Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Brad Keselowski Walks Away from Nasty Testing Crash

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Jul. 27, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXXV
What to Watch: Wednesday

- Today, the open test wraps up at Watkins Glen International.  Yesterday was rather painful for Brad Keselowski (see below).  Let's hope no one else stuffs it in the barriers.


Wednesday's TV Schedule can be found here.

Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Rodney Childers Suspended Due to Lug Nuts

On Wednesday morning, NASCAR released their weekly penalty report.  In it, NASCAR revealed that Kevin Harvick's No. 4 was found to have loose lug nuts at the end of Sunday's race.  As a result, he has been suspended for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 and fined $20,000.  Read more

Brad Keselowski Involved in Crash at Watkins Glen Test

During the first day of the Watkins Glen open test, Brad Keselowski lost his brakes on the frontstretch at nearly 165 mph and plowed into the tire barriers in turn 1.  Keselowski was OK, but his Miller Lite Ford was thrashed.  Read more

Dakoda Armstrong to Drive Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 at Iowa

Tuesday, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that JGL Racing's Dakoda Armstrong will drive the NoS Energy Drink No. 18 Toyota this weekend at Iowa Speedway.  Armstrong is driving in place of Matt Tifft, the team's development driver who is still recovering from open brain surgery.  Read more

Indianapolis NASCAR TV Ratings Set NBC Sports Network Record

Good news on the TV ratings front.  Sunday's broadcast of the Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 earned a 3.1 rating, a slight increase over last year.  It might not sound like much, but the race's numbers produced the most watched broadcast ever aired live on NBCSN.  Read more

BAR1 Motorsports Announces Junqueira, Second Car for Road America

On Tuesday, BAR1 Motorsports announced the additional of Bruno Junqueira to their driving lineup.  He will partner with Matt McMurray in the No. 20 PC car.  In addition, they are bringing the No. 26 back to the track with regular drivers Johnny Mowlem and Don Yount.  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
More Than Just a Race
Professor of Speed
by Mark Howell
One cannot help but reminisce whenever NASCAR Nation visits Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The sacred aura of the facility and the sense of history one feels when they enter the gates to Gasoline Alley make the Brickyard 400 one of those truly landmark events. Winning at the Brickyard means etching one's name in ledger of motorsports accomplishments. This achievement is what Kyle Busch did this past weekend in Indiana when he swept the pole positions and checkered flags in both the XFINITY race on Saturday and in the Cup race on Sunday.

Such dominance is the stuff of sports legend, but – for me – the idea of legend and history at Indianapolis takes a much more basic, and personal, shape.

One might say my idea of Indy legend is more concrete than abstract:  as in the form of two bricks that once paved the two-and-a-half mile track surface of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

How I came to receive these two bricks is directly related to how I began dating the beautiful woman who is now my wife. Like so much else connected to Indy, the story involves family ties, hard work, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and good luck. Of all the artifacts I've collected over many decades of working in-and-around motorsports, these two scarred and well-worn bricks are the centerpiece of my possessions.

It all began with a cottage remodeling project in Michigan.

My now-father-in-law and brother-in-law are builders who do a lot of summer home and vacation cottage construction. For this one particular job, almost twenty years ago, they were hired to rebuild a patio that was beginning to show the signs of aging. I guess the cottage's owner liked the distressed look, but wanted this outdoor area to be more stately and substantial. The pavers initially used were breaking away, and it seemed like bricks were a better way to go. While new bricks would produce a nice patio, their finish would look too clean; the owner wanted bricks with a patina of age that would better match their family's treasured old vacation property.

My now father-in-law began searching for the appropriate bricks and found a place in Indiana that dealt in used (what we today call "repurposed") building materials. When he traveled to Indiana to buy the old bricks he needed, though he noticed a pile that seemed especially worn. Asking the yard foreman about these pavers, my father-in-law was told that the weathered bricks were actually quite historic.

The bricks once paved the track surface at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

My father-in-law called home that evening from the road and he mentioned the Indy bricks to his daughter. The daughter thought of a racing historian she knew at work and how he might be interested in seeing one of the historic pavers. She said she'd ask him the next day.

The builder's daughter (now my wife) asked the historian (me) if I'd be interested in getting an old Indy brick. The thought of owning a piece of early auto racing history that had been driven over by the likes of Barney Oldfield, Ralph DePalma, and Eddie Rickenbacker was too good to ignore, so I said that I'd love to have one, if possible.

To show my gratitude for her consideration, I offered to take the builder's daughter to dinner. The rest, as they say, now nearly two decades later, is history.

I thought of this story last Saturday afternoon while sitting on my father-in-law's front porch in Northern Michigan and listening to the XFINITY race. I thought about it again when I saw a tweet from Goodyear Racing with a photo of the famous "Yard of Bricks" that Kyle Busch and team kissed Sunday after their dominating win. The yard of bricks is all that remains of that early surface.

Except for a couple pavers located in Michigan. Of the more than three million bricks used to initially pave the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I own two of them. They are great sources of personal pride and deeply heartfelt value.

Just like my wife and her family.

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

as told to Zach Catanzareti

by Amy Henderson

compiled by Aaron Bearden

by Joseph Wolkin

Q: Here's a random question that might be easy on the surface.  Who got to race in what is now Sprint Cup first?  Wally Dallenbach, Jr., or his wife?

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

Tuesday's Answer:

Q:  In the 1984 Like Cola 500 at Pocono, Bobby Allison started tenth and had a decent run going early.  However, Allison didn't even get 100 miles into the race before trouble struck.  What happened?

A: Allison was running about seventh when he had a tire let go in the Tunnel Turn.  Allison slid hard into the outside wall before spinning back in front of traffic and coming to rest in the grass.  Tommy Ellis also spun in the wreck, which can be seen here.

Allison spent a number of laps behind the wall getting repairs before returning to the race.  He would eventually finish 28th, 72 laps down.  Ellis would later be eliminated in another crash.
In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have any news that breaks in the world of NASCAR, plus a look at some more broadcasts in the Critic's Annex.

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