Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: The House Gets a Little More Crowded at RCR

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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on tDhe Net!
Jun. 9, 2016
Volume X, Edition XCI
What to Watch: Thursday
- Today, Camping World Truck Series teams are due to take to the track at Texas Motor Speedway for three practice sessions ahead of tomorrow night's Rattlesnake 400k.  None of the sessions will be televised, but we will have a recap of the sessions at Frontstretch.
- Also, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has two practice sessions scheduled for tomorrow's Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway.  They will also not be televised.  Meanwhile, the ARCA race from Salem in April will be shown on ASN at 7 p.m.  If you can't get the race on TV, there will be a free livestream at

Thursday's TV Schedule can be found here.

Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

AJ Allmendinger, Ben Kennedy Among 4 Added to Richard Childress Racing's XFINITY Roster

On Wednesday, Richard Childress Racing announced four new drivers that will join the lineup of RCR's No. 2 in the XFINITY Series.  Joining Austin Dillon and Paul Menard will be AJ Allmendinger, Ben Kennedy, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Michael McDowell.  Read more

Have news for the Frontstretch? Don't hesitate to let us know; email us at with a promising lead or tip.

Editor's Note: Potts' Shots will return next week.
The Critic's Annex: Le Mans Broadcast Information/General Tire #AnythingisPossible 200
by Phil Allaway
Welcome back, fans.  Today, we're going to talk first about FOX Sports' coverage of the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans, and then cover Friday's General Tire #AnythingIsPossible 200 from Pocono Raceway.
Le Mans TV Info
Before we start with this week's critique, FOX Sports announced their coverage schedule for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will begin on June 18, on Monday.  They will air 25 hours of live coverage from Le Mans, half of which will be on FOX Sports 1.  The FOX Sports 1 coverage begins with the start of the race at 8:30 a.m. and will run to 2 p.m.  At that point, the race moves to FOX Sports 2 until 4:30 p.m.  The coverage then alternates between being exclusive to FOX Sports GO and airing on FOX Sports 2 in between Camping World Truck and XFINITY Series qualifying sessions from Iowa Speedway. 
A three-hour stretch from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. will be exclusive to FOX Sports GO (FOX Sports 1 has the Camping World Truck Series race from Iowa, while FOX Sports 2 has the preliminaries to a UFC Fight Night card).  This coincides with the middle of the night at Le Mans (1:30 - 4:30 a.m. local time), so footage will be somewhat minimal as only a few cameramen work through the night.  Expect mainly onboard footage during that time, in addition to pit stop coverage. 
At 10:30 p.m., TV coverage of the race resumes on FOX Sports 2 while FOX Sports 1 shows the actual UFC Fight Night card.  The coverage moves back to FOX Sports 1 at 2:30 a.m., which is right about the time that the full compliment of cameramen are back at their posts.  From there, the race is live to the finish, plus some post-race coverage.
FOX Sports will have nine on-air personalities on tap.  One commentary is Bob Varsha, Calvin Fish (regulars for the network's WEC coverage) and Tommy Kendall, while the other is Brian Till, Jamie Howe (normally of FOX Sports' NHRA coverage, but with plenty of sports car experience) and Scott Pruett (still raring to go with the factory Lexus later this year).  Justin Bell and Andrew Marriott will be in the pits, while Sam Posey will be the "essayist," tasked with voicing over montages and "additional pieces throughout the weekend."  I'm not exactly sure what that will amount to, but it should be interesting.  Finally, A.J. Baime (author of the book Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, a book about the Ferrari-Ford rivalry at Le Mans in the 1960's which I definitely recommend) will be on hand to talk about the 50th anniversary of Ford's overall victory at Le Mans with the Ford GT40.
Based on FOX Sports' press release, they are substantially increasing the amount of the race on TV.  Last year, more than half the race was exclusive to FOX Sports GO.  This year, it's only five hours, all of which is at night.  With no Cup race that weekend this year, FOX Sports 1 has more room on their schedule.  Should be good to watch.  Hopefully, nothing bad happens.  When things go wrong at the Circuit de la Sarthe, they go really wrong. 
We will not be at Le Mans.  I do not currently have a passport, couldn't get the time off of work (June is a very busy time of the year for me) and the costs would be astronomical.  Oh well, we can always dream.  One of these days, I'll go to Le Mans and have the time of my life. 
Until then, we have the TV and we have Twitter.  I will be doing some Le Mans live-tweeting from home on my personal Twitter (@Critic84) and you're more than welcome to chime in.  I think I'll rope Aaron Bearden (@AaronBearden93) in for some discussion as well.  I will also post recaps of qualifying and the race on Frontstretch.  By all indications, it should be a good race, but attrition will likely play a big role (especially in the P1 class).
General Tire #AnythingIsPossible 200
Last weekend was fairly busy with three races in Pocono and three more at Belle Isle Park.  With the XFINITY Series now racing at Pocono, the ARCA Racing Series once again was forced to race on Friday afternoon after Cup qualifying.  I feel like this is happening way too often.  Also, quit with the hashtags in the official race title.  It's ridiculous.
Pre-race coverage was a little short.  Not much in the way of driver interviews, but we did get a mini-profile of current points leader Chase Briscoe.  Here, Briscoe talked about his Sprint car background and just how much of an adjustment it is for him to drive a 3400 pound race car for up to 200 miles.
The race itself was action-packed.  FOX Sports 1 had a couple of big stories to cover.  One was the return of Austin Cindric to the series.  Last year, Cindric ran in a couple of ARCA races in an AutoZone-sponsored Ford and impressed.  Earlier this year, Cindric won the K&N Pro Series East Biscuitville 125 at Virginia International Raceway, his first victory in a touring stock car series.  That series uses similar equipment to what ARCA has these days.
Another was the superspeedway debut for the Five-Star bodies.  ARCA held a couple of open test sessions at Michigan and Pocono to test the feasibility of the bodies to withstand speeds upwards of 200 mph.  It seems that they passed with flying colors.  It's good to see the new skins at Pocono.  Some teams, most notably Cunningham Motorsports, do have some work to do in order to make it work right, though.  Briscoe had a lot of flex in his windshield during the race.  I'm not an expert on aerodynamics, but I'm pretty sure having a dent in your windshield at speed because you didn't brace it correctly isn't going to help you much.  Ray Dunlap and Phil Parsons made reference to this multiple times on the broadcast.
If there's one thing that I can take away from the race, it is that the ARCA drivers have no compunctions about racing side-by-side where you probably shouldn't be doing it.  There were multiple instances of drivers going side-by-side through the Tunnel Turn and plenty of aggressive driving that kept the broadcast booth busy.  However, there was only one instance of actual contact and that was when Will Kimmel crashed due to contact from Brady Boswell.  We couldn't see the actual contact, but it looked pretty obvious that the bump was made.
The action that we did get on-track was not that bad.  A lot of it was at the very front of the field, but we did get additional battles.  It was enough that I didn't feel starved for action, which can happen every now and then, especially during the XFINITY Series broadcasts.

Post-race coverage was relatively brief.  Viewers saw interviews with the top 2 finishers (Grant Enfinger and Cindric) and a check of the unofficial results before the broadcast came to an end.
Overall, I thought that FOX Sports did a pretty decent job on Friday.  They covered their pre-determined stories (noted above) and the stories that developed throughout the race (fuel strategy, mainly) quite well.  I was fairly happy with what I saw.  Can't do much about the fact that only ten cars finished on the lead lap, but that happens when the top guys are that much faster and you have multiple pit strategies at play.
That's all for this week.  Hope you enjoy this week's action in Michigan, Montreal and Texas.  It's sure to provide plenty of action.
Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for  He can be reached via e-mail at

"In some ways, if I'm constantly involved and focused on specifically opinions and these things that aren't going to make me faster, it feels like I'd spend too much time on it.

Put it this way: When Brad (Keselowski) first went on the scene with Twitter, my brother he said, 'You have to check this out. This is really cool.' I took his phone and I was immersed in it. I handed him his phone, and an hour had passed. I was like there's so much stuff going on. If I get involved in this, it's all I'll do every week. I just try to stay out of it. I do my own thing."  - Carl Edwards, on why he's not on Twitter.

by P. Huston Ladner
by Sean Fesko and Michael Finley
by Bryan Gable
by Jeff Wolfe


by Beth Lunkenheimer
by Toni Montgomery
Q: Quirky things can happen from time to time at the racetrack.  For dirt late model racer Josh Richards, such a thing happened in the 2012 Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan.  What was it?

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

Wednesday's Answer:

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?

A: Gordon spun on lap 71 in turn 3, a very popular place for incidents that weekend due to new pavement that was coming up.  When Gordon spun, he clipped Rick Mast, who also spun.  Gordon went up and broadsided the wall with the passenger side.  Derrike Cope was also involved. The crash can be seen here.
In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll preview the upcoming weekend for the Sprint Cup Series at Michigan.

Zach Catanzareti answers Four Burning Questions heading into this weekend's action in Michigan
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
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