budget varies between $2 million to $3 million a season and a race roughly $100,000.

Hm, while the races would be slower with the less horsepower, the races would be even more competitive, but the owners would save $360,000 this season and it's only temporary.

That's a big chunk of money NASCAR could have saved the owners by switching engines and left the pit stops alone.

Sure ask Happy and Delana, they'd probably agree with having $360,000 savings versus the $20,000 to $30,000.

But while researching on-line to track down the spec engine cost figure. I found this comment by crew chief Rick Ren and maybe he has got the best solution for NASCAR to correct the pit stops.

Just let the teams do full pit stops minus the tire carriers, and stop just once.

Makes sense, more interesting is that I tied comments from the owner, driver, crew chief and spotter of the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. truck.

For what it's worth, I'm not a engine guy, couldn't tell you if it's plausible to do in theory but what I'm really getting at NASCAR could have just changed engines downsizing and saved owners a heck of a lot more money.

Sources:,, and

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