Pit Carts of NASCAR
NASCAR’s ‘Speedweeks’ is in full swing once again; with the CLASH kicking off side-by-side racing action at Daytona in headline-busting fashion. Among the usual noise, speed, glitz, and glamour that comes along with The Great American Race, happenings behind pit wall aren’t going unnoticed. In the past quarter-century, the humble pit cart has largely gone unnoticed in the eyes of the general viewing audience of major motorsports sanctions such as NASCAR, among others. Indeed, pit carts have evolved over the years to resemble something like a mobile headquarters, as opposed to simply a big toolbox.
In general, NASCAR teams utilize two main pit boxes at the racetrack; one located in the garage, and one deployed on pit lane. The ‘garage pit box’ much more closely resembles something found in the service bay of your local master mechanic, however, it’s packed with technology designed to display race data on built-in TV screens, provide electrical distribution, and even a worktop with specialized compartments to accommodate aerosols, lubrication products, and much more. CTech’s Garage Box, aptly named, has provided a turn-key garage pit box solution for some of the industry’s top competitors, such as Team Penske, Richard Childress Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Stewart – Haas Racing, and many more. The Garage Box is designed to simply roll off the transporter and go to work with minimal setup.
Pit carts found along pit lane are decidedly larger and more complex than those found in the garage, and for good measure. With all the efforts of competing in a NASCAR race culminating at the drop of the green flag, carts behind pit wall must support “all hands on deck” and more. Even if pit lane is closed, it’s a very busy place. Engineers are crunching numbers and adjusting race strategies, crewmembers are preparing tires, fuel, and equipment for upcoming pit stops, media is swarming, and sponsors and other special guests are looking over the entire operation. If you’re going to have a pit cart behind the wall at a time like that, it has to serve all of those purposes.
The original ULTRA Cart, developed by CTech in the early 2000’s, was the first pit cart of its kind to incorporate an expandable observation deck. With the addition of dedicated workspace for engineers, crew chiefs, and owners, pit carts completed a fundamental leap in evolution. Additional sponsorship representation was also made available to track-facing panels of the cart. Just like that, pit carts were no longer monstrous toolboxes, but well-equipped workstations packed with technology. As the years went on, more technology was packed into the cart chassis, and the use of pit carts as a marketing platform became ever more important.
As the business of motorsport has evolved, pit carts have become larger and more complex than anyone could have imagined, and for good measure. With the age of information transforming racing itself, pit carts are now responsible for not only storing tools and equipment, but also to:
· Support a growing team of engineers AND their data
· Provide hospitality to special guests, owners, and sponsors
· Boost promotional space
· Distribute liquid, electrical, networking, and pneumatic systems
Indeed, the ‘team’ aspect of racing is more important than ever and having the right equipment to manage those physical and digital assets on pit lane is the difference between finishing in the front of the pack and finishing at the back. CTech’s original ULTRA Cart, the first pit cart with an expandable observation deck, sparked a revolution in pit lane storage. Now, the ULTRA Cart Dual-Deck is here to revolutionize and re-imagine pit lane once again. The single largest, most complex pit cart ever constructed is making its stock car racing debut at the hands of Premium Motorsports; who’s intending to embark on a strong Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series campaign with driver Ross Chastain.
The new ULTRA Cart Dual-Deck (UCDD) makes several fundamental improvements to the original ULTRA Cart design; the first and most obvious is the addition of a second expandable deck. This allows for more engineer workspaces, and more hospitality space for visiting sponsors and guests. More promotional space is also made available across the front of the cart, thanks to easily interchangeable display panels that are attached to the front railing. The second and less obvious design tweak is the orientation of the cart. All pit carts to date have been positioned parallel to the pit wall. The UCDD chassis has been spun 90-degrees to sit perpendicular to pit lane. This has been done for two main reasons:
· To provide clearer, faster, and safer access between the rear of the pit box and pit wall, and vice-versa, for crewmembers
· To facilitate space for the additional deck
Mounted on the lower level of the UCDD chassis is a wider array of monitors and TV screens, expanded worktop areas, and more storage than ever before. On previous ULTRA carts, a portion of the cart’s body was inevitably reserved for workstation space. With the new design, the observation deck doesn’t utilize any prospective storage space in the chassis. This new pit cart isn’t just a revision of the original ULTRA cart, it’s a re-imagination of pit lane. It cements the notion that pit carts aren’t just big toolboxes anymore, but well-equipped mobile headquarters. IMSA has already seen this exciting new cart in action, now it’s NASCAR’s turn! Be on the lookout during this weekend’s Daytona events, you wont be able to miss the new cart on pit lane!