AVONDALE, Ariz. – Now that qualifying is complete for the 2023 NASCAR Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway, pit selection will be crucial.
According to pit crew expert, recruiter and coach Dion “Rocko” Williams there is an art to pit stall selection for the greatest chances to win.
“Pit stall selection can make or break a race and will help the crew chiefs out
there, suggest where they should pick. If you win the pole, pick one. You should take pit box one. If you pick second, take box number six. If you pick third, take box 10 or the bully box. And if you pick fourth take box 16. Those are the boxes with the highest average finishing rate on Phoenix Raceway” he said.
This weekend the Championship 4 are the first to make their selections with the top qualifier likely vying for the first pit stall.
Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Ford, hoping to secure back-to-back Championship wins for Team Penske, qualified 15th and said “It’s always nice to be in stall one, and that was the goal today. The four of us are trying to get that stall. That’s an advantage, especially if you have some late-race restarts.”
“Where the box is compared to the timing line is pretty short. It’s not the shortest one, it’s not Charlotte short, but it’s still not a lot of room so you don’t have to get up to speed. So yeah, it’s an advantage - that’s the positive thing about being good on Saturdays. If you qualify good, you get rewarded with a pit stall. It’s like doubling down every time you’re losing in blackjack, it’s got to eventually turn. Hopefully for us tomorrow it’s not a fourth in a row.”
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Team Hendrick and the only driver of the four looking to grab his second Championship trophy, qualified fourth and said “I wish I would’ve got the pole. This was a little bit off of William [Byron] there, I think honestly I just qualified a little better in the first round. I think what I did in the second round would’ve caught him off guard, maybe a little bit sooner than it did, and I’d have beat him and then got the first pit stall selection. Yeah, just have to execute every chance you get, and I just didn’t execute quite good enough.”
William Byron, the Cup Series race winner from the spring, chose pit stall one since qualifying on the pole with a 27.150 lap time and top speed of 132.597 mph.
Byron: Stall 1
Larson: Stall 6
Bell: Stall 33
Blaney: Stall 38