Friday, July 29, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Paul Menard Quickest as Pocono Action Begins

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Jul. 29, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXXVII


What to Watch: Friday

- Today, Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series teams get out on track for practice and (for Sprint Cup) qualifying at Pocono Raceway.  Meanwhile, the Verizon IndyCar Series has practice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course ahead of Sunday's Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.


Dustin Albino (@DustinAlbino)
Zach Catanzareti (@ZachRacing)
Joseph Wolkin (@JosephNASCAR)

Aaron Bearden (@AaronBearden93)

and our own Twitter page, @Frontstretch as well for updates!

Also, don't forget to follow our Twitter page, @Frontstretch as well for updates!

This weekend's TV Schedule can be found

Top News
by The Frontstretch Staff

Paul Menard Wins Opening Pocono Practice

Richard Childress Racing's Paul Menard was quickest in opening Sprint Cup Practice at Pocono Raceway with a lap of 50.722 seconds (177.438 mph).  Denny Hamlin was second quickest, followed by Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards.  Kevin Harvick was fifth fastest.  Read more

NASCAR to Implement Chassis Reinforcement at Restrictor Plate Tracks

During the same teleconference Thursday where the Michigan news was announced, NASCAR also announced new chassis reinforcement rules for the restrictor plate races starting next season.  The rules are designed to lessen the likelihood of injuries from head-on impacts.  Read more

Michael Lira, Spencer Boyd Plan XFINITY Series Debuts

Two racers, Michael Lira and Spencer Boyd, will make their XFINITY Series debuts this weekend at Iowa Speedway.  Lira will drive the No. 15 Ford Mustang for BJ McLeod Motorsports, while Boyd will be in the No. 25 Chevrolet Camaro for Rick Ware Racing.  Read more

Spencer Pumpelly to Race for RealTime While Cunningham Tests

Pirelli World Challenge's RealTime Racing announced on Thursday that Spencer Pumpelly will drive for the team in place of Peter Cunningham at Mid-Ohio and Utah Motorsports Campus.  Cunningham is taking a more substantial role in the development of the Acura NSX GT3 chassis.  Read more


Frontstretch Folio: Pennsylvania 400
by Phil Allaway

This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series makes their second visit of the season to Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania 400 can be seen on NBCSN starting at 12 p.m. with NASCAR America Sunday, followed by Countdown to Green. The green flag is scheduled to drop around 1:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon.  The race can also be heard on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

Records and facts

In last year's race, fuel mileage was king in determining who would go to Victory Lane.  Joey Logano led the most laps (97), but ended up finishing 20th.  Matt Kenseth led two laps all day, but he took the lead on the final lap when teammate Kyle Busch ran out of gas and held on to win the Windows 10 400.  Brad Keselowski was nine seconds back in second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Greg Biffle.

Jeff Gordon is the winningest driver in the history of Pocono Raceway with six victories, the most recent coming in the rain-shortened July race in 2012.  Denny Hamlin has the most victories of full-time drivers at Pocono with four.  They include a sweep during his rookie year in 2006.  Bobby Labonte and Jimmie Johnson are tied with three apiece, but Labonte is not entered this weekend.  Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch each have a pair of Pocono wins.

Behind Gordon on the all-time wins list at Pocono is Bill Elliott with five wins, then you have Hamlin, Darrell Waltrip and Tim Richmond with four each.  Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Geoff Bodine and Bobby Allison have three each.

Track Facts
Track / Race Length: 2.5-mile tri-oval, 160 laps (400 laps)
Banking: 14 degrees in Turn 1, 8 degrees in Turn 2, 6 degrees in Turn 3.
Frontstretch: 3,740 ft., flat

Long Pond Straightaway: 3,055 ft., flat

North Straight: 1,780 ft., flat

Grandstand Seating: 70,000
Pit Road Speed: 55 mph
Pace Car Speed: 65 mph
Opened: 1971 (first Cup race in 1974)




Remaining Pre-Race Schedule:

Practice No. 1: Friday, July 29, 11 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. on NBCSN

Qualifying: Friday, July 29 at 4:15 p.m. on NBCSN

Happy Hour: Saturday, July 30, 11 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. on NBCSN

Say What?!

"I thought we had a really good car at Pocono earlier this summer. It was certainly one of our best days of the year I think. I thought for us to be able to contend and lead laps all day and have a car that could fight for the lead the majority of the day was great. I'm hoping we can take what we had and learn from there to try to make it better. I definitely have some things that I learned. Hopefully we can clean it up and try to do the best we can to give ourselves a chance to contend." - Chase Elliott

"Pocono is so unique, you've got three completely different corners and really long straightaways.  Seems like every time we go there the tunnel turn gets faster and faster.  You try and get the best balance for the three corners, but really the one corner that really produces passing is turn three coming onto the longest main straightway and then the braking down into turn one.  I try to be the best I can in three, I don't want to give up time in one and the tunnel, so it's kind of a juggle as to what corner you can get your car really good at." - Greg Biffle

"My favorite corner at Pocono is honestly – it's probably – turn one. You can make up a lot of ground if you're good through there. It comes into a pretty good compression and you can drive off, down into the corner. If the car turns pretty well, you can pick up the throttle really hard. And while I like turn one, the most important corner is probably turn three, leading onto the front straightaway

"It's a neat place, definitely a unique track. It's still a place where I don't have a ton of experience. It's just an odd place to set the car up because the corners are so different. If you are really good in turn one, then maybe two and three are a little off. Or if you're good in three, maybe one and two are different. I will say that the straightaway is enormous. There's a lot of distance between turns three and one." - Danica Patrick

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


by Aaron Bearden and Matt Stallknecht
by Zach Catanzareti
by Amy Henderson

Tech Talk: Jason Ratcliff Is Not a Big Fan of NASCAR's Lug Nut Rule
as told to Mike Neff

Q: The 2005 Pennsylvania 500 was a four-hour race with 13 cautions won by Kurt Busch.  Kasey Kahne was in contention for a great finish until the GWC.  What happened to cost him that finish?

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

Thursday's Answer:
Q: In the 1994 Miller Genuine Draft 500 at Pocono, Geoff Bodine led 156 laps on his way to his first win of the season.  What was notable about this victory and the finishing order?

A: This race was the first win for Hoosier since they returned to Winston Cup at the beginning of the 1994 season.  Hoosier shod entries took the top 4 finishing positions in the race with rookies Ward Burton second, Joe Nemechek third and Jeff Burton fourth.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have recaps of the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series races from Pocono, in addition to the XFINITY Series' U.S. Cellular 250 from Iowa Speedway.

We'll have a series of post-race commentaries analyzing this weekend's action at Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway.
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