Pit Road Explained: Gluing Lugnuts

As a crew member, I get asked a lot of questions by fans when I’m at the race track.  I love answering questions because any chance to help somebody understand better what goes on is cool for me.  I realized though that fans are asking a lot of the same questions from week to week.  And that makes me think a lot of fans don’t fully understand all that is pit road.  This post is the first in a series in which I will do my very best to explain all about pit road including preparation, rules, the anatomy of a pit stop, and a lot more.  Do I think these posts are going to affect the amount of questions I get asked?  Of course not.  But I would like to use this as an opportunity to maybe educate some readers of our blog who may not know.

In this first installment of Pit Road Explained I will cover the commonly asked question of how we get the lugnuts to stay on the wheels. 

Usually, about three hours before the green flag, tire changers will gather all their tires and prepare them for the race.  During this preparation the wheels are cleaned thoroughly so there is no old glue, dirt, or oil residue on them, and the stud holes are cleaned with a wire brush.

When we start gluing up, we always use new lugnuts that have been chased with a thread chaser to make sure they will spin on the studs smoothly.  We use new lugnuts because you don’t want an old, worn out lugnut to give you problems and possibly cost you a race.   In order to make the lugnuts easy to see during a pit stop, a lot of guys will paint the face of them pink.  The lugs are already painted yellow when we get them, but the bright pink stands out a little better. 

And now the magic happens!  The lugs are glued to the wheels using a weather-stripping adhesive commonly found in body shops.  Okay, not really magical, but still kind of cool.  This type of glue is used because it bonds well to both metal surfaces and its just slightly pliable.  Glue that is brittle will make the lugs pop off when the tire is hung, and crew chiefs don’t like that very much.  And, we glue up three hours before because it takes that long for the glue to set up properly. 

To finish the whole process off, right before we are about to do a pit stop, I will spray a little bit of lubricant into each lug so they spin on and off easily.

I hope I was able to shed some light on the lugnut situation for those of you who didn’t know.  If there is something you have seen during a pit stop that you would like to ask me about, feel free.  I have many more topics to discuss in this series, but suggestions are always welcomed!

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8 Responses to “Pit Road Explained: Gluing Lugnuts”

  1. PicNSniff says:

    Superior designed lug nut

    I’ve been hearing about it for a couple years…but, not yet seen one

    The lug nut more recently designed to firmly stay in place without glue? Anyone out there know of it or how it is doing? I even heard it was approved by the Nascar big boys.

  2. Wondering says:

    When the wheels are removed during a pit stop, the lug nuts just go flying everywhere. Isn’t this a hazard? Maybe the pit road is cleaned after all cars have left, but I’m sure that they are run over by cars coming and going.

  3. TrevorFan says:

    I saw this up close at Daytona this year. The lug coming off of the wheel also has about an inch plus of non-thread area to act as a guide for the lug nut to chase its way onto the wheel. The pit guys are awesome and love to answer questions if you treat them with deserved respect. Gotta love Nascar!!!

  4. greg cravatta says:

    You never answered the question. W e understand you glue em on. But once you tighten the first one on how do others not fall off. Something has to give to allow other four lugs to stay on. Explain the entire process please.

  5. Clancy Felch says:

    When a car is leaving the pit area after a tire change, what happens when the tire spins the lugs left on the ground? Why do I not hear of these projectiles being sent into pit men or radiators of the cars behind? At the revs the tires are turning I would think they become lethal projectiles………. Please respond

  6. Jerry says:

    I saw someone say you didn’t answer the question. I think maybe it wasn’t clear and I think I came here with the same question. When the wheel is put on, it goes all the way on, with the studs going into the lugs. The lugs are then tightened but the wheel seems to already be all the way against the hub. What is keeping the studs from pushing the lugs off or preventing a flush mount? Is there an unthreaded portion inside the lug?

  7. Ken says:

    I’m pretty sure the nuts stay on because the studs are extra long with an unthreaded portion at the end. The let’s the nuts ‘hang’ until the are hit with the gun.

  8. Kaylynn says:

    I love this series of blogs. I remember growing up racing karts myself and understanding how tires went on and off. At a young age I questioned my father on how they could hand start the lugnuts and hit them with the gun so quickly. His response was exactly as your’s was here. It makes complete sense to lubricate the lugs before putting them on. A neighbor brought home several lugnuts from pit road after a race one time. Although no difference really from any other lugnut, but it was surprising to not hear of the tires throwing the lugs when leaving a pit box.

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