Race Weekend Central

Monday Morning Pit Box: Four Fresh Tires Win Out for Tyler Reddick

Hello and welcome in to another edition of Monday Morning Pit Box following the conclusion of the Hollywood Casino 400 a Kansas Speedway. In MMPB, we break down the previous NASCAR Cup Series race from the perspective of the crew chief, analyzing race-changing pit calls, pit stops, and pit road penalties.

Reddick’s Four Tires Beats Others Taking On Two

With a scant few laps to go on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, the race was all but won for Denny Hamlin. But anything can happen to upend a race, and it was exactly that with a late caution for Chris Buescher sending things into overtime.

Despite a handful of drivers taking a shot at a win by taking on two tires and one staying out on the track while others pitted, it was the call of No. 45 crew chief Billy Scott that allowed Tyler Reddick to win the day and advance to the Round of 12.

Reddick got by a handful of drivers in overtime with a differing mindset. For starters, Daniel Suarez stayed out. With the No. 99 not in the playoffs, it was a call for a team that had nothing to lose. Having old tires compared to everyone else near the front was costly, as Suarez would plummet to 16th.

While leaders such as Reddick and Hamlin stood pat with four tires, others gambled by just taking on two. That group included Erik Jones, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch, drivers with top-10 caliber cars seeking to grab a win.

Reddick, who would restart as the second-highest car to have taken on four tires, used the simple math of four tires is better than two to get the win.

Bell’s Chances Dinged On Pit Road

The opportunity to further cement a spot in the Round of 12 was there on Sunday for polesitter Christopher Bell. In the end, the driver of the No. 20 would pilot his Toyota home in eighth. That places him in 10th place going to Bristol, 12 points above the cut line. Bell is in a tighter playoff squeeze thanks to a tumultuous day on pit road. The struggles of the No. 20 team were magnified once again as the issues during the day included a lap 86 stop where Bell had to come back in to have the right-rear tire addressed due to a possible issue.

Bell, who swapped crews with Ty Gibbs for the postseason, also had issues last week at Darlington. So far, Bell has been able to salvage serviceable results in spite of issues on pit road, but that luxury won’t last much longer as the postseason gets deeper.

See also
Tyler Reddick Wins Overtime Shootout at Kansas

A Bullring of Pressure Is Next

You think this week was stressful? Try being in the shoes of of the pit crews for Bell, Logano or Kevin Harvick, who are just above the cut line. Or try getting ready to go over the wall for Martin Truex Jr. and Bubba Wallace, who as of now would be on the outside looking in for the next round.

As bad as a precious second cost a team at Kansas, that gets magnified at Bristol. A few seconds off at Kansas means time lost, but there’s a degree of chance that you can stay on the lead lap. At Bristol, a couple of lost seconds could mean a lap or two lost.

If you want to send crew members a care package this week, you may want to ensure it includes some antacids.

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