Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Ben Kennedy Claims First Career Truck Win

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Aug. 18, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXLI
What to Watch: Thursday
- Today is pull-in day for the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series teams at Bristol.  No on-track action is scheduled, but if anything breaks, we'll have it for you at Frontstretch.

Thursday's TV Schedule can be found here.

Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Ben Kennedy Scores First Career Truck Series Win at Bristol

Ben Kennedy passed William Byron with 18 laps to go Wednesday night and held off Brett Moffitt to claim his first career Camping World Truck Series victory.  Behind Kennedy and Moffitt was Daniel Hemric in third, followed by Byron and Johnny Sauter.  Read more

William Byron to Move to XFINITY, JR Motorsports in 2017

William Byron may have lost Wednesday night's truck race at Bristol by getting just a little bit too high on-track, but he won Thursday morning.  Hendrick Motorsports announced that Byron has signed a multi-year deal with the organization that will see the 18-year old move to JR Motorsports in the XFINITY Series next season.  Read more

WeatherTech Porsche Leaves WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Alex Job Racing announced Wednesday night that their WeatherTech-sponsored No. 22 Porsche most recently driven by Cooper MacNeil and Sven Müller will not contest the final three rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.  The team is unhappy with the current Balance of Performance, which they feel puts them at a competitive disadvantage.  Read more

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

Editor's Note: Potts' Shots will return soon.
The Critic's Annex: UNOH 200
by Phil Allaway

Welcome, everyone.  Wednesday night saw the Camping World Truck Series return to Bristol Motor Speedway.  However, as we noted in yesterday's Newsletter, the weather was going to be iffy.  I actually thought that both qualifying and the race was going to be a question mark.  It turned out that the rain didn't show up until lap 60 or so of the Bush's Beans 150 Modified race.  That race is scheduled to air next Friday in highlighted form on NBCSN at 9 p.m.

That said, we had 200 laps of racing to run.  How did FOX Sports 1 handle the race?

During the entire day (practice, qualifying and the race), one of the biggest stories was the new track polishing and tire dragoning that took place on the lower line.  No one had any idea what that would create.  The first practice session was essentially a game of keep away at nearly 125 mph for an average.

In the second practice, everyone starting using the inside line and speeds picked up substantially.  Even with the increased speeds, the general feeling at the beginning of the race on FOX Sports 1 was "we don't know what to make of this."  Ultimately, it ended up being the preferred groove.  Unlike Kentucky last month, I feel like its not going to last all weekend.  The rain has not helped.

During the extended pre-race coverage, the primary feature was a piece where Adam Alexander sat down with Brad Keselowski to talk about the importance of the Camping World Truck Series to him.  The piece was more or less based on a blog Keselowski wrote back in March about acquiring the team's current shop and making it his, despite his previous history with the place.

Since a fair amount of both the feature and the blog itself was shielded in regards to details, I can add a little to this.  Yes, K-Automotive Motorsports effectively went bankrupt.  Keselowski has discussed this in detail on his blog in the past.  That's indisputable.  Based on who was using the No. 29 after the points sale, it can be assumed that the building once belonged to Morgan-Dollar Motorsports.  At the time of the points sale, they had one full-time truck (No. 85 for Dennis Setzer with Shell Rotella-T and Flex Fuel E85 sponsorship), but they also had a second truck, the No. 47 for Kraig Kinser.  The son of the 20-time World of Outlaws champion crashed out at Daytona (in the same crash that also eliminated Keselowski), then DNQ'd in Fontana a week later.

Ultimately, Morgan-Dollar Motorsports used the No. 29 for two races, then switched Kinser's number again from No. 29 to 46.  Kinser underperformed in the truck and was released in the middle of 2007 with one career top 10 finish.

Also, it appears that Samson Stone was the sponsor that didn't pay.  At the same time that they were sponsoring Keselowski, they also backed Regan Smith at Glynn Motorsports in the then-Busch Series.  Seems like they stretched themselves too thin.

The idea here is that Morgan-Dollar Motorsports was everything that Keselowski wanted K-Automotive Motorsports (and later, BKR) to be, but it just wasn't in reach at the time.  The fall of Morgan-Dollar Motorsports is just another sign that success is fleeting.  Two years and change after Keselowski signed his points over to David Dollar, the team was rebranded as Randy Moss Motorsports.  By the middle of 2011, the building was dark and the team was all but dead.

I didn't really learn anything from the piece.  However, the feature does go a ways to show how dedicated Keselowski is to the Camping World Truck Series. 

The race itself was like a hybrid race at Bristol.  By that, I mean that there was a bunch of racing on the inside, but it was possible to make passes on the outside.  This is probably the most like the pre-concrete Bristol style of racing from the late 1980 and early 1990's that I've seen out of Bristol since the place was concreted.  If this is the style of racing we get for the rest of the weekend, I think fans are going to be happy.  Maybe its too late to boost attendance for this weekend, but it should help for next year.

FOX Sports 1 did a pretty decent job showing some of the on-track battling for position.  However, it was rather difficult at times since everything happens so fast at Bristol.  As a result, the broadcast did miss some of the good stuff.

I do believe that FOX Sports needs to take advantage of what they have at their disposal.  Back in 2009, Carl Edwards had issues that led him to go behind the wall for a stretch.  Viewers could hear Edwards talking about the issues via his radio, but the commentators were acting like everything was fine.  You had a somewhat similar issue Wednesday night when Ben Rhodes slowed late in the race.  The booth was convinced that Rhodes had run out of fuel, which was plausible because he hadn't pitted from the start of the race and it was lap 126.

However, it was not a lack of fuel.  The engine had turned traitor on Rhodes.  Rhodes stated as much on his radio, which aired more-or-less live on the broadcast.  Despite that, the booth still insisted Rhodes was out of fuel until they showed Rhodes in the garage. 

In regards to the aforementioned 2009 instance, I asked Dr. Jerry Punch about that Phoenix race back then.  He stated (more or less) that the booth didn't hear the audio that the viewers did that night.  Gotta use your listening skills, folks.  They're crucial.

Apparently, tires were supposed to be a big story, but no one really mentioned them until after halfway since most of the leaders only pitted once.  The wear was rather significant with shoulders showing cords.  FOX Sports did a good job at showing viewers the issues that drivers were dealing with.  Despite smoke from an unrelated clash, wear is probably what blew the left front tire on Cameron Hayley's No. 13.

There were also absolutely no replays of Jordan Anderson's incident on the backstretch that brought out the eighth yellow on lap 173.  No real analysis on what caused it either.  Just that it happened and the fact that Anderson got back underway without getting lapped. 

Also, in regards to Tommy Joe Martins' spin, the booth noted the smokescreen that he put up when he spun, but the smoke seemed to stick around quite a bit longer than you'd expect.  He ended up spending some time behind the wall as well.  I'm unclear as to what happened there, to be honest.  I don't know if that was power steering issues (which technically took him out of the race or what).  Watching the race, I thought he'd lost an oil line.  That's the kind of information that FOX Sports needs to bring to viewers, regardless of who it is.

Since the race was rain-delayed, the event was already an hour past the end of its timeslot by the time the checkers flew.  As a result, post-race coverage was fairly limited.  Viewers saw interviews with the top finishers (Ben Kennedy and Brett Moffitt) and winning crew chief (Joey Cohen).  They also got a quick check of the points before FOX Sports 1 left air.

Also, there was an audible profanity yelled in Victory Lane by Spencer Gallagher that made air.  Vince Welch apologized for the audible MF-bomb, but I don't feel like that was necessary.  It's one thing if something like that is in your contract, but doing that just draws attention to it.  Also, it was after 11 p.m.  Stuff that's way worse than that airs on a regular basis that time of night.

Having said that, its still better than ESPN's attempt to censor an interview on SportsCenter with Conor McGregor yesterday.  Rule of thumb: If you don't want to air profanities, don't air a live interview with Conor McGregor.  Tape that piece and air it later after bleeping out the inevitable F's, BS's, MF's and S's, among other obscenities. The man curses darn near every other sentence.  The censorship of his interview with Lindsay Czarniak as aired was deplorable.  You could hear him cussing (including at least one F-bomb) before the mute button was pushed, as to say someone was the booth watching it, then heard the cussing and realized, "Oh snap, I have to push the button!"  Instead of actually censoring what was supposed to be censored, likely non-objectionable content got cut out because of the shoddy censorship.

Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for  He can be reached via e-mail at
Frontstretch Line of the Week
From Beyond the Cockpit: Garrett Smithley on His Accelerated Ride up the NASCAR Ladder

"I'll be honest, I was really, really nervous for that first Truck race at Atlanta. I had been on it with the Petty experience and had been around that track several times with those cars but it's completely different thing. I had never driven a truck before at 180 mph. I was watching interviews, watching tape and trying to learn as much as possible before going in there. And everybody was saying that Atlanta is one of the hardest 1.5-mile tracks.

I was just thinking 'Am I ready for this? Am I ready to go at Atlanta in a truck? Am I going to wreck it first lap?' There is a lot of pressure, because if I go out and wreck it, then nobody is going to give me a shot after that.

I was going into it really cautious. But I knew, as soon as I did 3/4 of a lap, I got through turns three and four, I was completely comfortable. I said 'Oh, OK, I got this. This is good.' I just think doing that first start, we started 29th and finished 18th. We were super happy with that." - Garrett Smithley on his first experience in a truck at Atlanta.


by Sean Fesko and Michael Finley

by Huston Ladner

by Bryan Gable
by Toni Montgomery

Q: Bristol has traditionally been home to some unusual incidents.  Mike Bliss was the victim of one of them in the 1996 Coca-Cola 200.  What happened?

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

Wednesday's Answer:

Q:  Ernie Irvan earned his first career Winston Cup win in the 1990 Busch 500 at then-Bristol International Raceway.  The 1991 edition didn't go quite as well since Irvan was caught up in someone else's mess.  What happened?

A: Less than a lap after a restart, Hut Stricklin spun exiting turn 4 in front of most of the field.  He had tried to get to the inside of Mark Martin, but the two rubbed fenders.  Stricklin caught the apron and lost control.  The field scattered, but Irvan had nowhere to go but directly into Stricklin after the No. 12 bounced offr the wall.  The crash can be seen here.

Both Irvan and Stricklin ended up going behind the wall for repairs.  Irvan returned to the race and finished 18th, 51 laps down.  Stricklin ended up 97 laps down in 22nd.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll preview the Sprint Cup Series' Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, while also providing news from Thursday.

Zach Catanzareti returns to answer Four Burning Questions heading into this weekend's action in Bristol.
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
Got something to say about an article you've seen in the newsletter? It's as easy as replying directly to this message or sending an email to We'll take the best comments and publish them here!

Feel free to forward this newsletter if you have any friends who loves
NASCAR and great NASCAR commentary. They can subscribe to the Frontstetch by visiting
If you want to stop your Frontstretch Newsletter subscription, we're sorry
to see you go. Just send an email to from the address that you
recieve the Frontstretch Newsletter.

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Frontstretch" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
For more options, visit

No comments:

Post a Comment