Friday, August 19, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Bristol is in Full Swing

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Aug. 19, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXLII


What to Watch: Friday

- Today, Sprint Cup teams get on-track for practice and qualifying on the concrete at Bristol.  XFINITY Series Qualifying is scheduled for 3:15 p.m., while the race will be tonight.


Aaron Bearden (@AaronBearden93)
Amy Henderson (@Writer_Amy)
Mike Neff (@MNeffShortTrack)

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

Kyle Busch Paces Opening Cup Practice at Bristol

Despite being delayed slightly due to track drying, the Sprint Cup Series took to the high banks Friday morning for some practice time.  Kyle Busch was fastest with a lap of 14.878 seconds (128.969 mph), followed by teammate Denny Hamlin.  Kyle Larson was third quickest, followed by Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola.  Read more

Daniel Suarez Leads the Way in XFINITY Practice at Bristol

On Thursday, the XFINITY Series took to the track for what was supposed to be two practice sessions.  Due to rain, it ended up only being one.  Joe Gibbs Racing's Daniel Suarez was fastest with a lap of 15.223 seconds (126.046 mph).  Regan Smith was second fastest, followed by Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones.  Read more

Cale Yarborough to Drive Pace Car at Darlington

Darlington Raceway announced on Thursday that NASCAR Hall of Famer and South Carolina native Cale Yarborough will drive the pace car at the Bojangles' Southern 500.  Read more

Park Place Motorsports Withdraws from VIR

Following in the footsteps of Alex Job Racing's WeatherTech-sponsored No. 22, Park Place Motorsports announced on Thursday that they have withdrawn from Aug. 28's Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway.  The team is upset about the Balance of Performance in the GT Daytona class that they felt does not provide for an equal playing field.  Read more


Frontstretch Folio: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
by Phil Allaway

This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series makes their second visit of the season to Bristol Motor Speedway in Eastern Tennessee.  The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race can be seen on NBCSN starting at 7:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green. The green flag is scheduled to drop around 8:20 p.m. Saturday night.  The race can also be heard on PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

Records and facts

In last year's Irwin Tools Night Race, Joey Logano won the race off of pit road on lap 437 during the final caution.  From there, the Team Penske driver held off the pack to take his second win at Bristol.  Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer.

Amongst active drivers, there is a three-way tie for the most wins among drivers at Bristol.  Jeff Gordon (still driving the No. 88 in place of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.), Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch each have five career victories on the high banks.  Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards each have four wins, while Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have two a piece.

All-time, Darrell Waltrip is the winningest driver in the history of Bristol Motor Speedway with 12 wins, including seven in a row at one point.  Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace have nine each.  The Busch brothers, Gordon and David Pearson each have five.

Track Facts
Track / Race Length: 
0.533-mile oval, 500 laps (266.5 miles)
24-30 degrees
650 ft., banked 4-9 degrees
Grandstand Seating:
Pit Road Speed: 
30 mph
Pace Car Speed: 
35 mph
1960 (first Cup race in 1961)




Remaining Pre-Race Schedule:

Practice No. 1: Friday, August 19, 10 - 11:25 a.m. on NBC Sports App (also available on CSN New England, CSN Bay Area, CSN Mid-Atlantic, CSN Northwest and CSN Plus-Chicago, check availability)

Happy Hour: Friday, August 19, 12:30 - 1:55 p.m. on USA Network

Qualifying: Friday, August 19, 5:45 p.m. on USA Network

Say What?!

"We've led a lot of laps there but we just don't have the wins to show for it.  It's a track I definitely like. Everybody goes, 'How can you like it when you've not had any success there for a while?' To me, that's just motivation. It gives us the ambition to be successful.

"We can run so fast around the top of the racetrack, now. It's crazy speeds for a 3,300-pound stock car. You don't have a lot of time in the corners where you are off the gas to make big moves. You really have to be a lot faster. If you have had any kind of a good day, you are proud of it because it is a very physical track like Martinsville is and you are going to have to push and shove to get where you need to be, at times. You can push and shove and create your own problems, too, and take yourself out of the race because of that. You really have to put it together." - Tony Stewart

"I had a really good car at Bristol in the spring. The guys brought a fast car and we learned a lot. I didn't qualify as well as I had wanted to, but I'm going to work on that going back. We hit on a few things there during practice and the race and I'm looking forward to racing Saturday night." - Chase Elliott

"We had good speed in our Love's Travel Stops Ford at Bristol earlier this year. I was pretty happy with where the car was throughout the weekend. It was probably our best practice session of the year, speed-wise. We ended up in the bottom lane for a lot of the late-race restarts, so it made for a bit of a tough finish after having better track position most of the day.

"I do like going to Bristol. It is different than the old Bristol, but it's a lot of fun to drive. It's frustrating at times but still a good race. So, I'm excited to head back there. I feel like it's a place where we can definitely get a top-15 or even a top-10 for our Love's Ford Fusion and get some of those points we need.

"Everybody loves racing under the lights. It's just a little bit different atmosphere. The fans really come out; they love it. It's one of those races that everyone talks about. It's got the hype around it that makes it a big deal." - Chris Buescher

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

by Zach Catanzareti
by Sean Fesko

Tech Talk: Trent Owens on the Tires & Surface Changes at Bristol
as told to Mike Neff

Q: The 1995 Goody's 500 is best known for Terry Labonte wrecking at the line to take win (and also the water bottle incident between Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace).  However, Bill Elliott also took a pretty big hit exiting turn 2.  What happened?

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

Thursday's Answer:
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?

A: Bliss was on the outside coming off turn 4 with Spears Racing's Bobby Gill trying to get past.  Gill swept up the track and more or less ran Bliss into the wall.  Bliss' Ford climbed the wall and slid on its side down the frontstretch and onto the apron.  The crash can be seen here.  Dave DeSpain and Benny Parsons have the call for ESPN.

Bliss was ok, but none too pleased with the crash.  The right front tire off of Bliss' truck damaged the catchfence on the frontstretch before wedging itself in the front air dam of T.J. Clark's No. 23, requiring a red flag for repairs.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have recaps of the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races from Bristol, in addition to any other news that breaks.

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