I don’t know how many people pay enough attention to notice (maybe more then I realize) but have you seen how big the Cup Series pit boxes have gotten recently? The things are huge. They’ve got several rows of seating, flat screens everywhere, and canopies to keep everyone out of the sun and/or rain. I thought that explaining just what these command centers on wheels were all about would be cool.
In the top three NASCAR series, if you look up and down pit road, you’ll notice that every team has a state of the art pit box. What started out as just a toolbox on pit road has become so much more. Modern war wagons, as they are sometimes called, carry everything we need to get the job done during the race.
These boxes are made by a variety of companies and serve several different purposes at once. They are a place to keep all the tools, equipment, and supplies we will need during a race including various hand tools, nitrogen bottles for our air tools, tape, cleaners, and all of our spare lugnuts and glue. They also have satellite dishes so that the crew chief and the crew can watch the race broadcast right on the box. Need to know where you driver is running or his lap times? All the boxes also have a computer that receives live scoring from NASCAR Timing & Scoring. The computers on the box also help the teams figure fuel mileage and even aid in communication between teams by allowing them to “instant message” each other.
If you are a pit crew and you need to know where on the last pit stop you could pick up a tenth or two for the next one, no worries, just take a look at the stop that was recorded by the camera mounted on the pit box. Many boxes even have a practice hub so that us changers can hit a few lugnuts to get warmed up.
Besides being command central, these boxes have also become a place to display your sponsors. All boxes have become rolling billboards and are adorned with the team’s colors and sponsor logos.
When it comes to competing week in and week out, the modern pit box is just another tool used by the teams to get the job done (even if it is a REALLY big tool). Stop by tomorrow as “Pit Road Explained” answers the question: just what are all those tape marks?