Bubba Wallace’s Spotter Freddie Kraft Slams NASCAR for Punishing Crew Chief Amidst Failed Pit Stops

Published 05/04/2022, 1:21 PM EDT
Apr 24, 2022; Talladega, Alabama, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver William Byron (24) leads the field through the tai-oval during the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

This year, the racing has been pretty exciting with the introduction of the Next-Gen car. However, the NASCAR teams have been struggling to adapt to a few of the changes. To be precise, they are still struggling with the transition from changing five lug nuts to a single lug nut. As a result, they make a lot of mistakes and the drivers have to deal with loose wheels. In light of this, Bubba Wallace’s spotter, Freddie Kraft, was quite angry that the crew chiefs are getting punished for the errors.

He said, “Nowadays I think it’s ridiculous that the crew chief gets suspended. Last year, it was almost acceptable to me because the crew chief was the one making the call. Whether they were going to put three or four or five lug nuts on this pit stop. The last stop of the day was always five, but before that, I promise you, they were putting four every time.”

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“So that was the call the crew chief was making to his pit crew. I could understand that back then, if you tell the guy to hit four. He’s only getting three tight and the wheel falls off, that’s on you. Nowadays, the crew chief’s got nothing to do with it. I don’t understand how the crew chief is still getting suspended. I don’t know what the answer is.”

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What can NASCAR do to rectify the issue?

According to Kraft, he wondered whether the answer was to not suspend the crew chiefs. He alluded to Brett Griffin’s statement about further problems will arise if less experienced crew members are out there. Owing to the lack of experience, there is a risk of more wheels still falling off. Therefore, Kraft suggested that the best possible solution was to stick with fines or points penalties.

Apr 24, 2022; Talladega, Alabama, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (45) hits Bubba Wallace (23) while racing to the checkered flag behind Martin Truex Jr (19) and Ross Chastain (1) during the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

He has no doubt that the points penalties will hurt the most, as they impact the championship standings. Of course, teams are trying to see how fast they can change tires without it biting them hard.

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Dhruv George

12959 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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