How Do NASCAR Pit Crew Memebers Practice For Fast Tire changes?
NASCAR pit crew members have always focused on getting the car in and out of the pits as quickly as possible. There has been many a race won and lost on pit road, and literally every single task has to be carried out as quickly as possible by each member of the over-the-wall team.
One of the jobs that comes with the highest amount of stress and pressure is that of tire changer. Most of us who work on our cars in our garage or driveway set aside at least a half our to rotate our wheels and tires, simply swapping the, from one side of the car to the other to ensure they wear evenly over time. It always takes me longer personally because I never have all the tools I need when I need them, like that pesky locking lug nut socket..
These guys literally swap tires and wheels – that’s unbolting one wheel, removing it, sliding the other wheel onto the studs and tightening down the lug nuts – in a matter of seconds. And not many seconds.
A good pit stop for a NASCAR team swapping all four tires takes about fifteen seconds, the amount of time it takes to loosen a single lug nut if you’re doing it without the aid of an air wrench. That means each tire changer, one of the front two and one for the back two, has about 5 seconds to swap each wheel/tire combo and a couple of seconds to run around the car to the other side!
Logically, these guys need to practice, as they need to be ready when race day rolls around. What better way to do that than to bolt a wheel onto the wall and use the same high-speed impact wrench that they use on the track, and just run through the motions over and over. While there is certainly more to the process than just hammering the lugs tight onto the wheels, this exact set of movements has to be incredibly precise and executed as quickly as possible each time, so these guys can just repeat this part of the process over and over without needing to drag the car out of the trailer or get in the way of the crew as they work on it between races.