Thursday, August 04, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: IMSA Entry Lists are out; XFINITY Series Starts Turning Left and Right

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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Aug. 4, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXXXI
What to Watch: Thursday
- Today, the race weekend officially gets underway at Watkins Glen International.  XFINITY Series teams have two practices scheduled for today.  Neither session will be televised.

Thursday's TV Schedule can be found here.

Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

IMSA Road America Entry Lists Out

IMSA has released updated entry lists for this weekend's action at Road America.  44 teams are entered in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's Continental Tire Road Race Showcase (41 expected to start), while 37 are entered in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race.  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.

However, in lieu of a new story, Potts did send in a response to S.D. Grady's Sitting in the Stands: A Fan's View from Tuesday's Newsletter about the fog on Monday in Pocono.

I had something similar happen to me at I-75 Speedway in Mt. Vernon, Ky. back in 2002...

This is a 3/8-mile paved track, and we had only the Late Model feature left to run when the heavy fog hit suddenly.

I was announcing, and I (along with about 25 fans, suggested we take the hoods off the cars. Maybe the heat would help.

Obviously, this wouldn't work on a big track like Pocono, but it did work for about 15 minutes on that short oval.

However, about ten laps in, the cars being stretched out must have had an effect, because it closed back in again. DW's vortex theory definitely doesn't work on fog.

The flagman called me and asked what to do. I told him it was his call. He asked what I would do. I said I'd call it off as soon as I was unable to read the numbers when they were on the backstretch. 

He immediately called it off. 

By the way, when the fog lifted an hour later the track was still there.

The Critic's Annex: ModSpace 150
by Phil Allaway

Welcome back to the Critic's Annex, where additional races are critiqued.  Last weekned's action at Pocono Raceway was a tripleheader with the Pennsylvania 400 being the headliner.  Prior to Saturday's edition of Wrecks 'r' Us, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards raced on Friday night.  This race was interesting.

Similar to the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis that we critiqued last week, the duo of Ray Dunlap and Phil Parsons were in the booth.  Heather DeBeaux returned to her role as the second pit reporter (that she had in Iowa), joining regular pit reporter Jim Tretow.  I generally like DeBeaux as a pit reporter and its pretty clear to me that the teams in the K&N Pro Series West are happy that she's the regular pit reporter for their tape-delayed race broadcasts.  When Derek Pernesiglio turned up to work the K&N West race at Stateline Speedway in Idaho last month, all the teams were asking him where DeBeaux was.

Prior to the race, FOX Sports 1 aired a General Tire driver profile of Will Kimmel, a man who seems to have something less than zero luck these days.  Kimmel talked about his family's racing origins (which date back to 1949) and Kimmel Racing.  Honestly, not a whole lot there about Will.  Maybe that's the way he likes it.  Regardless, it was kind of thin.

Before we get into the race critique itself, the Grand Marshal (William Mann, Vice President of Motorsports for ModSpace) added in an out-of-place "Go Trump!" to his command to start engines.  I don't particularly care what your political affiliation is, Mr. Mann, but that was inappropriate.  Don't do that here.  Besides the fact that it was inappropriate, you're representing ModSpace. I'm pretty sure they're not fans of your move either.

The big story on Friday evening was the pit road incident that saw Gus Dean hit two of his crewmen after losing his brakes.  The two men went flying.  At the time I saw this, I thought Pedro Martinez (tire carrier) would have been more seriously hurt since he did a complete flip in the air before coming down.  He would have been, had he landed on his head, which was very much in play.  Instead, it was Jackman Jon House who took the brunt of the hit.

FOX Sports 1 chose to wait on replays until they knew that both crewmen were up and walking.  Martinez apparently got up fairly quickly and walked away under his own power.  House was stabilized on his back before a neck brace and brought in.  Given the backboard, it appears that the plan was to load House onto a stretcher.  However, House later walked to the ambulance with assistance. 

As for the replays, they were ugly.  Not in production values, but the content.  Ouch, that hurts.  The shot from Dean's in-car was excellent in showing how his car simply refused to stop.  The head injuries to House are concerning to me.  It's like he suffered the same injuries that he would have if he weren't wearing a helmet.

The actual race coverage was pretty good.  There was a fair amount of racing for position out there amongst the frontrunners and that action was covered.  I do feel like there really wasn't much action shown below about 12th or so.  Then again, there were only 28 starters Friday and a number of those teams were uncompetitive/start-and-parkers.  There's only so much action to go around.

Also, ARCA does seem to have a pretty lenient view when it comes to starts.  The aforementioned Will Kimmel blatantly jumped the start, yet was not penalized because he gave the spots back.  That would have been a pass-through in NASCAR regardless.  The booth called Kimmel out for his jump start, which seemed

Post-race coverage was a little above average for ARCA races on FOX Sports 1.  Viewers were provided with four post-race driver interviews, winning crew chief Chad Bryant. and checks of the unofficial results before they left the air.

Overall, I enjoyed the race, but the field cannot do much with Chase Briscoe right now.  He's like Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder.  Once he started winning, not much can stop him.  The pack will have another chance this weekend in Berlin, but its not going to be easy.

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: Aric Almirola Dishes on Daytona Win, 2016 Struggles

"For us it's really just getting back to being competitive. Where we're at in points, the Chase is going to be really, really challenging. It would take practically a miracle to make that happen. We've just go to get back to where we can run competitive, run in the top 15 and do the things we'd been doing really well for the past couple years."  - Aric Almirola, on what Richard Petty Motorsports needs to do in order to improve.


by Dustin Albino and Sean Fesko

by Amy Henderson

by Bryan Gable
by Toni Montgomery

by Beth Lunkenheimer


Q: As we all know, racing is a very emotional sport.  Tommy Kendall, then a Trans-Am regular, finished eighth in Marc Reno's No. 40 EDS Chevrolet.  After the race, he had to do some dodging.  What happened?

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

Wednesday's Answer:

Q:  In 1995, Joe Bessey won the Busch North Series Burnham Boilers 150 at Watkins Glen International.  However, Bessey's win was overshadowed by an incident coming to the finish.  What happened?

A: Sifton was coming to the finish in fifth when he was hit from behind exiting turn 11 by Curtis Markham.  Sifton spun and hit a group of water barrels protecting the blunt end of the pit wall (today, these barrels are filled with sand).  The force of the hit rolled the car over once before it stopped right side up.  The crash can be seen here.

Sifton walked away from the crash with some bruises, but was otherwise ok. He was credited with a 12th-place finish, one lap down as he was unable to get to the start-finish line after rolling the car.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll preview the Sprint Cup Series' trip to Watkins Glen, while also providing news from Thursday.

Zach Catanzareti returns to answer Four Burning Questions heading into this weekend's action in Watkins Glen.
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