Dale Earnhardt Jr. explains his rash of speeding penalties on pit road
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been caught speeding on pit road a series-high seven times this season after his penalty last weekend at Pocono Raceway.
Earnhardt, who went on to finish 12th at Pocono, explained on the Dale Jr. Download podcast what happened on pit road.
“This year we’ve had more speeding penalties,’’ he said. “Let’s try to explain that. You have these dots, these lights on the dash. They start out as green lights. You light up one, two, three, four green lights … then there are two yellows that will come on. Two yellows are what I should be running for the pit speed. I don’t have a speedometer in the car. I don’t really have a tachometer really. It’s just this light bar. Two yellow (lights) should get me down pit road. If I go above those two yellows, there will be red lights. If I see those, I’m going too fast.
“We can set this light bar, we can space these lights apart by 100 RPMs, 50 RPMs, 25 RPMs. So if you set them really close together, it lights up really fast.
“So this year, what we’ve done to be more competitive on pit road is to really close those gaps between those lights, to get really aggressive. When I get it right, we run within two-tenths of a mile an hour under the speed limit, but it does present you the opportunity to get busted a lot more often.
“Again, this RPM bar is only going off the RPMs of the motor. It has noting to do with rolling speed. It is not measuring any speed of the wheel. So the RPMs can be bouncing around and the car can chug and all sorts of funky stuff going down pit road and give you all kinds of a crazy light show on the dash.
“So think about it like this too, coming down pit road you have the air pressure in the tires up because you’ve been running laps and the tires have built up air pressures. It’s much easier to control the pit road speed with the high air pressure. So you come in and change tires and you put on tires that are really, really low on air pressure and it’s really hard to control the speed leaving the pits with that low air pressure. That’s when the car wants to buck and chug and lug and bounce because of the air pressure in the tire.’’
MOST PIT ROAD SPEEDING PENALTIES THIS SEASON
7 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6 - Trevor Bayne
5 - Kyle Busch
5 - Michael McDowell
5 - Reed Sorenson
4 - Timmy Hill
4 - Matt Kenseth
4 - Joey Logano
3 - Matt DiBenedetto
3 - Austin Dillon
3 - Denny Hamlin
3 - Kasey Kahne
3 - Corey LaJoie
3 - Darrell Wallace Jr.
3 - Cole Whitt