Wednesday, April 25, 2018

NASCAR will start requiring teams to use nitrogen in the NASCAR-issued pit guns starting this weekend at Talladega.

The air wrenches are designed to be driven by nitrogen, but there were a few teams using gases other than nitrogen, likely looking to gain an advantage. Bob Pockrass, NASCAR

How can using a different compressed  gas, like CO2, or even compressed air (regular atmosphere) change the results of how an impact gun tightens or loosens a lug nut?

Isn't the pressure the deciding factor? Not the atomic structure of the gas under pressure? Like, how could Argon do the job any different than Nitrogen?

Reading the article about it it seems that most of the issue is really about the high tech guns that the best funded teams have been using, which get the job done faster... and Nascar decided that had to stop, now they all get the same impact guns, which may not be working if the last guys to use them, from whatever team had them issued, dropped them a lot.

Figure, if they damage an impact gun, it most likely will mean their competition has to deal with a broken impact, not them.

David Ragan, of the smaller Front Row Motorsports, believes the pit gun mandate has enabled his team to better compete with the higher-funded teams like Joe Gibbs Racing.

"Last year, there was no chance we could average in the top-10 or 12 in pit stops over a weekend, because our equipment was inferior compared to the Joe Gibbs Racing teams, maybe the Penske teams and Hendrick Motorsports teams, because they had special components, parts, and pieces in their air guns and maybe even jacks that allowed them to do it faster and more efficiently,” Ragan said in an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.


  1. Anonymous10:47 AM

    With the advent of the Ingersoll Rand "Thunder Guns" that crank out 1000ftlbs of torque at 15,000 rpm nitrogen has been the standard for Nascar impact wrenches. It is because nitrogen is not a dense and allows pressures can be run higher than standard air compressors can put out. Nitrogen is completely dry, so guns and jacks work more consistently, giving closer torque tolerances, and nitrogen doesn't expand & contract in the tires with heat like 'air' does.
    There are also contaminants in 'air' you won't find in bottled nitrogen. The drawback is that it takes much more nitrogen to do the same job as 'air', simply because nitrogen isn't as dense as common 'air." The average Nascar impact gun set up for nitrogen is about $1,900, and nitrogen is much harder on the internal components of the impact gun simply because you can't lubricate (contaminate) the inside of a nitrogen air gun, so maintenance is critical.
    CO2 works similarly to Nitrogen, just as clean, but much cheaper.

    1. the dry part I was familiar with, the pros and cons of using it in tires too... thanks for the rest, it's damn nice to get someone else's view of something technical. I don't know squat about the impact guns

    2. Anonymous10:44 AM

      You're welcome.