Fast tire changes are great but the key is .....no flats and no problems run a clean race. You just do not hear the class winner say well we got 3 flats and bent a driveshaft ect. Top 3 cars or trucks normally run flat free no issues. Used to be you could run a safe pace and save equipment and get good results. Not anymore you have to push it to the limit run a clean race with no flats to get a top 3. One flat no matter how fast! you can go from the lead car to 10th place. It's just that competitive now.
I agree with you except the reason the top finishers are not having issues like that is because they qualify way better than we did. Once you qualify 16th you have no choice but to make passes to have a chance. So you get in risky situations.
I would love to be able to just stick with the guy in front of me and not have to pass them. When you start behind slower guys you have no choice but to push harder. At least that was my strategy at the last race. We planned to push and pass at least two trucks.
But yes you need a clean day to get on the box with over 20 racers in your class.