Don't consider Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a driver who is entirely comfortable with teams not fastening all five lug nuts to to the wheels during pit stops.
Before 2015, NASCAR mandated that teams fasten all five lug nuts per wheel when changing tires on a pit stop. The sanctioning body did away with the rule before last season and teams are now fastening four (or even three lug nuts) in an effort to save time on pit road.
“No, I don’t want to know," Junior said when asked Friday if he paid attention to how many lugnuts his team fastened per pit stop. "It’s freaky man. For me I’m one of the guys who is freaked out by it. I wish I could not care when the wheels are shaking, but you do. I’ve had a few come off and it never ends well."
There were multiple occasions during Saturday night's race at Texas when drivers had to pit because of tires that weren't completely fastened to the cars. The rule was taken away partially because it's a self-solving violation. If you run over an air hose on pit road there's no on-track penalty.
If a tire isn't fastened tightly, it'll start shaking and a driver will end up coming to pit road to take care of the vibration before the tire works its way off the stud completely. And if a tire comes off while a car is on the track, well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that's going to be a problem.
"I was blown away that NASCAR quit officiating that aspect," Junior said. "I could not believe that was the choice that they made. But that is the world we live in. There are not enough officials today to revert so it’s a knot that can’t be retied. We will just have to try to do the best we can as drivers not to end up in the fence.”
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