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Pit Stop Timers


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Does anyone else think its time Chumpcar upgraded pit stop timing technology? 

 

In my opinion the magnetic egg timers aren't quite getting the job done.  Its a combination of enforcement, standardization, and some inherent flaws in the rule that necessitate a different approach to ensuring teams taking fuel are spending the requisite 5 minutes. For a sanctioning body to trust teams in a competition with timers that can be reset at will is pretty absurd.

 

Having raced at a few different tracks now (we are still a young team), I've had the following happen at pit in:

 

1 - Been asked if I was taking fuel.

2 - Not been asked if I was taking fuel.

3 - Had a timer placed on my car regardless if I was taking fuel or not.

4 - Had a timer placed on my car and started.

5 - Had a timer placed on my car and not started.

 

Pit out is always the same - I am always asked if I took fuel.

 

There should be only two reasons to stop at pit in:

 

1 - I am taking fuel and need a timer.

2 - I am checking in for a black flag.

 

Provided I am less than the pit speed limit I should be able to drive past the pit-in (wave of course) and do whatever is needed in my teams pit etc. etc..except take fuel.  It can then be a simple check by the Pit safety observer to ensure any car taking fuel has a timer on it; no timer = no fuel. 

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, AV8Driver said:

Does anyone else think its time Chumpcar upgraded pit stop timing technology? 

 

In my opinion the magnetic egg timers aren't quite getting the job done.  Its a combination of enforcement, standardization, and some inherent flaws in the rule that necessitate a different approach to ensuring teams taking fuel are spending the requisite 5 minutes. For a sanctioning body to trust teams in a competition with timers that can be reset at will is pretty absurd.

 

Having raced at a few different tracks now (we are still a young team), I've had the following happen at pit in:

 

1 - Been asked if I was taking fuel.

2 - Not been asked if I was taking fuel.

3 - Had a timer placed on my car regardless if I was taking fuel or not.

4 - Had a timer placed on my car and started.

5 - Had a timer placed on my car and not started.

 

Pit out is always the same - I am always asked if I took fuel.

 

There should be only two reasons to stop at pit in:

 

1 - I am taking fuel and need a timer.

2 - I am checking in for a black flag.

 

Provided I am less than the pit speed limit I should be able to drive past the pit-in (wave of course) and do whatever is needed in my teams pit etc. etc..except take fuel.  It can then be a simple check by the Pit safety observer to ensure any car taking fuel has a timer on it; no timer = no fuel. 

 

 

 

 

  And how many times have you worked pit in or pit out ?   If your team is seen by a marshal touching a timer you will be held at pit out .  Ever been a pit marshal ?  Also timing and scoring can tell if you pit time was short ..  Ever podiumed ?  Also your pit mates are watching ...

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8 minutes ago, okkustom said:

  And how many times have you worked pit in or pit out ?   If your team is seen by a marshal touching a timer you will be held at pit out .  Ever been a pit marshal ?  Also timing and scoring can tell if you pit time was short ..  Ever podiumed ?  Also your pit mates are watching ...

I see the points you are getting at however...

my experiences mentioned above at pit-in still occurred despite my never having been a pit marshall.  

 

Have I ever podiumed?  No.  Are you insenuating that only teams that podium are checked by timing and scoring?  Or only teams that are recogizably competetive are truly watched when it comes to this rule?  That could be understandable given the size of racing fields.

 

Does timing and scoring account for the different distances between pit-in and pit-out at different tracks?

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  Wa   ahh       5 minutes  is 5 minutes no matter how long or short pit road is ..     the people working the pits are volunteers ,  might be their first time , everyone doing the same thing at pit in ,stopping , is easier on everybody.  In 100 + car fields is the top 10 looked at closer than the 10 lap down crowd probably, but everyone is kept track of far better than I could do it ..   Ever spent any time in timing and scoring ?   

Edited by okkustom
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Yeah the same procedure is definitely less complex I agree with that.  As far as pit-in to pit-out distance...

according to the rule its five minutes from pit-in to pit-out.  The distance between the two checkpoints differs from track to track thus teams on pit-roads that are longer have less time to actually fuel if they want to pit-out right at 5 minutes.  Where-as on shorter pit roads there is more breathing room.  

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It seems relatively simple enough in theory on the enforcement end... add two loops (part of chumpcar's 'equipment', moved from race to race) at pit in and pit out (however much that costs). Very easy to then see if a pit stop was over or under 5 minutes.

But my big question now is: without timers, how would a team know whether or not they are reentering the track before, after, or right at 5 minutes? Teams would now have to have someone with a stop watch go to pit in to see exactly when their transponder crossed the line, and then be on radio communication with the driver as he's lined up in pit out to tell him exactly when to cross the pit-out line?

 

Additionally, I like that every single car stops at pit-in. Seems safer that way, gets the driver out of 'track mode' and into 'pits mode'. Probably keeps pit road speeds down a bit.

 

[we have never had a timer issue, so, while it seems... 'outdated' my personal experience does not provide good cause to change the system]

Edited by enginerd
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5 minutes ago, AV8Driver said:

The distance between the two checkpoints differs from track to track thus teams on pit-roads that are longer have less time to actually fuel if they want to pit-out right at 5 minutes.  Where-as on shorter pit roads there is more breathing room.  

I'm failing to see how this is a problem.

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Its not necessarily a problem with the system in place per say.  But what is really being watched here, pit-in/out or the fueling evolutions themselves?  Longer pit-roads will make teams want to get faster fuel in order to make 5 min.  Which kinda invalidates the safety aspects of the rule.

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I'm on the side of wha Status Quo here.  It's not perfect but it's simple. And works ok   Most teams are fueling as fast as safely possible so there is 2 or so min left to check other things on the car.    Having been a pit Marshall. It would be great fun to have someone screw with the timer.  That would break of the day with some fun radio conversation and holding at pit out or black flagging. 

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11 minutes ago, thewheelerZ said:

My biggest issue with the timers is that they dont stick to my carbon fiber hood and roof. 

There is a problem with the ability of timers to stay on the car, IMO. 

I've seen the timers fly off of cars on more than one occasion. At Road Atlanta, the timer flew off of our car when the driver left the stall. The pit marshal didn't see it sliding down pit road. We had just sent out car out, and I jumped the wall to alert them what happened. We know that if you show up at pit-out with your timer missing it'll probably be a fiasco. Thankfully, the marshal grabbed the timer and radioed to pit-out and we were good. 

IMO, they need a better method by which timers are attached or sent with cars from pit-in.

S. 

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I have the solution. Each car will have an LCD? screen on the side which will display a timer while in the pits. This timer will start from 0 when the car crosses the pit-in timing loop. Something along these lines, but with space for more characters:

 

Image result for indycar push to pass screen

 

While on track, the screen can be used to display other messages, controlled by the team's pit crew, such as " I DRIVE RIKE ASIAN WOMAN" or "VTEK YO" or even to advertise for a sponsor: "PERRIER" or "DHL" for instance.

 

All the added sponsor revenue will cover the cost of the displays and systems.

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We have had no issues with the timers.  It takes longer to change drivers than it does to fuel a car.  If not, you're probably not doing fueling as quickly as you should if you want to be at the pointy end of the race.  Trust me the teams at the pointy end are watching each other as are the marshals, not to catch them, but just  to make sure everyone is the same.  I have seen many examples of guys running neck and neck helping each other in the pits holding a fire extinguisher, doing a radio check, grabbing a tool for them. etc.  Yes it's racing, but its more than that.  If you don't see it that way maybe some ot the other series are a better fit.  Just my 2 cents. 

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21 minutes ago, enginerd said:

I have the solution. Each car will have an LCD? screen on the side which will display a timer while in the pits. This timer will start from 0 when the car crosses the pit-in timing loop. Something along these lines, but with space for more characters:

 

Image result for indycar push to pass screen

 

While on track, the screen can be used to display other messages, controlled by the team's pit crew, such as " I DRIVE RIKE ASIAN WOMAN" or "VTEK YO" or even to advertise for a sponsor: "PERRIER" or "DHL" for instance.

 

All the added sponsor revenue will cover the cost of the displays and systems.

 

 

Done: https://sewelldirect.com/vr3-digital-scrolling-message-license-plate-frame just put one on the front for the timer and one on the back for, "If you can read this you are too close".

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I've worked at pit out several times and we generally know exactly who has taken fuel and who has not except when pit row is extremely busy, like when there is a FCY about 1:45-1;50 into a stint.

 

We also have radios and talk to each other...and we can see all of pit row at most tracks. Mostly we ask when the numbers on the timers don't make sense. We also generally know when you have been in the pits for a while fixing your cars so most of us will only grab your timer and wave you through. We also know most of the "efficient" teams (at least here in the SE) and know they will get to pit out with about 10-15 seconds remaining.

 

How this: If your car is fiberglass, aluminum, duct tape, or made from unobtanium why don't you pick up a magnet at your favorite hardware store and glue it to your car. Most of us prefer them placed on the roof near the A pillar as they are easier to see when the sun is low on the horizon.

 

@enginerd's comment on getting the driver into "pit row" mentality is right on the money as far as the stop at pit in goes. It helps I'm sure.

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33 minutes ago, Snake said:

I think the issue is more the attachment of the timers than the pit timing procedure itself.  I see no issue with the procedure.    

We see very few cars at pit out without them.

My only issue is shuttling them back periodically to pit in. That can be a long walk...:P

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12 hours ago, enginerd said:

Additionally, I like that every single car stops at pit-in. Seems safer that way, gets the driver out of 'track mode' and into 'pits mode'. Probably keeps pit road speeds down a bit.

I worked pit road for another racing series at Road Atlanta that didn't require you to stop at pit-in and I don't think it's a good idea for amature racing. I saw more than one PO'd or red misted driver come around the corner of pit-in on the pro side at 60-70 mph. This eventually prompted the track to get out the radar gun...

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15 minutes ago, gr1vlet said:

I worked pit road for another racing series at Road Atlanta that didn't require you to stop at pit-in and I don't think it's a good idea for amature racing. I saw more than one PO'd or red misted driver come around the corner of pit-in on the pro side at 60-70 mph. This eventually prompted the track to get out the radar gun...

Noticed that as well from the top of the hill. I'm all in favor of the 5 minute rule we have in place. Safer all the way around IMHO.

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