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As silly season rages in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, silly season in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series typically is slower to develop because of the domino effect from the Cup Series to the NASCAR Xfinity Series down to the Truck Series. However, a tweet recently rumored NASCAR is considering abolishing pit stops in the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series.
Per a source, it's becoming more & more likely that pit stops will be eliminated for both the Gander Outdoor & Xfinity Series'.
Supposedly, this could kick-off in 2020 with the chance that pit stops could be eliminated in the Cup Series by 2021.
— Opinions on NASCAR (@nascar_opinion) September 24, 2019
First off, what is the validity of this tweet? FOX Sports analyst Bob Pockrass responded to someone questioning the truth and of this tweet.
This is the time of year where NASCAR floats lots of ideas to teams. Some of them come to fruition, many do not. I have not gotten a sense with any certainty that eliminating pit stops in trucks and/or Xfinity is the path NASCAR will end up going. https://t.co/4eK4hBuDTm
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) September 24, 2019
Furthermore, Pockrass noted that while the NASCAR K&N Pro Series has breaks instead of pit stops, this idea has a long way to go before coming to fruition.
they already do it in K&N with breaks. but, again, I caution, it is something NASCAR has discussed but no indication that it is far along the road to actually happening.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) September 24, 2019
All three of the main NASCAR series and the ARCA Menards Series have live pit stops. Frontstretch‘s Bryan Davis Keith has repeatedly pleaded in his ARCA Racing Series Breakdowns for NASCAR to retain live pit stops once it assumes full control over ARCA next season.
When the Truck Series began, it did not have live pit stops. Instead, it had five-minute halftime breaks, which at the time were very popular among fans and TV networks. In 1998, NASCAR introduced competition cautions, and the following year, live pit stops were added to the Truck Series.
Would abolishing live pit stops and returning to a halftime break be good for the Truck Series? In short, yes and no.
The Truck Series is the third-highest division of NASCAR racing. Many drivers and crew chiefs aspire to eventually race in the Cup Series. The same principle is applicable to the pit crews. Some Truck Series pit crews are training for Cup Series programs, others are from pit road schools, some use combinations of those two and some Truck Series teams employ Cup Series pit crews.
As Gray Gaulding noted, if these novice pit crew members want to eventually pit for a Cup Series team, they need to practice first. Practice makes perfect, and the Truck Series and Xfinity Series races are those practice opportunities.
When NASCAR implemented stage breaks into all three main series, it gave Truck Series teams a bit of a reprieve in case they lacked top-notch pit crews. If they entered pit road on the lead lap at the end of the stage, no matter how slow their pit stops, they almost always stayed on the lead lap.
The amount of pit stops under the green flag therefore have diminished in the Truck Series because of stage breaks. Yet pit stops under the green flag offer teams the opportunity to use differing strategies to gain their driver positions or improve their truck. Plus, for the pit crews, learning how they will react to pressure under the green flag is an opportunity for them to hone their skills.
Live pit stops greatly affect the outcome of races, and NASCAR would be doing a disservice to the Truck Series by abolishing live pit stops.
Unfortunately, because of the high intensity and drive to perform well at races, the cost for a top-notch pit crew is yet another financial burden on Truck Series teams. Getting rid of live pit stops lowers the cost for Truck Series teams, offering the possibility of more owners entering teams in the Truck Series.
Eliminate live pit stops and save the teams some money.
I'd personally love to see that back in the truck series, help the teams to stop hemorrhaging cash and bring the series back to its early roots
— HMiller Motorsports (@HMillerMS80) September 24, 2019
The Truck Series would be returning to its roots, and it would further give the Truck Series its own identity.
Would the entry lists resemble more of fields at short tracks or at Eldora Speedway with the lowered costs? That is something to consider. Given NASCAR does not release the purses for any of its series, lowering costs by abolishing live pits stops for the Truck Series could be a healthy injection into the series.
The absence of live pit stops could be appealing for fans, TV networks and prospective racetracks. Fans would see another restart, which would add more excitement to races. TV networks could use halftime breaks or competition cautions to go to commercial breaks, thereby allowing for more green-flag coverage. During competition cautions or halftime breaks, the pit-road reporters could talk to crew chiefs, the announcers could talk to more drivers, etc., giving fans more in-depth coverage during races.
Lastly, for prospective racetracks, no live pit stops could allow NASCAR to add more racetracks to the Truck Series schedule. If racetracks lack enough pit-road space for live stops, NASCAR will not give those tracks Truck Series race dates. Tracks such as Madison International Speedway, Evergreen Speedway, Five Flags Speedway, and others could potentially host Truck Series races. Would you rather watch a Truck Series race with a full competitive field on those short tracks or a race at 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway with a short field? If NASCAR abolishes live pit stops for the Truck Series, races at those tracks become more of a reality.
Full disclosure, I was too young to remember when the Truck Series utilized halftime breaks. Currently, NASCAR utilizes halftime breaks, so to speak, when the Truck Series races at Eldora. Could that format be expanded upon for the whole season? Sure, and as NASCAR has shown with the caution clock, if it is considering a format for all three series, the Truck Series is the guinea pig series for those ideas.