Who’s Working the Garage at Darlington?

NASCAR is finally back, albeit with no fans and many fewer people than usual on site. So who occupies the most valuable garage positions?

NASCAR has limited teams to a total of 16 people. That includes

  • 5 pit crew members
  • driver
  • 2 hauler drivers
  • spotter
  • crew chief
  • car chief

That leaves five positions to fill out the garage crew. One or more may be taken up by administrative people (directors of competition, for example). PR, social media people, sponsors and VIPS are not allowed.

The only person who can work across teams is the Engine Tuner, who can be shared between two teams.

Bob Pockrass compared team rosters for Phoenix and Darlington to figure out how teams have managed the garage positions change. Today, let’s see which positions were deemed the most valuable overall.

Garage Positions: MVPs

The solid green bars denote the people who will be in the garage at Darlington. The hatched bars are those who would have been there if it weren’t for the darned coronavirus.

A column chart (now corrected) showing which crew positions were cut and which were kept.
This chart was corrected on 5/15/20 when I realized I’d left two team off.

It’s not surprising that 62% of the mechanics won’t be making this trip. Their primary task is making changes to the car as determined during by practice runs. Since there aren’t any practices, there is less need for mechanics. Most of their duties will have to do with setting up things for the drivers (some of whom are picky about these things).

It’s also probably not too surprising that 2/3 of the engineers are being left at home. I’m guessing a lot of that choice depends on how the crew chief uses his engineers and what part of that job other people can do.

Six teams will do without a tire specialist; against, that’s a job a mechanic or a car chief could do.

NOTE: There are 40 teams, but some of the smaller teams don’t have tire specialists.

There will be only four shock specialists at the track this weekend and 16 watching from home. That number doesn’t add up to 40 because a fair number of teams eliminated the shock specialist from the garage crew the last time NASCAR limited how many people they could bring.

A couple of teams are leaving their crew chiefs at home and designating someone else as acting crew chief (because, I guess there has to be someone to throw out if you fail to pass inspection enough times). That’s why some of the teams look like they have more people than they should.

Next post, I’ll look at which combinations of positions are the most popular.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.