Here’s why Jimmie Johnson wasn’t penalized for pitting outside his box

The 'NASCAR Race Hub' crew break down exactly why Jimmie Johnson and his team were able to service their car outside their pit box and not receive a penalty.

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- A lot of people talking Monday morning about that pit stop with about 50 laps to go, Larry.

- Yeah, it came at lap 280, under caution. They were making a routine, four-tire stop, and I have to give Chad Knaus credit because he understood the rule. I can't say the garage area did understand it. Mm Right here, you're going to see the left front tire changer working on the left front. The jack drops, which is Jimmy's sign to go. He's going to stop, because they tell him, you don't have all the lug nuts on the left front. You can see they put the lug nuts on the left front, but he's out of the pit box. That's where the question came.

Now, I've got to say, I spent the majority of my day so deep in the NASCAR rulebook, all you could see was my two little feet hanging out, and there's not a rule in there that says you can't install lug nuts outside the pit box. What the rule says, is you can't service the car outside the pit box. But there's also a rule in there that says-- and I think this is where this falls in this category-- that if you take lug nuts off of a wheel and the car is out of the pit box, as long as you install those lug nuts back and put it back in the pit box, you can go ahead and do the pit stop without a penalty. I think this falls under the category. I still say it's a gray area. A lot of the garage area did not understand it. But I think it falls under that rule right there.

- Did you write it in pencil, just in your rule book?

- I wrote it in in blood.


- To remember, next time you go in? You know, I think about this situation for Jimmy Johnson and Chad Knaus-- two people that have worked together for a very long time. If you had a young driver, how could this situation have been even worse?

- Well, obviously, I think, you know, as far as Jimmy goes, he has to go when that jack drops. That's his key to go. And he's not really paying attention to the left front. He thinks it's already on there. But I have to give hats off to Chad to really call him back in. A rookie driver might be a little bit further down the road, might not be able to hear that, might not be quite so in tune to it. But you know, Jimmy did a great job pulling it back. Chad, knowing what the rule was for him, at least as we know now, and then at the same time-- but the rookie driver might have gone a little further, might have cost him more spots on the racetrack.

- They had no idea if that was their last stop or not. Lug nuts not on that car after the race could have been a big issue.

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