Friday, July 22, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Indianapolis Gets Underway

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Jul. 22, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXXII


What to Watch: Friday

- Today, Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series teams get on the track for all of their practice sessions.  Meanwhile, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has a one-day show at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.


Aaron Bearden (@AaronBearden93)
Zach Catanzareti (@ZachRacing)
Mike Neff (@MNeffShortTrack)
John Potts

Phil Allaway (@Critic84)

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

Jimmie Johnson Takes Opening Indianapolis Practice

At the beginning of Sprint Cup practice, Jimmie Johnson set a lap at 48.864 seconds (184.185 mph) for everyone to shoot at.  No one came close as Johnson led the first session by over four-tenths of a second from Denny Hamlin in second.  Third-place Casey Mears was more than one second off the pace.  Read more

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Improving, Visits Hendrick Race Shop

Meanwhile, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms.  Recently, Earnhardt Jr. went to the shop to visit and tweeted that he is seeing improvement.  Read more

Jeff Gordon Confident to Face Indianapolis Challenges

On Friday morning, Jeff Gordon met with the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to discuss his sub role in the No. 88.  He thinks that it will be challenging, but he's up to the challenge.  Read more

How a Text Brought Jeff Gordon Out of Retirement

You might be wondering just what was going on when Jeff Gordon was asked to sub for Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  Quite simply, Rick Hendrick sent a series of short texts to Gordon while the four-time champion was on vacation in France.  Read more

Kyle Busch Tops Opening XFINITY Practice at IMS

Friday afternoon saw the XFINITY Series take to the 2.5 mile oval for their first practice session.  Once again, Joe Gibbs Racing was on top with Kyle Busch topping the chart.  Elliott Sadler was second quickest, followed by Daniel Suarez, Kevin Harvick and Justin Allgaier. Read more


Frontstretch Folio: Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400
by Phil Allaway

This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series makes their only trip of the year to the state of Indiana.  The race formerly known as the Brickyard 400 can be seen on NBCSN starting at 2 p.m. with NASCAR America Sunday, followed by Countdown to Green. The green flag is scheduled to drop around 3:25 p.m. Sunday afternoon.  The race can also be heard on IMS Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

Records and facts

In last year's race, Kyle Busch led 19 laps, but had to get past Joey Logano on a GWC for the lead.  From there, Busch was able to hold on to win his first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Logano was second, followed by Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Since he's coming back for the next two weeks to sub for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon is once again considered to be an active driver. He is the winningest Sprint Cup Series driver at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with five career victories.  This total includes the inaugural Brickyard 400 back in 1994. 

Jimmie Johnson is the winningest full-time driver at Indianapolis with four career victories, the most recent of which coming in 2012.  Tony Stewart, who will be competing in his final race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, has two.  No other active driver has more than one victory.  The only non-active driver with more than one Indianapolis victory is Dale Jarrett with two.

Track Facts
Track / Race Length: 2.5-mile oval, 160 laps (400 miles)
Banking: 9.2 degrees (9 degrees, 12 minutes)

Straightaways: 3,300 ft., flat

Chutes: 660 ft., flat

Grandstand Seating: 235,000
Pit Road Speed: 55 mph
Pace Car Speed: 70 mph
Opened: 1909, first Cup race in 1994




Remaining Pre-Race Schedule:

Practice No. 1: Friday, July 22, 1:30 - 2:55 p.m. on NBCSN

Happy Hour: Friday, July 22, 4 - 5:25 p.m. on NBCSN

Qualifying: Saturday, July 22 at 1:45 p.m. on NBCSN

Say What?!

"Indianapolis is a very unique track. For me, it's kind of a cool place to go to as I grew up always wanting to race Indy cars. With Rick Mears being from Bakersfield (California), he was a hometown, childhood hero as we were all racing go-karts. So, to win there back in 2003, and be able to kind of achieve your childhood dream in a sense, but in a stock car, was a great moment. Going back to Indy is just knowing it's a very historic racetrack where it's a lot of fun to be a part of the event. It's always a place where  you want to win, but it's fun to just go there and race to be a part of the next era of its history.

"Indianapolis is a very hard racetrack to pass on. Obviously, with how narrow the racetrack is and how fast the cars are going, you have to try and maintain your track position all day. It takes really everything – you have to have great motors, good handling and all the things you hear about at a lot of racetracks. You can't overcome a lack of horsepower or a lack of downforce and I feel like we've done a good job with both of those things all year. Hopefully, we can find the right handling package to go with the great pieces and parts that we have to go on the cars." - Kevin Harvick

"Based on the test session, one thing I forgot from only going there once a year is how temperature-sensitive that racetrack really is. The morning sessions opened up with a ton of grip and the car was pretty comfortable. That afternoon once the heat of the day set in it got really, really tricky. With a three o'clock start time I think that will allow for the track to cool down and it will be a little more forgiving. Indy has four distinct and unique corners. I will be happy with myself to get three of the four corners right each lap – it's a very, very challenging track. Lots of concentration required. It sure does feel good when you win there. It's a celebration like no other." - Jimmie Johnson

"I always enjoy going back to Indy since I didn't live too far from there for about a year when I raced Sprint Cars. Last year we raced a package with a taller spoiler which made it really hard to pass.  I'm looking forward to getting on track Friday and seeing how the cars handle with our current aeropackage. I think if we can maintain our track position near the front and not have any misfortunes like last year then we should have a strong showing in our SunnyD Ford." - Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

"It's really chilling to go to Indianapolis every time you go through the tunnel and when you make your first laps on the race track -- your first time ever or your first time for the weekend. And it's a place where I really, really enjoy bringing people. I always enjoy having my family there or someone else that will really appreciate the experience.

"Snap Fitness is going to be on the car at Indianapolis. I'm really excited to have them at the track because they've never gotten to experience that level of a marquee race. And I think they're really going to appreciate the power of that speedway and just what it's like. When I sat down with Snap Fitness to talk about their race schedule this season, I told them, 'You need to take a serious look at Indianapolis,' and they were all over it." - Landon Cassill

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 Sean Fesko

Tech Talk: Bono Manion Gets Down and Dirty at Eldora
as told to Mike Neff

Q: The 1993 Kroger 200 was the one and only career victory in the Busch Grand National Series for Tracy Leslie.  Leslie was more or less the beneficiary of some insanity.  What happened at the very front of the field that put him in position to win?

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

Thursday's Answer:
Q: Today, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis' oval has a decent pit road setup for 43 cars where you enter in turn 3 and everyone has a stall.  That wasn't the case in 1990.  What was the pit setup at then-IRP that Busch teams had to deal with?

A: Back in 1990, there was a split setup.  There was a regular pit road that drivers could go down.  Others would go behind the wall as if they were going for repairs, but would make a right onto a parallel pit road (the crews were set up with their backs to each other).  If need be, a third lane to the outside of the second lane could be used.  Benny Parsons describes the pit setup here.

In 1990, there were no speed limits on pit road.  As a result, it didn't necessarily hurt as much to pit in the second row as it could have.  For instance, outside pole sitter Davey Johnson chose to pit in the second row.  Once pit road speed limits were introduced the next season, it became a huge disadvantage.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have recaps of the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races from Indianapolis.

We'll have a series of post-race commentaries analyzing this weekend's action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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