Pit Road Speed: The Story and The Solution

Clayton CaldwellCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 26:  Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is caught for speeding down pit road during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Pit road speeds. That's the debate of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway tonight.

Did Juan Pablo Montoya speed? Did NASCAR want to spice up the race a bit?

Who knows the real answer to the questions, which can all be debated, but there is a solution to NASCAR's problem.

Right now, the way the pit road speeding penalties work is that if NASCAR says you sped on pit road you have to come down and take your penalty.

If NASCAR says? That's what we're going on.

Pit road speed is a safety issue. Back in 1990, there was a horrific accident on pit road.

See back then in 1990, you could go as fast as you wanted on pit road and there was no such thing as pit road speed. Well, until one November at Atlanta Motor Speedway. That's when Ricky Rudd's #5 car came down pit road. Rudd lost control, slamming into Bill Elliott's car. The problem was Bill Elliott's team had just started pitting his car.

Rudd's car spun 180 degrees and his right rear slammed Bill's right rear end. Bill Elliott's tire changer Mike Rich got caught in between the two cars, killing him instantly. It was a devastating blow to Bill Elliott, who contemplated retirement after the incident.

There was no doubt there was a problem, and NASCAR enforced pit road speeds from that day forward.

It's a great rule, and it needs to stay, but there should be some tweaks. NASCAR for the better part of 19 years tells people when they speed on pit road. They don't show anyone their speeds and we take their word for it.

That leads to debates like this. Why can't you show each team the pit road speeds?

How can I believe if someone sped on pit road or not? Take NASCAR's word for it.

My solution to the pit road speeds is that you show all 43 teams what the speeds were for the last round of pit stops. Each team has five laps to bring their cars down for a pass through penalty. If they don't you black flag them.

Why can't NASCAR do that?