Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Matt Tifft Out with Back Issues

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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Jun. 15, 2016
Volume X, Edition XCV
What to Watch: Wednesday

- Today is the day that NASCAR releases the weekly Penalty Report.  We will have a full wrap-up of who got warned and who gets a graded penalty on Frontstretch.  Expect to see some kind of consequences handed to Kyle Larson's team since the No. 42 flunked post-race laser inspection on Sunday.
- In France, today is the first day of on-track activity at the Circuit de la Sarthe ahead of Saturday's 24 Hours of Le Mans.  There is a practice session going on right now and the first of three qualifying sessions is scheduled for tonight at 10 p.m. local time (4 p.m. EDT).


Wednesday's TV Schedule can be found here.

Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Matt Tifft Sidelined with Back Injury, Sam Hornish to Sub

Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday that Matt Tifft has suffered a disc injury in his back.  As a result, Tifft will be out of the drivers' seat indefinitely.  Sam Hornish, Jr. will sub in the No. 18 this weekend at Iowa.  Read more

Cole Custer, Johnny Sauter Swap Crew Chiefs

In the Camping World Truck Series, Marcus Richmond and Joe Shear, Jr. have effectively switched jobs.  Richmond is now Custer's crew chief, while Shear is once again Sauter's head wrench.  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
Fathers and Sons
Professor of Speed
by Mark Howell
Bloodlines run deep throughout NASCAR Nation. The legacies passed from generation-to-generation by fathers through their sons are nothing short of legendary.

In the beginning, there was Bill France, Sr. and Bill France, Jr. That lineage was followed from Bill Jr. to his son Brian.

From there, the family ties comprising NASCAR simply extend across generations.

Ralph Earnhardt gave us Dale Earnhardt, who gave us Kerry, who gave us Jeffrey. And don't forget to add Dale Jr. to the family's competitive roster….

Such NASCAR royalty is famous, especially when you consider the line running from Lee Petty to his sons Maurice and "King" Richard. From Richard, we get Kyle, and from Kyle, we received Adam.

The bloodlines simply continue to grow and amaze us. Bill Elliott's son is locked in an epic struggle with Dave Blaney's son for this year's Rookie-of-the-Year honors in the Sprint Cup Series. Bobby Allison's son, Davey, earned that title back in 1987. Maybe someday we'll see Davey's son, Robbie, presented with the same award.

From Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett to Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett, we've watched with pride as famous families in NASCAR have built on the accomplishments of previous generations. It's often been said that NASCAR itself is like one big family, a traveling thrill show where everyone lives and works as one. And that, to some extent, is true.

What's more accurate is the idea that NASCAR is so tightly woven across generations of fathers and sons because such is the nature of the business. Rarely do we see a young driver enter the sport without some prior familial connection.

In motorsports, and especially in NASCAR, acculturation means just as much as acceleration.

The same idea can be applied to fans, as well. If a father follows NASCAR closely, the odds are good that his son will do so, too. This trait explains my own induction into the sport. My father has been a dedicated NASCAR fan for almost as long as there's been a NASCAR. His idea of a wonderful date in 1953 was to take his newly-wedded wife (and my soon-to-be-mother) to a then-Grand National/now-Sprint Cup race at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. Just as my mom got to watch Herb Thomas wheel his Hudson to victory, I would – years later – get to watch David Pearson and Richard Petty visit Victory Lane at nearby Pocono Raceway.

Those were all fathers of sons, by the way, who wound up following in their dads' tire tracks in one way or another.

Now I am a father of three children, our youngest being an eight-year-old boy who follows the exploits of Chase Elliott just as closely as his dad followed the accomplishments of Chase's Hall of Fame father. My son loves to hear how I used to see Bill carrying Chase to pre-race festivities when Chase was just an infant, and how I used to smile and wave at Chase as the six-year-old strolled along pit road wearing his bright red Dodge racing jacket.

I can only hope that my life in-and-around NASCAR Nation will rub off on him. His sisters know and appreciate the sport but there's something special about the ties between father and son. Maybe that's why we have an open Sunday on the Sprint Cup calendar this week. It's a good opportunity to cultivate and celebrate strong relationships before jumping headlong into a hectic stretch of the schedule.

Parenting is like the new aero packages we're seeing in NASCAR. There's no such thing as perfection, but that doesn't mean we can't improve from experience. Just like sons can learn from working alongside their fathers. That's what built our sport, and that's what can build its future….

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:  The Porsche Curves are one of the more dicey parts of the Circuit de la Sarthe.  In a live chat at Jalopnik on TuesdayScuderia Corsa's Jeff Segal proclaimed it the best section at Le Mans, claiming that "Huge balls [are] required."  For this year, there's a new change in the barriers.  What has been added?

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

Tuesday's Answer:
Q:  Traditionally, the Circuit de la Sarthe had a long, 3.4 mile all-out sprint.  However, that sprint was interrupted after 1989 by two chicanes. Why?

A: Officially, the chicanes were added to slow the cars.  In 1989, the pole speed was 155 mph.  That's an average.  Speeds on the Mulsanne Straight were reaching (and in some cases, exceeding) 250 mph.  In addition, there had been a series of horrific high-speed crashes in the previous few years, one of which had resulted in the death of up-and-coming racer and Sebring winner Jo Gartner in 1986.  According to Brian Laban's Le Mans 24 Hours: The Complete Story Of The World's Most Famous Motor Race, the FIA made an ultimatum to the ACO, slow the cars or lose your license.  They slowed the cars.

The ruling was somewhat similar to what happened with Conrod Straight at Bathurst had the Chase added for 1987.  The FIA has a maximum straightaway length for tracks that hold FIA-sanctioned races.  That maximum is two kilometers per straight.  The Mulsanne Straight was more than double that.  Conrod Straight was about 30 percent longer.  It only became an issue when the then-Tooheys 1000 was chosen to be part of the inaugural World Touring Car Championship.
In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have any news that breaks in the world of NASCAR.

Toni Montgomery returns with her weekly look at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Nitro Shots.
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