NASCAR Considering Eliminating Catch Can Guy

Hope you all enjoyed our little joke earlier, we certainly had fun doing it.  This is my real post for today, and don’t worry, none of this is an April Fools prank.

If you will remember, at the start of this season, NASCAR introduced a new style fuel can for the Truck Series that eliminated the need for a catch can guy (See the fuel can in action here).  Because of this new can, NASCAR limited the number of over-the-wall crew members in the Truck Series to six: two tire changers, two tire carriers, a jackman, and a fueler.  Teams could still technically use a catch can guy, they would just have to eliminate one of the other positions.

We are hearing now that NASCAR is seriously considering bringing this new style fuel can to both the Nationwide and Cup Series for the 2011 season.  If this happens, it would mean the elimination of the catch can man for both of these two series as well.

I’m not 100% certain about NASCAR’s rationale for the change, but I’m guessing they would say it is a safety issue and will save the teams money.  It basically removes 43 people from pit road and means teams don’t need to bring (or pay) a catch can guy.

In my opinion, I don’t think this change would really accomplish anything.  If teams aren’t spending that little bit of money on a catch can man, they are just going to spend it somewhere else.  It isn’t like a NASCAR team is going to be broken by the few thousand dollars it takes to have a crew member catch gas during a pit stop.  When we are talking about $15-$20 million budgets, what is a few thousand?

As for the safety issue, I’ve heard some say it’s more dangerous for the catch can man, because he has his back to pit road during the pit stop.  But to be honest with you, he is not really in any better or worse position then the rest of us over the wall.  When I’m hitting lugnuts, it’s not like I’m looking around to see if I’m going to get hit by another car.  I’m focused on my job.  You could make the argument that tire carriers and jackmen are put in much worse spots.

On top of that, it isn’t like we’ve seen a recent outbreak of catch can guys getting hit on pit road.  I can’t honestly remember the last time it even happened.  So this couldn’t be called a reactionary change by NASCAR.

From a competition stand point, the rule with the fueler in the Truck Series is, that he cannot make any adjustments during the pit stop.  I would imagine that NASCAR would carry this part of the rule over to Cup and the NNS.  If you watch stops in the Cup and NNS Series, you will often see catch can guys making track bar and wedge adjustments.  Teams build extra long adjustment wrenches specifically for this.

If the catch can guy goes away, pit stop times will be affected considerably.  Any adjustments will now have to be made by tire carriers, which will slow stops down.  It will certainly give crew chiefs fits, as the question becomes “do I lose time on the stop and get the adjustment, or leave the car as it is, and take the track position.”

We will keep you posted as we know more about this rule change.

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15 Responses to “NASCAR Considering Eliminating Catch Can Guy”

  1. BJ says:

    RE: “When I’m hitting lugnuts, it’s not like I’m looking around to see if I’m going to get hit by another car. I’m focused on my job. You could make the argument that tire carriers and jackmen are put in much worse spots.”

    Here’s a tweet/link from JGR pit crew coach Mike Lepp regarding just how much the over the wall guys are worrying about pit road traffic. Keep an eye on the rear carrier!

    http://twitvid.com/B654E – Focus amid chaos. Example.

  2. Floyd says:

    I was a catch can man on and off for about 6yrs.
    It was a lot of fun jumping that wall when the cars are coming in! I know it won’t be in arca any time soon.
    I filled in as catch can man for Scott lagasse jr. at toledo speedway, when Scott came in I jumped the wall the car in front of us did not pit all the way in his pit box so Scott pitted short and the car behind us pitted deep well Scott went to take off and I was still there so he backed up I did not have a radio so I had no idea what was going on I just looked behind me and then spun around so I did not get hit from the front or back it got a little exciting for a second so I guess I know why nascar wants this new can I can tell you personally!!!!
    To all of the over the wall guys out there be safe!!!
    keep up the great work!!
    RACES ARE WON IN THE PITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. luke rudd says:

    but how much are the new cans!

  4. [...] No More Catch Can Guys in Cup Series? If you will remember, at the start of this season, NASCAR introduced a new style fuel can for the Truck Series that eliminated the need for a catch can guy. Because of this new can, NASCAR limited the number of over-the-wall crew members in the Truck Series to six: two tire changers, two tire carriers, a jackman, and a fueler. Teams could still technically use a catch can guy, they would just have to eliminate one of the other positions. We are hearing now that NASCAR is seriously considering bringing this new style fuel can to both the Nationwide and Cup Series for the 2011 season. If this happens, it would mean the elimination of the catch can man for both of these two series as well. NASCAR Considering Eliminating Catch Can Guy | The NASCAR Insiders [...]

  5. Henry Dubret says:

    >On top of that, it isn’t like we’ve seen a recent outbreak of >catch can guys getting hit on pit road. I can’t honestly >remember the last time it even happened. So this couldn’t be >called a reactionary change by NASCAR.

    Working from memory here (always a danger)…..

    Don Miller (who was a partner to Roger Penske for years) lost a leg in an accident at Talladega years ago. He was the catch-can man for A. J. Foyt (I believe) when there was a horrific accident on pit road and he got pinned between the two cars.

    Gotta be over 30 years ago, so if NASCAR is reacting, they’re just a tad slow . Was before my time covering the sport, btw….

    Henry

  6. Kyle says:

    I can’t remember a catch can man getting hit either…its usually a tire changer/carrier or the jackman. Either the fuel man or the catch can man seem to get hit very much, probably because they are really in the safest part of the car during a pit stop since it is closest to the pit wall and not much really happens there during pit in/pit out for drivers surrounding them. It would take a driver’s brakes failing trying to get into his pit box or a spin on pit road for them to be hit.

  7. [...] to NASCAR Insiders, NASCAR is “seriously considering” introducing a new-style fuel can that would [...]

  8. carl says:

    great brilliant idea nascar… well not really, but please nascar, feel free to continue to macro-manage this sport into oblivion. no one is going to the races, let alone watching it on tv either.

    sounds like this idea came from obama’s staff, save some money by eliminating more jobs from people who need them.

  9. Dan says:

    I did catch can for 12 years. I worried more about fire than getting hit on pit road. When I first went over the wall I wore blue jeans, tee-shirt and gym shoes.

  10. luke rudd says:

    no crowd at the truck race tonight 500,000 purse who pays that

  11. Floyd says:

    Hey Dan I did the same thing in 2000 at Michigan Speedway. I show everybody the pics of me doing it no firesuit, no gloves nothing!, Your right I think about the fire also. There is always that one time when people say “I never saw that happen before!!” WOW!

  12. Kevin says:

    I haven’t seen a lot of catch can guys getting injured. But I’ve seen more than a few catch cans driven off pit road, only to incur a penalty stop. This would be one less thing to go wrong. One less person for tire carriers, changers & jack men to jump over. I think it’s a good idea

  13. Mike says:

    The only angle I like on this is the effect it has on pit strategy. I kinda like the idea that you can’t have it all in one 13 second stop.

    Do we take 4 and try to adjust with air pressure or do we take outsides and adjust the wedge or do we do it all and lose some track position and hope we can drive back to the front…

    I don’t like the idea of 43 guys being out of a job though.

  14. Big 'E' says:

    It’s funny that the shop and pit crew guy’s are the one’s getting pay cut’s or job cut’s. So with this new style catch can system, Can we ask….How much is this new system? And just how much kick back is nascar putting in there pocket? I know the cost of the new fuel system….But does the fans know? The fans see all this what nascar and race team’s call budget cuts to save money. But no one ever gets into detail’s on the extra cost that come with the big budget savings. You take one percent of a drivers paycheck…and your catch can man has his job back. A GUY WHO WORK FOR A LIVING!!! Race fan??? The sport need’s your help!!! Tell nascar how you feel!!!!

  15. [...] Eliminating The Catch Can Person In The Sprint Cup And Nationwide Series? NASCAR Considering Eliminating Catch Can Guy [...]

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