Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Another NASCAR Cup Crew Chief Suspended For Lug Nuts

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Jun. 8, 2016
Volume X, Edition IC
What to Watch: Wednesday

- With the penalty report released, there is not a lot more that is expected to break.  However, if anything does, we'll have it for you.


Wednesday's TV Schedule can be found here.

Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Kyle Larson's Crew Chief Suspended for Lug Nut Violation
NASCAR released the weekly Penalty Report on Wednesday.  The most serious violation surrounded Kyle Larson's car, which was found to have loose lug nuts after Monday's Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400.  As a result, crew chief Chad Johnston has been fined $20,000 and suspended for this weekend's FireKeepers Casino 400.  A number of other teams copped warnings as well; it's notable NASCAR followed through and issued no additional penalties on Brad Keselowski's No. 2 Ford after the team was hit with illegal body modifications during the race at Pocono.  Read more
NASCAR Shuffles XFINITY Chase Race Start Times
Wednesday morning, NASCAR announced two start and channel changes for the XFINITY Series.  Kansas will now start at 3 p.m. ET and air on NBC while Phoenix, this November will start at 7:30 p.m. and air on NBCSN.  The move was likely made as the 7:30 p.m. start time for the XFINITY Series would intrude on NBC's primetime lineup.  Read more
Jorge de la Torre Released from Hartford Hospital
Aston Martin Racing announced that Jorge de la Torre has been released from Hartford Hospital after suffering multiple injuries in a crash at Lime Rock Park on May 28.  He will now begin rehabilitation in his native Texas.  Read more

Have news for The Frontstretch? Don't hesitate to let us know; email us at with a promising lead or tip.
Today's Featured Commentary
Swimming in Denial
Professor of Speed
by Mark Howell
I used to be in serious denial.

When the critics roared, I ignored.

Even after living the experience firsthand, I refused to acknowledge the wisdom of experts and pundits.

I even addressed the issue right here on this very website….

Sprint Cup events at Pocono Raceway needed to be 500 miles in length.

I had very few supporters. Most who voiced their position on the debate argued that 200 laps around the 2.5-mile "Tricky Triangle" were about forty too many. Whatever needed to be decided at Pocono could be handled in 400 miles.

Given that Pocono Raceway was built on what used to be a spinach farm, maybe an aversion to the place was natural.

It seemed like only Popeye, the Mattioli family, and I believed that longer races in Long Pond were good for the sport.

Running 500 miles at Pocono made sense when USAC Champ Cars campaigned there in what used to be known as the Schaefer 500. The races back in those days made up one-third of USAC's "Triple Crown", the other two events being the Indianapolis 500 and the California 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway. Mark Donohue won the first race in 1971 and Pocono began its ascent into motorsports lore.

NASCAR didn't make it to Pocono until 1974, when Richard Petty won a 500-miler at the track on August 4th. As stock car racing grew in popularity, so did the attention given to Long Pond. Battles between "King Richard" and David Pearson captured newspaper headlines, as did the later struggles and triumphs of such famed drivers like Bobby Allison, Tim Richmond, Bill Elliott, and Dale Earnhardt.

But then... reality set in. By 1989, CART was frustrated with the condition of the track surface and IndyCar would not compete at Pocono again until 2013. Next, in 2012, both Sprint Cup races at the track were cut to 400 miles. Teams and fans alike felt that the events were simply too long to suffer through.

Hence the unwritten motto of Pocono Raceway: "Do I have to?" Back when I was traveling with the Cup Series, race teams complained because Pocono lacked convenient lodging and airport access. If teams were able, they could use a small airport near Mt. Pocono, where there were some hotels available nearby. Most folks, on the other hand, found themselves schlepping up-and-down Rt. 115 to find chain hotels in Wilkes-Barre. The region's largest airport was located in Avoca, several miles to the north.

As such, Pocono was the event media members were most likely to skip. People I knew at various racing publications would use Pocono weekends for their vacation, as in "go to the beach" instead of "go to the track". And crews seemed to feel the same way, especially if your car was struggling and reduced to merely making laps. The decision to lop forty laps from Cup races at Pocono seemed to be celebrated by all.

Except me, even though I'd sat through long events as a kid and worked through long events with race teams.

But then I followed the events at Pocono on Monday afternoon. While listening to the MRN broadcast while doing chores around the house, I found myself stopping to get my bearings from time-to-time, especially as teams gambled on pit strategies and cars found their way into the Turn 1 wall. Chase Elliott seemed poised to score his first career Cup win until cagey veterans like Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got the better of him on late-race restarts. There was also the tenacity of Team Penske as both Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano overcame early problems (and penalties) to finish inside the top 5.

Finally, there was the fuel mileage dilemma. At nowhere but Pocono can almost the entire field turn laps by coasting partway around the track. Monday's running of the Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 displayed shades of Indy as saving gas meant saving the win. By the end of the event, as Kurt Busch took the checkered flag and raced his way into the 2016 Chase, I felt exhausted even though I did nothing but listen to the race and hear events unfold. Boredom was never an issue.

After Monday's race, I now understand the comments of the critics all those years ago. Sprint Cup races at Pocono needed to be shortened to 400-mile distances.

My nerves simply couldn't handle any more than that….

Dr. Mark Howell is a Senior Writer for Frontstretch.  He can be reached via e-mail at

by Joseph Wolkin

by Amy Henderson
by Aaron Bearden
as told to Joseph Wolkin


Q:  In 1994, the Kranefuss/Haas team made their Winston Cup debut at Michigan with Robby Gordon driving their No. 07 Ford.  Gordon ran OK in the race, but eventually fell victim to bad luck.  What put him out?

Check back Thursday for the answer, here in the Frontstretch Newsletter!

Tuesday's Answer:

Q:  The 1989 Miller High Life 400 at Michigan International Speedway was a very tough race for ARCA veteran Bill Venturini.  What happened to put the owner/driver out for the day and in serious pain?

A: Venturini, who was making his Winston Cup debut, spun and hit the wall hard in turn 2.  During the crash, Venturini broke a vertebrae in his spine.  Those injuries put the 1987 ARCA Permatex Super Car Series Champion out for the remainder of the season.
In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have any news that breaks in the world of NASCAR.  In addition, we'll have a look at FOX Sports 1's coverage of the General Tire #AnythingisPossible 200 from Friday at Pocono.

Toni Montgomery returns with her weekly look at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Nitro Shots.
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
Got something to say about an article you've seen in the newsletter? It's as easy as replying directly to this message or sending an email to We'll take the best comments and publish them here!

Feel free to forward this newsletter if you have any friends who loves
NASCAR and great NASCAR commentary. They can subscribe to the Frontstetch by visiting
If you want to stop your Frontstretch Newsletter subscription, we're sorry
to see you go. Just send an email to from the address that you
recieve the Frontstretch Newsletter.

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Frontstretch" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
For more options, visit

No comments:

Post a Comment