Monday, July 18, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Matt Kenseth Earns 3rd Loudon Win, Flunks Inspection

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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Jul. 18, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXVIII

What to Watch: Monday

- For teams in the Camping World Truck Series, today is a travel day as practice for the Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby begins tomorrow.  For instance, JR Heffner left Averill Park, N.Y. to travel to Eldora at 5 a.m. this morning.  If any news of note breaks, we'll have it for you at Frontstretch.

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

Matt Kenseth Cashes in Late at New Hampshire

On Sunday, Matt Kenseth passed Martin Truex, Jr. on lap 271 for the lead and managed to stay ahead of the contact behind to take his second win of the year.  Tony Stewart was second, followed by Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle.  However, Kenseth's car flunked post-race inspection.  Stay tuned, as he will likely be penalized later this week.  Read more

Kyle Busch Scores Perfect Driver Rating in Dominating Performance at New Hampshire

On Saturday, Kyle Busch stomped the XFINITY Series field for the second week in a row.  Busch led 190 of 200 laps to take his sixth win of the year.  Teammate Erik Jones was second, followed by Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon.  Read more

Alex Bowman Not Worried About Ty Dillon Controversy

While Alex Bowman was understandably worrying about his run in Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s Nationwide Chevrolet on Sunday, Saturday's AutoLotto 200 saw Bowman spin Ty Dillon into the wall on the backstretch.  Bowman took responsibility for the wreck and isn't concerned about any future repercussions.  Read more

Will Power Claims Third Victory in Four Races at Toronto

On Sunday, Will Power took advantage of Josef Newgarden's crash to make his final pit stop prior to the pits closing to gain the lead.  From there, Power held off the pack to win the Honda Indy Toronto.  Helio Castroneves recovered from a cut tire to finish second, followed by James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato.  Read more

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

Chasing the Chase: A Surly Kevin Harvick Adds to his Lead
by Phil Allaway

For as angry as Kevin Harvick seemed after the race, you'd think he finished down around 25th and been lost all weekend.  In reality, he finished fourth and extended his points lead back up to 14 points over Brad Keselowski.  Some chaps simply cannot be satisfied.  As for Keselowski, he was up in the hunt until he cut a tire late and finished 15th.  Kurt Busch had a flat left rear tire late that dropped him to a 22nd-place finish.  He maintained third in the standings, but lost a significant amount of points.  Carl Edwards is in the same boat.  Cut a tire late in the race after contact with Kyle Larson, dropped to a 20th-place finish, but kept fourth in points.

Joey Logano stood pat on Sunday.  Despite a late left rear tire rub, Logano held on to finish third.  That was enough to gain one point on Harvick, but a bunch more on Edwards and Kurt Busch.  Kyle Busch is in the same boat at Logano.  He finished eighth and effectively stood pat in sixth.  Martin Truex, Jr. led 123 laps, but a broken shifter and clutch issues dropped him to a 16th-place finish.  He lost some ground, but kept seventh.  Matt Kenseth's victory moved him up two places to eighth in points.

Jimmie Johnson made an error on pit road late on Sunday and dropped to the rear of the lead lap.  From there, Johnson charged back to 12th.  It was enough to maintain his spot in points, but he did lose some ground.  Denny Hamlin stayed out late when everyone else pitted and finished ninth.  That was good enough to move him up one place to tenth.  Chase Elliott was having a great day until a cut tire put him in the wall with 30 laps to go.  Elliott nursed the No. 24 to a 34th-place finish, costing him three spots in points.  He is now only two points in front of Ryan Newman, who finished seventh on Sunday.

Austin Dillon is up one place to 13th in points after finishing in 13th.  Jamie McMurray is now 14th after a top 10 finish.  Dale Earnhardt, Jr. sitting out Sunday ultimately didn't hurt him as much as it could have.  He ended up dropping two positions to the last driver still currently in the Chase.  Earnhardt Jr. has a 14 point edge over Trevor Bayne in 16th.  Outside of the top 16, Tony Stewart's second-place finish moved him up two places to 28th, more than a full race ahead of 31st.

Point Standings (1-16): 1) Kevin Harvick 636, 2) Brad Keselowski -14, 3) Kurt Busch -34, 4) Carl Edwards -49, 5) Joey Logano -65, 6) Kyle Busch -80, 7) Martin Truex, Jr. -96, 8) Matt Kenseth -115, 9) Jimmie Johnson -122, 10) Denny Hamlin -131, 11) Chase Elliott -137, 12) Ryan Newman -139, 13) Austin Dillon -148, 14) Jamie McMurray -162, 15) Dale Earnhardt, Jr. -175, 16) Trevor Bayne -189.

Outside the top 16, but Chase-eligible: 28) Tony Stewart -349.

Race Winners: Denny Hamlin (Daytona-1), Jimmie Johnson (Atlanta, Auto Club), Brad Keselowski (Las Vegas, Talladega, Daytona-2, Kentucky), Kevin Harvick (Phoenix), Kyle Busch (Martinsville, Texas, Kansas), Carl Edwards (Bristol, Richmond), Matt Kenseth (Dover, Loudon), Martin Truex, Jr. (Charlotte), Kurt Busch (Pocono), Joey Logano (Michigan), Tony Stewart (Sonoma)
Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for  He can be reached via e-mail at

Letter of the Race: Sunday's New Hampshire 301 was brought to you by the letter "T," for Toyota.  The whole weekend was dominated by Toyota, and in particular, Joe Gibbs Racing.  JGR or JGR-affiliated teams led 492 of the 501 laps and won both races.  That is domination unlike any that has been seen for quite a while. - Phil Allaway


Quotes to Remember: New Hampshire 301
compiled by Phil Allaway

"It always feels good to win, obviously, but I think today especially‑‑ Friday I didn't do a good job qualifying. We started middle of the pack. Our first run wasn't great. I don't know what he adjusted but he made some great changes for run two, and really I felt like we had probably the best car all day. It just took forever to get there.

"Got behind in the pits when I got myself blocked in, and three good pit stops and good pit calls and a fast car were able to work our way toward the front. Definitely feels good to get the win.

"Last fall we squeaked one out, a little more fuel than Kevin and a little different strategy, but not quite as good a car, where today I felt like we had the best car, and it always feels good when you get a win." - Matt Kenseth, race winner

"It was fun.  The hardest part of the restarts was just which line you were in.  If you were on the bottom you were at a huge disadvantage.  You needed to be on that top line and needed to be able to hold them down when they got there.  We restarted sixth on the outside that last time and that really was the key to getting us up where we were at the end." - Tony Stewart, finished second

"Probably what you saw was the same thing I was seeing except I got to live it.  I think every corner of my car is dented in some way.  We hit everything at the end.  But we were moving forward, and that's good. I don't think I pissed anybody off.  That's another good thing. But overall just proud of the effort my team put in today.  We were awful to start the race.  We tried some new things thinking that we needed to get better here.  This is a track that we've been a second‑ to fifth‑place car here the last five races, so we tried something different, and we went from sixth to 20th or so pretty quick early in the race, almost went down a lap, and we aborted that mission in the middle of the race and went back to what we normally do, and we got our car to be an eighth‑ to tenth‑place car, so we started picking them off slowly one at a time. It's funny, seemed like Tony and I, we fell backwards together, we started driving through the field together.  We were around each other all day and never thought the two of us would be racing for second at the end of the race like that. Overall proud of the effort the team put in, never‑quit attitude.  It really paid off today." - Joey Logano, finished third

"I'm disgusted to tell you the truth.  It's the same thing every week.  We just make mistake after mistake and until we clean that up we don't have a chance to win races putting ourselves in a hole every time we make a mistake.  It sucks because the cars are plenty fast, but we are just not executing." - Kevin Harvick, finished fourth

"Yeah, a really big day.  Our Credit One Back Chevy was really solid all weekend.  We had good pit stops and had good restarts.  You have to have all that here. The race kind of drew out for a little while and we had long green flag runs.  Then in the last 40 laps we were just crazy on all those restarts.  It seemed like on some of them you wanted to be on the top, some of them you wanted to be on the bottom.  The guy in second is at such a disadvantage on those restarts, especially when you start spinning the tires.  So, a really solid day for us today." - Jamie McMurray, finished sixth

"All weekend we definitely didn't think we had a top-10 car. We fought hard though. Everybody on this Fastenal team worked really hard and we caught some breaks at the right time and the right lane on restarts at the right times. We made it work. It was a hot one out there. It was a lot of fun though. When the sun was out I thought our car was better than when the shade was out. I think that we have some more to work on and I think we know where we can make up some time. We will come back and hopefully be a little bit better next time." - Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., finished tenth

"I am disappointed in myself. We had a really good Fusion there about halfway through the race and sped on pit road during our green flag stops and that set us back a lot. Luckily we were able to get a wave-around and it worked out. We just kept missing wrecks and got lucky on that caution at the end to salvage a decent day. I messed up for two weeks in a row and that is unacceptable. I have to clean up my act for upcoming races." - Ryan Blaney, finished 11th

"We were probably a fourth of fifth place car all day today. We were solid right up there. There at the end there was a restart and some guys got jumbled up in front of us and we were in the middle of three and got squeezed. We bounced off the 41 and got hit by the 22 and cut down a tire and had to come in. We got back up to 15th, which I guess all things considered isn't too bad." - Brad Keselowski, finished 15th

"It's not tough, it's just that you're a sitting duck and there's nothing you can do to get going. Unfortunately we got passed by a lot of cars and we pitted for tires on that last stop because we were starting all the way in the back on that restart there and we wanted to get some momentum going and make sure we didn't destroy the race car getting in a wreck. We passed 10 cars in the last 10 laps so we had a good race car, just nothing to show for it today." - Martin Truex, Jr., finished 16th

"It was amazing.  I can't thank Hendrick Motorsports and all these guys enough.  They took me to my worst race track by far and made me look good.  I just have to thank Mr. H. I had such an amazing time.  Everybody, Greg (Ives, crew chief) and all the guys were so welcoming.  I hate the circumstances and really hope Dale is feeling well, but I had so much fun today.  Obviously, I hate that we didn't get the finish we deserve, but I've raced with a lot of these guys for a long time… I raced around them I've never got to actually race with guys like Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, all those guys.  I had a lot of fun passing really good cars.  Just really thankful for Nationwide and all of Hendrick Motorsports for letting me be here.

"I think the No. 19 (Carl Edwards) was backing up because he was blocked in as I was leaving the pit box.  My left-rear hit his right-rear as I was leaving.  It caved it in enough, we thought we would be fine, but obviously, when I got into the No. 41 (Kurt Busch) it was already going down.  I got really loose, got up the race track and got into him.  I hate that for Kurt.  Obviously, just got loose had a tire going down and then it went down at about the start/finish line, I just tried to hang on to it.  It is really unfortunate.  They knew we were here for sure and I had a blast." - Alex Bowman, finished 26th

Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for  He can be reached via e-mail at



Thinkin' Out Loud: Matt Kenseth New Hampshire Win Tainted By Failed Inspection?
by Mike Neff

by Bryan Gable


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?

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

Friday's Answer:

Q:  If you look at the results on of the 2005 Molson Indy Toronto, you'll see that Paul Tracy ran out of fuel and finished 16th.  Let's just say that it was an exciting 16th-place finish.  What happened after his first stop?

A: Tracy pitted out of second, right behind Sebastien Bourdais.  The goal was simply to beat Bourdais out of the pits.  The two charged out of their stalls and Bourdais went to the outside to pass.  The two drivers collided, knocking off the left side of Tracy's front wing.  The incident can be seen here.

Tracy continued on and actually set some quick laps with half a front wing.  Bourdais cut a left rear tire as a result of the contact and was forced to make an extra stop.  Bourdais then charged through the field to finish fifth.


In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have breaking news from Monday, Tom Bowles gives you a stats breakdown of Loudon in Numbers Game and S.D. Grady returns with Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View. As S.D. was in Loudon this past weekend, it should be quite interesting.

Danny Peters returns with Five Points to Ponder following Sunday's action in Loudon.
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