Denny Hamlin says that if NASCAR continues to require teams to use standardized pit guns, "it's going to cost somebody a race or the championship by the end of the year.''
Hamlin is the latest driver to express his frustration with the pit guns all teams are required to use after he suffered a loose wheel and had to pit from the lead on Lap 266 of Monday's Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He finished 14th, one lap down.
Hamlin was upset with the inconsistency of the pit gun, an issue others have expressed this season. Hamlin told NBC Sports that the team's pit guns were at 12,000 RPMs on previous stops but at 8,000 RPMs on the stop where he had a loose wheel. Less RPMs can make it more likely that not all the lug nuts are tight and result in a loose wheel.
"It's just inconsistencies,'' Hamlin told NBC Sports after the race. "My frustration is that in absolutely no other professional sport does the league give you faulty equipment to play with and that's what we have here.''
A NASCAR spokesperson said the sanctioning body had no comment.
Car owner Joe Gibbs wasn't quite ready to offer to build pit guns for every team Monday but shared Hamlin's concerns for what is taking place on pit road.
"We had two loose wheels today that put us down multiple laps,'' Gibbs said, referring to Hamlin and Erik Jones. "For our sponsors and everybody, I'm calling trying to explain it and it's hard to explain.
"We all work together. Our teams. NASCAR has been very good about working with us, and when we come up with a problem, we've been good at working hard to solve it.
"I think we have a number of meetings this week with NASCAR, and I think we'll be working on this and hopefully work toward a solution. I think it would be hard for us to build the guns for everybody, that would be tough, but I think we need to come up with a solution for sure.''
--- NBC Sports ---