Takeaways from Texas: NASCAR's got to get its air gun issues figured out

From The Marbles
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/sprint/drivers/947/" data-ylk="slk:Kyle Busch">Kyle Busch</a> (18) has a tire change and adjustments made during a stop late in a NASCAR Cup series auto race in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, April 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)
Kyle Busch (18) has a tire change and adjustments made during a stop late in a NASCAR Cup series auto race in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, April 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)

Welcome to the 2018 season and welcome back to our post-race takeaways column. Per usual, we’ll have some random thoughts to espouse after Cup Series races and this column will be the landing spot for them.

• The 2018 Cup Series season is seven races old and NASCAR’s air gun experiment seems to be failing miserably so far.

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Teams have had issues with the NASCAR-issued air guns in seemingly every race so far, and both Kevin Harvick and his crew chief Rodney Childers were unhappy with the standard-issue equipment on Sunday.

NASCAR decided to provide teams with standard air guns in 2018 to help control costs and level the pit road playing field. Teams were spending money to make air guns — the equipment that removes and fastens lug nuts on wheels — to make them as efficient and quick as possible.

[Kyle Busch wins at Texas]

But NASCAR’s guns have proven to be unreliable. And that may be putting it nicely. Harvick had a loose wheel during Sunday’s race and had to make an extra pit stop because of it.

“We had a pathetic day on pit road, two days on pit road because of pit guns,” Harvick said. “When you have a pit gun problem like we have multiple times and been able to overcome it and then today we couldn’t overcome it. Time after time you can’t get the lug nuts tight because the pit guns don’t work.”  

Joe Gibbs, the owner of race-winning Kyle Busch’s car, is not a fan of the NASCAR mandate either.

NASCAR has been defensive about the air guns, but it’s pretty clear there’s a widespread problem with the equipment’s reliability. It’s unfortunate that NASCAR tried to correct an issue and created a problem, but that’s what seems to have happened here. The issues can’t get resolved soon enough.

[Kevin Harvick benefits from NASCAR’s inconsistency]

• 2017 Xfinity Series champion William Byron scored the first top 10 of his Cup Series career on Sunday. Yeah, there were only 10 cars on the lead lap at the end of the race, but you’ve gotta start somewhere.

“Overall it was a pretty good day and we can definitely build on this,” Byron said. “Repaves are really treacherous and the restarts were so sketchy. I learned a couple of things with adjustments in the car to help for that and overall I thought that green flag entries were good. Green flag stops, the guys did a good job. Overall, I thought it was pretty good.  So, it was a pretty solid day. We had a ton of things happen but I thought that we ended-up about where we should have.”

Joey Logano finished sixth, his third sixth-place finish of the season and the fifth time in seven races he’s finished in the top seven. He and his Team Penske teammates have shown some good but not great speed throughout the start of the season. While the team has been fast, it seems to always be outrun by one or two Stewart-Haas Racing Fords.

“We made some good changes at the end,” Logano said. “My car was pretty good and probably could have ran third but that caution came and those guys were hoping for that and they got it. They got track position on us. We fought hard, it is just where we are at right now. We are stuck at sixth. We need to go faster.”

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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