Much has been made over the past week about Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon swapping pit crews during last weekend’s race at Texas. The consensus is that Johnson’s crew has not been doing so well, and that Gordon’s crew might be better.
Well sure, maybe Gordon’s pit crew is better than Johnson’s. Or perhaps his parking skills are just better.
In a highlight video shown on ESPN’s NASCAR Now, the reel shows two stops that went badly for the four-time champ. I will admit, the second stop was just bad. But the first stop was not the fault of the pit crew, as you will see at the 0:20 mark in the video below(Note: Due to a request by the poster, the video cannot be embeded on here. You can still see it by clicking on the link below):
Johnson’s right-rear tire was hanging outside the box, which is legal. However, parking like that puts your team in a position for something to go wrong on a pit stop, as it did. As a side point, parking in such a fashion also endangers your pit crew.
Perhaps moments from the first stop flashed in the minds of the crew members during the second stop, or perhaps Johnson less obviously missed his marks on the second stop. Or maybe not.
Either way, blame for the multiple less-than-stellar pit stops cannot be blamed solely on the #48 pit crew. Some of it falls on the poor job Johnson did fitting his car into his rectangular box.
Then again, maybe parking isn’t something they teach at racing school.