Racing, as a high-stakes and competitive sport, is ultimately about winning. Who takes pole position and who takes the trophy home is not determined by the driver’s skill, but by the precision and coordination of the pit crew under pressure.

Their role is one that ensures the working order of the vehicle and its ability to make it across the finish line. When a hundred miles or more is covered in half as many laps and where every tenth of a second counts, any delay could be the difference between first, fourth or fifteenth place.

nascar-stopwatchDepending upon the length of the track and the race-day conditions, a NASCAR driver can be expected to make anywhere from five to 12 pit stops. Fuel tanks are refilled, metalwork is bent back into place and tires are balanced or replaced. For all of this to be feasible, the pit crew needs to complete the service in 12 seconds or less.

Such stellar track times might have been unimaginable just 20 years ago, but recent technological breakthroughs have allowed the practice to evolve and advance the pace. Now, the tools used to accomplish these incredible feats are every bit as efficient as the people who wield them.

In truth, pit lanes were never added to the track as a necessary extension of the circuit. NASCAR grew up around them, and they’re part of what makes America’s top spectator sport such a thrill to watch.