Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Daytona Entry Lists Out

Presented by Frontstretch.com
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Jun. 28, 2016
Volume X, Edition CIV
What to Watch: Tuesday

- Teams are arriving back at the shops today in the Charlotte area for the swap-out.  If anything of note breaks, we'll have it for you at Frontstretch.


Tuesday's TV Schedule can be found here.
Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Entry List: Coke Zero 400

Monday, NASCAR released the official entry list for Saturday night's 400-miler in Daytona.  41 cars are entered.  BK Racing's No. 93 heads back to the sidelines this week while Front Row Motorsports has entered a third car, the No. 35, for David Gilliland. The increased car count means one of the five "non-guaranteed" entries will fail to qualify. Read more

Entry List: Subway Firecracker 250

The XFINITY Series entry list has also been released for Friday night's race at Daytona.  45 cars (as of now) will be battling for 40 starting spots although a few of the start-and-park entries are expected to withdraw.  Read more

Have news for The Frontstretch?  Don't hesitate to let us know; email us at phil.allaway@frontstretch.com with a promising lead or tip.

Today's Featured Commentary
What Tony Stewart Should Really Do Next
Sitting in the Stands: A Fan's View
by S.D. Grady

Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 offered up all the thrills, drama and fairy tale ending an avid NASCAR fan could want. Time could be spent discussing how much fun it was to watch the cars fly into the air, bang into one another, outbrake the corners and slide off course.  However, what we're all talking about is Smoke.  Tony Stewart took an ordinary kind of car and performance, added a little bit of luck and ended up with his 49th career Sprint Cup race win.   Our world of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram instantly went crazy with images of Victory Lane and the No. 14 burning up some rubber.

However, what I'm left with after the last race of the year shown on FOX is that I wish Tony Stewart would consider joining Jeff Gordon in the broadcast booth.

The DW and Larry Mac show has been grating on my nerves for about half a decade now, so I'm sure some of this reaction is due to an overdose of overenthusiastic commentary.  But when it comes down to it all, I simply don't connect with Waltrip.  I'm not sure I ever have.  As time has gone by, my perception of Jabber Jaws has diminished the more he clung to the persona provided to him by the network bigwigs at FOX.  Watching DW is like viewing a plastic, packaged comedian concocted in an animation studio. It's...painful.

When Tony Stewart takes the stage, by comparison the sheen of corporate approval is missing.  Age may have tempered this tongue over the past twenty years, but certainly not the threat of a family friendly, network-owned sponsor.  The soon-to-be-retired veteran clings to his bad boy image and is willing to throw it back at an interviewer with a big grin on his face.  He's honest.

I can believe that Tony rolls up his sleeves and gets dirty down in the garage from time to time. He is determined, sensitive, talented and fallible.  He has decided to wear humanity on his sleeve and let the world decide what to make of him.  He is comfortable in his skin, especially when things are not going exactly as planned.

Overall, he is the poster child for NASCAR as a sport.  Its history is based in the bawdy and illegal world of bootlegging. Over the decades, it has grown out of the backyards and weeds of elbow grease laden shops.  Winning has never been accomplished through finesse and soft manners.  NASCAR is now an aging sport that has been trying to shed its blue collar image and, in doing so, is losing its unique audience.

Now, picture a race where clean cut Jeff Gordon and a slightly rumpled Tony Stewart sat down together and just chatted racing while the laps ticked down at Charlotte.  Throw out the fancy graphics, carefully timed sponsor shout outs and just let them react to the action on track. OK, we'll let Mike Joy stick around.  And we'll provide the booth with a fair share of adult beverages.

NASCAR Nation would be the lucky recipient of listening to a pair of old frenemies picking apart the competition in a knowledgeable, pertinent and relatable manner, all while the viewers laughed on their couches.

That is what the Waltrip and McReynolds show was intended to be when FOX rolled out their NASCAR coverage years ago.  However, the rust and uncertainty was polished off the pair over the years leaving us with a brand only a suit hiding in a glass tower could concoct.

It's time to bring the broadcast back to its roots, one where the enjoyment of racing trumps the ad schedule and some paranoid perception of what the unobtainable demographic really wants to see in a retired personality.   Since Tony Stewart has built his reputation on ignoring what the establishment wants or approves of? He is perfect for the job.


There was a NASCAR race at Gateway Saturday night and a hockey game broke out between John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher.  I selected this particular video because the background reaction of the individual recording the race perfectly reflects my own.  I'm sure NASCAR will hand down the fines with a huge grin on their face.

S.D. Grady is a Senior Writer for Frontstretch and runs a NASCAR blog called the S-Curves. She can be reached via email at sonya.grady@frontstretch.com. Follow her on Twitter at @laregna and on her Facebook page (she's an author, too!) at https://www.facebook.com/Author.SDGrady.

Numbers Game: Toyota/Save Mart 350k
by Tom Bowles

Drivers who spun out during the full 110-lap distance at Sonoma. It's the first time in NASCAR history on the road course that's happened over the full course of an event.

Laps led by Joey Logano Sunday, the first time since Richmond in the spring he hasn't been out front for at least one lap.

Driver in the top 11 of Sprint Cup Series points who hasn't won yet this season: rookie Chase Elliott.

Average starting position for AJ Allmendinger in the last three years at Sonoma. 

Laps led by AJ Allmendinger in the last three years at Sonoma.

Average finish by AJ Allmendinger in the last three years at Sonoma.

Years since a Chevy last visited Victory Lane at Sonoma (Tony Stewart did it Sunday). Jimmie Johnson last accomplished the feat in 2010.

Finishing position of Kyle Busch at Sonoma ending a streak of four races run of 30th or worse.

Points between Stewart, 32nd in the Cup standings and 30th-place Brian Scott. Stewart would be eligible to make the Chase if he slipped inside the top 30 in points.

Lead changes Sunday at Sonoma. That's tied for the most in track history for a NASCAR Cup race. 

Races run in the Cup Series between Stewart's last win (Dover - June 2013) and Sunday's triumph at Sonoma. Stewart's personal winless streak stood at 84 Cup starts (he'd missed several races during that time due to injury and other off-track issues).

Tom Bowles is the Editor-in-Chief of Frontstretch.  He can be reached via e-mail at tbowles81@yahoo.com.


by Danny Peters

Beside the Rising Tide: Brian France's Flying Circus
by Matt McLaughlin

by Jeff Wolfe


Q: In ESPN's first flag-to-flag broadcast from Daytona in 1989, Lake Speed had a huge crash on the backstretch late in the race.  What happened?

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

Monday's Answer:

Q:  Despite the growing popularity of NASCAR, the now-Coke Zero 400 was one of the last races on the Cup schedule to get a live, flag-to-flag broadcast on TV (the first one was held in 1990 on ESPN).  Why did Daytona lag behind the other races?

A: This quirk was for two reasons.  For the longest time, NASCAR insisted that the race run on July 4, regardless of the day of the week.  It's a little hard to get any network to commit to airing a day race on a Tuesday. 

Second, the race traditionally started at 10 a.m.  This structure was designed so that the race would be over by roughly 12:30 p.m. and everyone could be at the beach by mid-afternoon.  It also avoided the typical mid-afternoon thunderstorms that plague Daytona.  As a result, the race aired on ABC in highlighted form through 1988 before moving to ESPN for 1989.  The 1989 broadcast on ESPN was flag-to-flag, but it did not air live.  1990 saw the start time moved back to 11 a.m. and the first live broadcast of the event.
In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have more NASCAR news to report.  Meanwhile, Mark Howell returns with the Professor of Speed column.

On Frontstretch.com:
NASCAR experts from around the country weigh in on future stars of the Sprint Cup Series in The 10.
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
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