Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Stewart-Haas Racing Expands into the XFINITY Series

Presented by Frontstretch.com
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Jul. 26, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXXIV
What to Watch: Tuesday

- Today, NASCAR is holding an open test at newly repaved Watkins Glen International ahead of the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen on Aug. 7.  The following drivers will be present: 1 - Jamie McMurray, 2 - Brad Keselowski, 3 - Austin Dillon, 13 - Casey Mears, 15 - Clint Bowyer, 17 - Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 18 - Kyle Busch, 21 - Ryan Blaney, 24 - Chase Elliott, 34 - Chris Buescher, 41 - Kurt Busch, 44 - Brian Scott, 47 - AJ Allmendinger, 78 - Martin Truex, Jr., 83 - Matt DiBenedetto and 95 - Michael McDowell.  We'll have updates if necessary on Frontstretch.


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

Stewart-Haas Racing Adds XFINITY Series Entry for 2017

Stewart-Haas Racing announced Monday that they will be adding an XFINITY Series team to the organization for 2017.  The move is designed to help driver development for the organization going forward.  No indication of a driver or sponsor was given; however, the team will run Fords in 2017 just like the Sprint Cup teams will.  Read more

Entry List: Pennsylvania 400

Monday, NASCAR released the entry list for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway.  40 teams are entered.  The only change of note this week sees Jeb Burton return to the Go FAS Racing No. 32, replacing Patrick Carpentier.  Read more

Entry List: US Cellular 250

Monday, NASCAR released the entry list for Saturday night's U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway.  41 cars are entered.  Sam Hornish, Jr. returns, the race's June winner but this time he'll be driving the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.  Read more

Entry List: Pocono Mountains 150

The entry list for Saturday's 60-lap Camping World Truck Series race is out.  As of right now, 31 trucks are entered, meaning everyone will make the field.  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
The Brickyard 400 Delivers State of the Sport Address
Sitting in the Stands: A Fan's View
by S.D. Grady

The Brickyard 400 delivered a State of the Sport address on Sunday, and it was a mixed bag.

Regarding attendance: Once again, huge swaths of the grandstands stood empty under the blazing July sun. When it's 100 degrees outside, I completely understand a casual fan's disinterest in getting roasted. However, the decline of America attending NASCAR events continues.  It is the racing? Well, it could be. Indianapolis was not the poster child for the quality of competition in 2016. We've enjoyed far more stunners than yawners this year at other locations. However, the massive 2-1/2 mile flat track does not engender much side-by-side excitement except on restarts.  It used to be simply the chance to see your favorite drivers up close and personal was enough to sell a $100 ticket. Not anymore. The racing fan appears to want a show for their hard-earned cash, as well.

There's a New King in Town:
In case you missed it, Kyle Busch may indeed be the most talented driver we've ever seen in the sport. He has mastered the art of stinking up the show just about every time he gets in the No. 18 -- no matter the series.  In a world where we demand perfection in our major league sports stars, he is surpassing the goal. When all is said and done twenty years in the future, and he is being inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it will be Busch's thunderous achievements on the track that will be chronicled by historians, not his misspent youth as a braggart and driving bully.

The Good Old Days are Always the Best:
 In a place where racing became legend, two of NASCAR's own legends cranked up the nostalgia Sunday.  The parade lap at the end of the race where Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon took a spin side by side was the kind of moment from which future commemorative dinner speeches are made. Gone were decades of hard-fought competition, fan disapproval, and even wild unleashed tirades on the part of the drivers. Just about everybody wiped a tear as only the mythical perfection of past moments danced before our faulty memories.

The Children are Our Future: Maybe Dad wants to kiss the greasy, filthy, smelly bricks, but Brexton Busch had better things to do. He might be the child of the current NASCAR phenom, but eating Skittles off the ground is far more engrossing than giving a nod to the past. While the new generation of competitors is graduating from high school, we have to wonder if the future of this sport will look anything like the moonshine running races from which it was born. In the 21st century, there is already precious little resemblance, save for the name and some of the storied tracks on which we run. Then again, if all we want is to harken back to the good old days, perhaps running races where there is a single car left on the lead lap is exactly what we all should be striving for.

Tune in next week for an address from the third party candidate. Pocono isn't an oval. It's not a road course. What will it demand from the future of NASCAR?


Sometimes it takes time to really appreciate a new installation. The pylon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was replaced in 2014.  Fully outfitted in LED lights, it is the best caution light and green flag in racing!

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: Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400
by Tom Bowles

Laps led by Jamie McMurray this season, still 14th in the standings and in Chase contention without leading a single lap.

Out of the last ten races that have had more than 20 lead changes. Daytona in July is the only one that got over the hump (26).

Straight wins in the Brickyard 400 by Kyle Busch. Busch joins Jimmie Johnson (2008-09) as the only drivers to win the race back-to-back.

Leaders Sunday: Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.

Lead changes in Sunday's Brickyard 400, the fewest in NASCAR Indy history and also the lowest number of lead changes all season.

Straight top-20 finishes by Kyle Larson. That's snuck him back above the Chase cutline.

Career average finish for Tony Stewart at Indianapolis. Stewart ends his career with 11 top-10 finishes at Indy in 18 starts, including two victories.

Finishing position for rookie Chris Buescher at Indianapolis. It's the best of his Sprint Cup career and earned him Rookie of the Race.

Finishing position for Ryan Ellis at Indianapolis. It's the best of his Sprint Cup career.

Laps in Sunday's race, the longest Brickyard 400 in history.

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


by Matt McLaughlin

by Jeff Wolfe

The Underdog House: Tracking NASCAR's Small Teams From Indy to Pocono
by Amy Henderson


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?

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

Monday's Answer:

Q:  For a couple of years in the 1980s, this weekend's Pennsylvania 400 was known as the Like Cola 500.  What was Like Cola?

A: Back in the 1980s, the "Cola Wars" were at their peak.  Pepsi had the Pepsi Challenge, which took the competition directly to Coca-Cola.  Like Cola was a caffeine-free soda launched by The 7 Up Company (then a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philip Morris) in 1982 that was designed to compete with Pepsi, Coca-Cola and RC Cola.  The soda's distribution was fairly limited and only lasted for a couple of years.
In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have the latest NASCAR news along with a weekly commentary from our Professor of Speed on the state of the sport.

On Frontstretch.com:
Amy Henderson provides her weekly Frontstretch Five.
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
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