By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
NASCAR will continue the trend of cost-cutting measures in 2018 as the sanctioning body announced roster limits to the number of pit crew and at-track crew members for each team on a given race weekend.
Rosters will be broken down into three categories: Organizational, road crew, and pit crew.
The organizational category is comprised of the competition director, technical director, team manager, IT specialists, etc. Starting next year, only three to four people in this category will be allowed at the track. For Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams with up to two cars, the limit is three people, while teams with three or more cars, will be allowed an extra organizational member to be at the track. The limit is one for Xfinity and Truck Series teams.
Road crew consists of the crew chief, car chief, mechanics, engineers, shock specialists, tire specialists, aero specialists, spotters, engine tuners, etc. In this group, Cup Series teams are allotted 12 roster spots, Xfinity gets seven, and Trucks get six.
The only exception for the Cup Series road crew limits will be at Indianapolis and the three road courses (Sonoma, Watkins Glen, and Charlotte), while there will be additional road crew spots available for the Xfinity and Truck Series at 10 and five races, respectively.
Then there is the pit crew, which will decrease from six members to five across all three series in 2018, making for some ingenuity among the teams as far as how they perform their pit stops with one less crew member over the wall. In addition, the fueler will only be able to fuel the car and will be prohibited from performing any other actions during the pit stop.
Once the team rosters are set for any given race weekend, the rosters will be made available to the public, with team members wearing identifying numbers or letters on their uniforms to signify their position on the roster.
“The ultimate goal is to continue to put the best racing on the track,” said NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer, Steve O’Donnell. “To continue toward that parity with more teams being able to win. You saw us put some things together last year with stages, the lower downforce package, and the great tire that Goodyear was able to pair up with that.
“So, we looked at other areas to continue to drive parity in the sport and give as many teams as possible the opportunity to win. These two initiatives, with what we’re doing on pit road by moving from six to five over the wall and only allowing the fuel person to just fuel the vehicle, kind of fits in where we’re going. Obviously from a safety standpoint, we’ve removed officials off of pit road.
“We’ve evolved in this sport from seven to six, now to five. Leaving it up to the teams with their athletes that they have as part of this to go out and pit the car and leave it up to them as to how they conduct the pit stop. I think it’ll be exciting.”