Breaking News: Rule Changes Coming to Truck Series

In an effort to help save the teams money for the 2009 season and beyond, we are hearing that NASCAR may be ready to announce a couple of rule changes for the Truck Series.  First, teams will be limited on the number of hard cards (annual credentials) they can purchase for the season.  This will help control the number of people teams are bringing to the track each weekend.

The other rule change rumor that is going around, is that NASCAR will limit the number of guys that can go over the wall during a pit stop.  NASCAR will go from allowing seven men over the wall, to six.  If this happens, expect teams to take away one of the tire carriers.  Again, this would in theory help teams save money, as they would need one less crew member for pit stops.

In my own opinion, I think limiting the number of hard cards is a step in the right direction.  These annual credentials cost teams several thousand dollars each per season and putting a cap on how many can be bought will help. 

The other rule change I’m not so sure about.  While I understand the reasoning, I think taking away one man will create new safety problems on pit road.  Before last season, NASCAR outlawed teams from rolling the right side tires back to pit wall uncontrolled.  They had to be in contact with a crew member until they were half way back.  Now, with one less guy over the wall, there are going to be less hands to control those tires.  Look for there to be more cases of tires getting loose on pit road if this does indeed happen.

My other issue with this rule change, is that by taking away a pit crew member, the technique for pit stops will change.  Since it doesn’t sound like NASCAR is changing the rule for the Nationwide or Cup Series, I think this will hinder the development of new crew members looking to move up.  They will learn one way in the Truck Series, then have to learn a whole new set of skills if they want to move up. 

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13 Responses to “Breaking News: Rule Changes Coming to Truck Series”

  1. RND says:

    Is NASCAR going over the top on the money saving? I really think so.

    If a team can afford to bring 100 people, then why not. If team B can only afford to bring 25….why not.

    But not really a big deal. Because if they limit it to….just a number here….25, then some teams will still only be able to afford to bring 15.

    Deleting a man over the wall is really bad idea. I agree with everything that you said.

    My first gut reaction is telling me something is terribly wrong with this idea….but I just can not put my finger on it yet. Seems like there is more wrong with idea than just what you brought up.

    And overall….I don’t think NASCAR should keep implementing these “cost saving measures.

  2. chad says:

    Why not cut the hard cards and go back to halfway breaks instead of live pit stops?

  3. dewayne says:

    nascar says saving money , but this is about control. if a team can only afford say 10 hard cards that is all they will purchase.
    and the over the wall crew has been reduced over the years to a SAFE minimum now. 1 less and removing a tire changer will make for a dangerous pit stop . they are pushed to the limits on time now , imagine 1 less crewman over the wll. this is getting
    very sad in this sport about [ SAVING MONEY ] . safety will suffer….

  4. Robyn says:

    The truck series has been NASCAR’s guinea pig for rule changes. If the rule changes work, then they will be applied to the Cup and NW series. If not, they will die a slow death.

    How much does it cost to take one extra crew person to the track? Everyone needs to look at how cutting costs affect the low man on the totem pole. Sure, it may save teams money, but then that is one more person without a job (or earning less money because they aren’t working at the race). That person can then spends less because they can’t afford extras. And so it goes down the line.

  5. JeffConn says:

    One less guy over the wall? Hmmmm, maybe the catch can guy carries the right rear tire, then retrieves the used tire later?

  6. 4310 says:

    Technically they already have a limit on the number of annual credentials a team can have in the Truck Series; that number is 28. Teams in the top 30 in owner points are allowed 28 hard cards; teams outside the top 30 have to request the number of hard cards that they want which is subject to NASCAR approval. What they probably need to do is enforce the standard they have already set. NASCAR puts no limits on how many licenses you can have on your team roster and there is a difference between a license and an annual credential. Most of the time the crew member picks up the cost of his or her license and the team pays for the hard card since it is transferable.

    I should add that crew members actually have two things issued to them in order to work in the garage. First they have to have a license which in the Truck Series costs 550.00. A license is not transferable and stays with the crew member even if they go to another team. The second thing would be an annual credential or hard card, which is transferable with NASCAR approval and 150.00 bucks; an annual credential does not go with the crew member when they depart because it is actually issued to the team not the crew member; it stays with the team and can be assigned to another crew member. An annual credential runs 750.00, for a grand total of 1300.00 dollars for one Truck Series crew member. Is it going to save teams money probably not; the only folks who will save money would be the big teams who have money to burn and bring extra people. The smaller teams already know how many people they can bring. It will save a bit on basic necessities like food, housing, and transportation, but again the larger teams will be the ones who benefit because the small teams are already sleeping 10 to a room or motor home.

    What needs to be fixed is the escalating cost of remaining competitive; an engine cost 35,000 to 40,000 if you want to run competitively with TRD. If you finish the race in say 25th place you will take home less than 10,000 dollars and you haven’t even paid your tire bill. It is an age old question balancing competition and cost. Right now the costs for go fast parts in the Truck Series are far greater than what you can get out of a sponsor or the purse. I don’t have an answer, but limiting annual hard cards probably isn’t it. Maybe we need to look at having to run an engine for 3 or 4 races. Then again the large teams will just throw money at that problem just as they always have.

  7. Tommy says:

    It’s absolutely ridiculous. Who is really saving money here? If you think that Nascar wasn’t facing a shortage of applications for annuals to begin with in this series you’re delusional.

    Lack of teams = Reduction in License fees for Nascar

    A few years ago, a moderately staffed Cup team was shelling out 50K for credentials. I can only imagine what it is now.

  8. Kenn Fong says:

    Sending only 6 men over the wall instead of 7 seems like false economy at the cost of safety. At the truck series level, how many of the guys who go over the wall are full-timers and how many work in the shop or travel with the team anyway? A friend once told me a bad manager will make showy changes just to assert authority whether they make sense or not.

    West Coast Kenny
    Alameda, California

  9. T.C. says:

    4310: Just wanted to respond about NASCAR licenses. In my career, I’ve never worked for a team that didn’t pay for both the hard card and the license. I guess maybe some out there make guys pay for their own licenses, but they are few and far between.

  10. G.B says:

    Taking away a crew members is just a drop in the bucket of cost. Teams spend so much money every weekend on tires, engine rental, transportation, and lodging that one crew member wouldnt even be noticed on a year-end expense report. It costs millions to run a season in the truck series and if your worried about less than 1% of the final cost, chances are your not going to run a full season competitively. For example: To rent a competitive engine for one race is TWICE as much as the YEARLY salary for one over-the-wall crew member. So schances are if you cant afford seven people over-the-wall then you probably cant afford to race at all, even with the tough economy.

  11. chris rock says:

    As a crewmember in the truck series, I can tell you the 6 man rule is ridiculous. The teams may save $30K per year. That’s nothing when you have a $4 million budget. Maybe Goodyear should lower their tire prices. At $450/tire, the teams spend $9000/race on tires. Which most of the time hinders the racing because they are so hard. There are a ton of ways to save money but not with this rule. I am not sure if NASCAR is aware of the financial troubles the residents of Mooresville are experiencing because nearly 1000 team members are out of jobs. So I guess another 25-30 pit crew guys losing their jobs isn’t a big deal to them. Also the safety of the pit stop will be compromised if the rule is changed. Watch to see how many tire carriers are hit when they run around the jackman onto pit road to index the rear tire.
    I can’t seem to find any way to voice my opinion to NASCAR. For a fan friendly sport, they sure do a good job of hiding phone numbers and email addresses. I am sure Bill France Sr. and Jr. are face down in their grave because they can’t bear to watch what Brian France is doing to the sport/business they built.

  12. chris rock says:

    Oh yeah, anyone see what Hendrick charges to lease motors 3 Cup cars for a season. $14 million. Anyway to save money there??

  13. Ex-TruckSeriesFan says:

    The business of cutting back crewman and limiting pit stops will set the truck series apart. Just like those poor children who ride the shorter bus to school the stigma of truck racing will hurt the resumes of the crewman. Instead of having a training league for Nationwide and Cup Series teams, these guys are going to have to learn a different skill set and choreography.

    I can think of nothing more boring than the bastardized truck series of the future. “Special rules” will make this the most successful series since IROC. Anybody seen an IROC race of late…anyone,,,anyone,,,? They lost their sponsor because the twelve people who were showing up for every race didn’t drink Crown Royal.

    Truck racing had actually become exciting in the last few years leading to restrictor plates being added to the trucks as they were turning faster times than the new cup cars. The addition of the wild card cup drivers getting beaten by the regular truck series drivers lended legitimacy to a series that had grown up from the special halftime racing of old.

    Why does every money saving idea NASCAR comes up with lately lead to the guys who really bust their humps and work the long hours losing their jobs? Are crewman not important to the team owners or NASCAR?

    How about some of these owners and drivers spending a little less time in the Caymans via private jet and keep the series pure? Just like Wall Street. “Lets lay off a few thousand people so I can afford to decorate my office with new granite floors and a gold commode.” Thanks Brian France and the rest of you for freeing up my Fridays for a year or two.

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