NASCAR continues to work on viable options to get a car back on pit road when it has four flat tires after Joey Logano was the last to express frustration with the process.
Logano was stuck in Turn 1 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon with four flat tires and had to be towed to pit road. The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion complained that it didn’t make sense to drag the car around the track, damaging it further, while bouncing the driver into the cockpit.
“Joey and I spoke yesterday and had a great conversation and here’s the real bright spot, him and I are 100 percent on board and we’re on the same team trying to fix it,” NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “It’s not necessarily a Next Gen car problem as much as a ride height (rule). Even our cars in the past with four flat tires… would basically have similar situations having difficulty getting back onto pit road from time to time.
“Not to the level we had with our Next Gen car, so we have a plan in place today that we were working on, and we did that last weekend, to execute the return of the 22 to pit road.
“Obviously (it’s) a two and a half mile race track, you just have to take the vehicles straight onto pit road, there are negative consequences that come with that marking the event. We’re shortening the course (and) a lot of things behind the scenes that aren’t on the table for it to work that way.
Sawyer agreed that it wasn’t ideal to tow a car all the way around the track, but it’s the right thing to do in this situation. Logano was spun on Lap 36, crossing the track and hitting the outside in Turn 1 with the driver side. During the spin, all four tires punctured.
Initially, security crews attempted to push the #22 Ford Mustang away from the scene. However, the car was stuck on the racing surface and unable to move. The process involved the two trucks lifting the rear of the car, leaving the front on the ground, and driving it back onto pit road.
“But we will work to determine what the next procedure is to be able to obtain the cars,” Sawyer said. “We have to get them straight back, go back and get them back. Towing them or pushing them back isn’t ideal but that’s what we have today.
“And as far as putting tires and jacking and electrical impact on a chase vehicle and bringing it to the incident, I’m not saying that’s off the table, but it’s pretty far down the priority list for the simple reason that just fast forward to a superspeedway where we could potentially have multiple vehicles sitting there with four flat tires.
“So what are we going to do, pull out the points standings and say, OK, go get the points leader first? Those things just aren’t practical during the event to be able to pick up those vehicles.
“Our team here at the R&D center is wide open to figure out the next steps on this. It’s something that came up at the Auto Club the first year. We now have a procedure. Our folks at Steps Towing are doing a phenomenal job; they’ve been a great partner and teammate on the towing side. They’re with us every week so they understand what we’re up against, so we’ll be coming to the right place and continuing to work with our drivers and again, we had a great conversation. with Joey yesterday on some ideas and thoughts.
“I wish it was a switch. I wish I could flip a switch and fix it overnight. If it were that easy, we would have done it already.