Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Speaks About his Condition

Presented by Frontstretch.com
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Jul. 19, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXIX
What to Watch: Tuesday

- Pull-in for the Camping World Truck Series at Eldora Speedway is scheduled for 11 a.m. this morning.  Teams are scheduled to hold practice sessions before and after the 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series feature for Big Block Modifieds (both Stewart Friesen and JR Heffner, who are entered in tomorrow's Camping World Truck Series race, will compete tonight).  Neither of the practice sessions will be televised while radio coverage of the Modified race will be available via DirtVision.


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

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dealing with Balance Issues and Nausea Amidst Concussion Tests

On Monday, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. appeared on Dirty Mo Radio, his own podcast to discuss ongoing medical issues.  Earnhardt Jr. revealed that he has passed the ImPACT test but still suffers from balance issues and nausea (upset stomach).  Read more

Greg Biffle Records Best Finish of 2016 at New Hampshire

At New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday, Greg Biffle had an up-and-down kind of a day.  A wave-around, avoiding late-race contact and great moves allowed Biffle to earn a fifth-place finish for Roush Fenway Racing.  Read more

Entry List: Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby

The entry list for tomorrow's Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby is out.  38 trucks are entered for 32 spots.  It's going to be a scrum, for certain if you're outside of the top 20 in owner points and can't get yourself locked into the race automatically.  Read more

Entry List: Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard

For this weekend's Sprint Cup race in Indianapolis, 41 cars are entered.  Ryan Ellis moves from the No. 98 back to BK Racing's part-time car, the No. 93 while Patrick Carpentier is back in the No. 32.  All eyes remain on the No. 88, though ahead of Wednesday's announcement of whether Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (currently listed on the entry list) will drive.  Read more

Entry List: Lily Diabetes 250

For the XFINITY Series' Dash 4 Cash event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week, 40 cars are currently entered, but that list omits Jeremy Clements' No. 51 and the Obaika Racing No. 97 car.  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
Peace Declared in NASCAR Nation: How Did That Happen?
Sitting in the Stands: A Fan's View
by S.D. Grady

On the heels of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s announcement he was sitting out the New Hampshire 301 due to concussion-like symptoms, Hendrick Motorsports made an equally stunning statement that Jeff Gordon might be returning to the track in Indianapolis this upcoming weekend driving the No. 88. If there was ever a moment where the racing Gods determined that the great breach among NASCAR fans had been healed, I think this moment was it.

No, I am not celebrating Junior's injury. I am very sorry that he is suffering and, worse yet, with a condition that is not likely to permanently disappear, even with treatment. But if we go back to 2008 and the media circus that commenced with his arrival at Hendrick Motorsports, it was something akin to the zombie apocalypse in NASCAR terms.  Junior's father had been on one side of the most storied rivalry in the sport's history, going toe-to-toe on and off the track with Jeff Gordon since "The Kid's" arrival in 1993. After Senior passed away in 2001, the fan rivalry that avidly supported the Nos. 3 and 24, respectively sort of transferred their passion to the Intimidator's son.  The anti-Gordon/anti-Earnhardt camps in the infield remained pretty much intact for the next six years.

That is, until the No. 8 turned into the No. 88 and Junior started hanging his hat at Mr. H's shop.  For quite some time, Gordon and Earnhardt fans were hard-pressed to smile at one another as "teammates" like the drivers did every week at Hendrick Motorsports.  It simply grated on the nerves, you know? We grimaced when we saw the No. 88 share a flagpole with the No. 24.  Co-workers who had previously growled at one another on Monday mornings now tried to smile.  It hurt.  It hurt a lot.

As with all old injuries, the pain lessened or became more familiar -- your pick.  We became accustomed to seeing husband and wife wear T-Shirts that in the past may have ended in divorce.  Even if the Earnhardt crowd never got around to loving the Rainbow Warriors, beer tossing became less vehement.

So on Friday, when Mr. Hendrick gave his statement to the media that he was looking to sit Jeff Gordon in the Nationwide Chevrolet at the Brickyard, I was waiting for the howl of protest to scream across the campgrounds at New Hampshire.

It didn't come.  No, "Oh my god! Gordon can't drive Junior's car! Ick!" No swearing.  No throwing of sharp objects across the room.  The angst and anger did not come.

Instead, we looked around in the grandstands and smiled.  We nodded and agreed...yep, agreed, that it would be really cool to have Gordon back in a car one more time. At Indy. And helping out Dale Jr.

I waited, but the earth did not open up beneath me. The race ran on Sunday and the day passed as pretty much every other race day. Alex Bowman performed well under the microscope. Junior tweeted his disappointment at missing the race and appreciation for all the hard work Bowman did on such short notice.  It was all very polite.

We're expecting more concrete information on Tuesday. Gordon has to return from vacation and get his NASCAR license and physical taken care of. However, it does seem like the unthinkable is going to happen.  And it does seem like the world is not ending.  The retired driver of the No. 24 is going to drive the No. 88 in Sprint Cup competition.

These are strange days, my friends.  Strange days.


From the strange things you see at the track files: Parked in the FanZone at NHMS was a monstrous iron machine.  It was a catapult built on the scale medieval armies used to destroy stone walls.  Its name is Yankee Siege and will be throwing ten-pound pumpkins in the October Extreme Chunkin' competition.  The 58,000 lb. contraption can toss the little orange orbs well over 2,000 feet, or the shell of a Volkswagen Beetle the length of a football field.  The video shows it tossing a half-ton of pumpkin just for the fun of it.

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: New Hampshire 301
by Tom Bowles

Laps led Sunday and this season by the sixth-place finisher at New Hampshire, Jamie McMurray. McMurray remains the lone Chaser currently inside the field not to have led a single lap all year.

Win last season through 18 races for Matt Kenseth. He wound up winning five events. How many wins did he have this season? One through 18 races until his thrilling charge to the front on Sunday.

Laps out of 301 led by anyone not running Joe Gibbs Racing chassis. Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson each led one lap apiece.

Straight races in which Hendrick Motorsports cars have not finished inside the top 10. The best the four-car organization could muster was Jimmie Johnson in 12th.

Of New Hampshire's seven cautions occurred in the final 35 laps of the race. The first of them was a debris caution on lap 265. 

Teams that have combined to win the sport's 19 Cup races: Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing and single-car Furniture Row Racing.

DNFs for Josh Wise this season after Sunday's wreck left his underfunded team dead last (40th). Only Matt DiBenedetto (six) of BK Racing has more this season.

Top-10 finishes in the last seven races for Team Penske's Joey Logano. The lone exception? A wreck at Kentucky that left him sitting in the garage 39th.

Straight top-20 finishes for Ryan Newman including a seventh-place effort on Sunday. That has the veteran solidly in position to make the Chase once more despite a victory drought that's lasted 3+ years.

Straight Cup races at New Hampshire where there have been less than 20 lead changes. There were 13 in Sunday's event.

Projected points position of Tony Stewart if he had run all 19 races this season (based on his points output in the first 11 events).

Finishing position for Danica Patrick at New Hampshire, her best since Dover in May (13th) and second best of the season.

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


by Matt McLaughlin

by Danny Peters

The Underdog House: Tracking NASCAR's Small Teams from Loudon to Indy
by Amy Henderson


Q: In 1991, Chuck Bown was in great position to claim victory in the Kroger 200 at then-Indianapolis Raceway Park.  However, a rare instance forced him to pit with 11 laps to go.  What happened?

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

Monday's Answer:

Q:  This weekend, IMSA returns to Lime Rock Park for the Northeast Grand Prix (coverage will air live Saturday afternoon on FOX).  Today, the cars do battle on a 1.5-mile road course with a chicane bypass of the Climbing Turn.  When was the original chicane installed at Lime Rock and why?

A: In 1988, John Morton's No. 84 Nissan GTP took off at the crest of the hill and backflipped in practice, suffering burns on his face.  Morton did not break any bones in the wreck and actually returned to the track for the race, as seen here.  Morton was said to be rather surly about having to miss the event at the time.

For 1989, Lime Rock Park created the first version of the chicane, a quick right-left-right at the top of the hill.  That can be seen in 
this International Sedan race.
In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have the latest NASCAR news surrounding Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s status for Indy along with a weekly commentary from our Professor of Speed on the state of the sport.

On Frontstretch.com:
Our Dustin Albino sits down with Paul Menard to discuss the veteran's contract status for 2017, his difficult season with Richard Childress Racing and more.
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
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