Monday, August 22, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Kevin Harvick Conquers Marathon Day at Bristol; Follow FS For Live IndyCar Coverage!

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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Aug. 22, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXLIII

What to Watch: Monday

- Today, the Verizon IndyCar Series will contest the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.  The race, which was rained out completely on Sunday, will air live at Noon ET on NBCSN.

Follow along with Frontstretch reporters Joe Wolkin and Zach Catanzareti! We'll have updates on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as their Twitter accounts:

Joe Wolkin: @JosephNASCAR
Zach Catanzareti: @ZachRacing

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

Kevin Harvick Reigns Supreme in Rain-Postponed Bristol Night Race

After weather pushed the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race from a Saturday night to late Sunday afternoon start, Kevin Harvick took over up front when Kyle Busch suffered mechanical failure and claimed his second win of 2016.  Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. equaled his career-best finish in second followed by Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Chris Buescher.  Read more

Harvick, Stewart Share Frontstretch Celebration at Bristol

After Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag on Sunday, Harvick and teammate/car owner Tony Stewart collaborated on a special post-race dual donut celebration.  The occasion marked Stewart's final start at Bristol.  Read more

Kyle Busch Critical of Equipment, Justin Allgaier Following Bristol Crash

Kyle Busch had the strongest car Sunday, leading well over 150 laps until a failure in the left rear caused him to spin.  Afterwards, Busch was not so happy with his equipment, then ranted against HScott Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier and his spotter for Allgaier hitting him.  Read more

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Ends Emotional Tribute to Bryan Clauson with Second-Place Run

Bristol is one of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.'s best tracks.  On Sunday, he wore a helmet painted up in one of Bryan Clauson's paint schemes to a second-place finish, tying a career-best.  Read more

Pocono Winner Chris Buescher Enters Top 30 in Points After Bristol Top Five

For Chris Buescher, winning was just one aspect of what he needed to do in order to qualify for the Chase.  He also needed to get into the top 30 in points.  Buescher did that in style on Sunday, bringing the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 home in fifth.  Read more

Matt Tifft Details Recovery, Announces Upcoming Test at Hickory Speedway

On Friday, Matt Tifft held a press conference at Bristol Motor Speedway to talk about his ongoing recovery.  He's been cleared to drive and will test today at Hickory Motor Speedway in preparation for his return to racing.  Read more

Austin Dillon Outlasts the Field for Food City 300 Win

Austin Dillon assumed the lead under caution with just a few laps to go when Brad Keselowski ran out of gas.  From there, Dillon held off the pack to take his first career win at Bristol.  Justin Allgaier was second, followed by Kyle Larson, Elliott Sadler, Brendan Gaughan and Jeremy Clements.  Read more

Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski Crash Battling for the Win at Bristol

Late in Friday night's Food City 300, it appears that Sprint Cup veterans Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski would fight it out for the win.  However, the two drivers collided on the backstretch, putting Busch into the wall and collecting Ty Dillon in the process.  Read more

Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones Collide in Late Crash at Bristol

Joe Gibbs Racing ended up with a terrible night Friday at Bristol.  Prior to Kyle Busch's crash mentioned above, teammates Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones collided entering turn 3, sparking a multi-car incident.  Read more

ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Postponed to Monday Due to Inclement Weather

Sunday's ABC Supply 500 for the Verizon IndyCar Series was completely washed out by rain, the third straight major Pocono race to be postponed.  Mikhail Aleshin will lead the field to green this afternoon.  Read more

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

Chasing the Chase: Harvick Retakes Points Lead, Nearest Opponents Suffer Setbacks
by Phil Allaway

If there were no Chase in Sprint Cup, Sunday's race would have turned the point standings upside-down.  Kevin Harvick took his second victory of the year on Sunday while Brad Keselowski got caught up in the big crash late in the going.  The result was a 36-point swing.  Harvick entered Bristol nine points behind and exited up 27.  Kurt Busch was leading when he got loose exiting turn 2 on lap 373, sparking the big crash.  He ended up finishing 38th, which did not cost him a spot in points.  It did put him 70 points out of the lead, though.  Carl Edwards gained one spot to fourth after finishing sixth.

Joey Logano struggled with an ill-handling car at times, but managed to drag it to the front.  Later, he fell down the order and finished tenth.  That was still enough to boost him up to fifth in points.  Kyle Busch's mechanical failure and crash resulted in a 39th-place finish.  That dropped him two places to sixth.  Denny Hamlin's third-place finish didn't move him up a spot, but did move him closer to Kyle Busch.  Martin Truex, Jr. was once again a victim after Justin Allgaier hit him.  Truex finished 23rd, four laps down and lost significant ground to his rivals.

Jimmie Johnson had a relatively quiet day on Sunday, but managed to pull out a seventh-place finish.  That lifted him up one place to ninth in the standings.  That place came at the expense of Matt Kenseth, who was caught up in the big crash and finished 37th.  Austin Dillon's fourth-place finish moved him up two places to 11th.  Dillon is eight points in front of Chase Elliott, who faded after getting damage in the big crash to 15th.

Jamie McMurray finished a decent eighth on Sunday, which moved him up a spot to 13th.  Ryan Newman was a big loser on Sunday, hitting the wall and having a miserable day.  His 28th-place finish, 13 laps down cost him three spots.  He is now the last driver in the Chase on points.  However, Newman has a healthy 35 point lead over Trevor BayneKyle Larson and Kasey Kahne are another four points back.

Tony Stewart spent significant time behind the wall replacing the right rear hub and assembly.  Because of that, he finished 30th and dropped to 27th in points, still locked into the Chase for now.  Stewart has been joined by Chris Buescher, whose fifth-place finish on Sunday moved him up to 30th in points, 13 ahead of David Ragan.

Point Standings (1-16): 1) Kevin Harvick 762, 2) Brad Keselowski -27, 3) Kurt Busch -70, 4) Carl Edwards -73, 5) Joey Logano -78, 6) Kyle Busch -88, 7) Denny Hamlin -103, 8) Martin Truex, Jr. -132, 9) Jimmie Johnson -150, 10) Matt Kenseth -158, 11) Austin Dillon -166, 12) Chase Elliott -174, 13) Jamie McMurray -179, 14) Ryan Newman -186, 15) Trevor Bayne -221, t-16) Kyle Larson -225, t-16) Kasey Kahne -225.

Outside the top 16, but Chase-eligible: 27) Tony Stewart -362, 30) Chris Buescher -434

Race Winners: Denny Hamlin (Daytona-1, Watkins Glen), Jimmie Johnson (Atlanta, Auto Club), Brad Keselowski (Las Vegas, Talladega, Daytona-2, Kentucky), Kevin Harvick (Phoenix, Bristol-2), Kyle Busch (Martinsville, Texas, Kansas, Indianapolis), Carl Edwards (Bristol-1, Richmond), Matt Kenseth (Dover, Loudon), Martin Truex, Jr. (Charlotte), Kurt Busch (Pocono-1), Joey Logano (Michigan), Tony Stewart (Sonoma), Chris Buescher (Pocono-2)
Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for  He can be reached via e-mail at

Letter of the Race: Sunday's Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race was presented to you by the letter "F," for Forces.  Bristol is a nasty track when it comes to the forces rendered onto parts.  Kyle Busch's day came to an end when he had a failure in the left rear that lead to him spinning out.  Getting piled into by Justin Allgaier did not help things at all.  - Phil Allaway


Quotes to Remember: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
compiled by Phil Allaway

"Yeah, just really from the drop of the green flag, the car was really fast.  Our strong point was the top groove in 3 and 4.  Our weak point was being a little bit too free on restarts.  But I think as the runs would go, our car would just keep turning, and I think that was really our advantage.

"For me, I was excited that you were able to use the bottom of the racetrack, and the lap cars had an option.  You just didn't get pinned up high.  Really just want to applaud the racetrack for the effort that they made this weekend to really get that bottom groove working so that we had multiple grooves of racing, and I think today as a driver you had a lot of options to make your car work and maneuver through traffic and make up positions.  We started 24th and pretty much drove through the field because of that.

"I think Friday night was probably one of the best XFINITY races I've ever sat and watched.  Just really, really happy to see Bristol back where it is this weekend, and looking forward to coming back and obviously coming to victory lane is always exciting.  It's been a decade since I've been to victory lane here, and I know this is the race that he had circled on the calendar every year.  I was like, really, you're going to circle that one?  But it's definitely added some excitement for me over the last three years to come back to Bristol knowing how much it meant to him, and that's what motivated me.

"They give me great cars to drive, and tonight was no different." - Kevin Harvick, race winner

"It wasn't from a lack of hard work and being lucky a few times.  We really wanted to get this Bryan Clauson tribute car in victory lane.  It just wasn't meant to be today.  We made our car a lot faster throughout the race and came from two laps down to get back on the lead lap.  We missed some wrecks and gave it all we had.  I thought we were matching the 4 car there lap for lap, but he got away from us and we had to restart sixth there on that last restart, but it was an honor to drive this car.  All of the fans that came out this weekend.  This place was pretty packed last night.  Thanks to all the fans that were able to stay around.  I thought the track was really good.  You could run the bottom.  You could run the top.  We just wanted one more spot." - Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., finished second

"Yeah, we had a great car. We definitely got it a lot better there at the end and proud that we're able to come back from two laps down and get a good finish out of it, but still a good overall day for our FedEx Express Camry. Just came up a little short." - Denny Hamlin, finished third

"Well, it was challenging for our Dow Chevy. We really didn't have a car capable of winning the race, I don't think. We just struggled. My arms are worn out; I know that. But, I'm proud of the adjustments the guys made. One heck of a pit stop. My guys really helped us out with that and gained us some spots there to have that outside restart. And, it was fun there, you could tell I was a little tighter than (Kevin) Harvick there on the bottom, so I got to him there. Early in the run he jumped to the top and pulled me. It was fun here at Bristol, today. I'm glad that Bristol tried to get that bottom working. I think we can do a little bit more for it because that top is going to be dominant as it runs. It was a fun race." - Austin Dillon, finished fourth

"That was a lot of fun.  It's been a long time since we've come to the race track and enjoy it like that.  We had awesome speed out of our Love's Ford Fusion.  I'm really proud of the team.  This thing was good from the start of the weekend.  We kept working our way up towards the end and got to the top five, and almost got one there at the end, but I love Bristol.  I absolutely love this race track.  What they did with the surface worked out really well and made for some really good racing." - Chris Buescher, finished fifth

"It was a hard fought day.  We were just trying to get on either end of being a little bit too tight, a little bit too loose.  I thought we had kind of got in the happy medium.  We made the car as good as it could be with what we had right there.  Just tricky race track today.  At one point you would get the bottom rolling and think that is pretty good and then it goes away and try to find out how to run the top.  We weren't as good on the top and then I kind of figured something out late, but just a tricky race track, hard fought.  A little bit fortunate to miss a couple of those crashes.  I wish we would have had about 15 more laps at the end because I thought I had figured something out, but it is what it is, a top 10.  We've had some days where we feel like we should have gotten more and gotten stolen from us.  We will take a day like this." - AJ Allmendinger, finished ninth

"It was eventful Bristol.  It seems like at this race track there's always something that happens.  Whether it's on the team side or the driver's side it seems like that happens a lot at this race track.  There was a point during the race at about lap 400 where we got to the lead with the Shell/Pennzoil Ford and we were fast.  The race track was where we thought it would be and everything was kind of working as planned, and the next thing you know the 41 spun and we got some damage from that.  We pitted for that and had a lugnut off the left-rear, so we came in to fix that, and then it rained and the track just changed.  After it rained everything changed and the car wasn't as fast.  We got back up to 10th and I thought we were gonna drive to fifth on that last run because we were really fast the run before when the track was rubbered up, but once it cleaned up we just lost a little bit of speed." - Joey Logano, finished tenth

"I would have liked to have done it last night, but I'm glad we got this in.  I'm appreciative to the fans that stayed last night.  I know it's taxing on a lot of them, but we appreciate the fact that they stayed to watch.

"That is cool.  The funny part is [Harvick] got out of his car, got the flag and then he goes 'get in my car and go to Victory Lane with me.'  I went what?  He goes 'yeah, just leave yours here.'  I'm like I just can't just leave my car there, but that was cool.  I'm happy for these guys.  This is a hard place to win at.  There are so many things that can go wrong.  All it takes is one thing.  I mean we had a wheel that was loose and that messed our whole day up.  That was cool sharing that moment with him though." - Tony Stewart, finished 30th

"Something happened to the 41 in front of his and he got sideways.  I don't know if he had contact with Joey or if he just got loose, but once he got sideways we were already all kind of digging and I never saw him until I was in his door.  It was a heavy hit.  I hope Kurt's alright.  I guess maybe I hit him more in the left-rear than the door, but it's a shame.  We had been working on the Autotrader Ford and we had gotten it up towards the front.  We had a lot of short run speed and we were hoping the race would play out that way at the end and we would have had a shot at it, if that was the case, but instead we're here in the garage.  We'll try to get a finish out of it, but a bummer day for us." - Brad Keselowski, finished 33rd

"I don't know what happened.  I was watching the replay in there and somebody got loose.  We were trying to make ground on the top and before I knew it the 20 was sitting sideways in front of me and I hit him pretty hard.  It's unfortunate.  We had a really good car early and lost some spots on pit road being in bad spots and kind of lost our car a little bit halfway through, but got it back and thought we were just starting to make ground up and got in that wreck.  I want to thank Virginia Tech and Ford and Motorcraft and Quick Lane for what they do.  That definitely hurts, especially when you have a good car, but we'll just go on to next week." - Ryan Blaney, finished 35th

"I didn't really see what happened except for there was cars wrecking up there and I slowed down as much as the guy in front of me. I couldn't slow down any less than that or I would hit him. Chase (Elliott) bust out of nowhere, ran me over and 21 (Ryan Blaney) came through there wide open – I still don't know if he's lifted yet or not – and finished us off. As the wreck happened, you've got to slow down. Just not much I could do." - Matt Kenseth, finished 37th (Crashed Out)

"I don't know. It's a shame. The last few times we've been here, we've had really fast M&M's Toyota Camrys and we haven't been able to finish. We've been having parts failures here, so something we've got to address and fix. I'm really tired of losing races here with parts falling apart, so they'll hear about it on Tuesday. But the person that's really the biggest moron out there is the spotter of the 46 and the driver of the 46 (Justin Allgaier). I've been wrecking for half a lap and they just come on through and clean us out. That's stupid, so I don't know – frustrating day. Let's go home." - Kyle Busch, finished 39th (Crashed Out)

"Well from my point of view we got done in the corner.  I was trying to let the leaders go as best I could.  We were a couple laps down right there and let them go.  The No. 22 (Joey Logano) ducked in front of me getting into (Turn) 1 and I had to jam on the brakes pretty hard.  I got really loose and I was just trying to catch it.  That is when the spotter was telling me that the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) was spinning and he kept rolling down the hill so at first I committed to go below him because I was already on the bottom and then he was still coming down the hill so I tried to go out around the outside of him and unfortunately I just didn't make it.  The No. 22 was right there and just really a shame.  I hate it for these guys. This Pilot Flying J No. 46 team they did a good job all day.  We weren't up there battling for the lead, but we had a good solid day going.  I just cost us a decent finish. Thanks to them for letting me drive the car today.  Sorry to Kyle (Busch) that is the worst possibly scenario when the leader spins out and you hit them.  Just really frustrating." - Justin Allgaier, finished 40th (Crashed Out)

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



Thinkin' Out Loud – Kevin Harvick Wins 24 Hours of Bristol


Q: Open-wheeled 500-mile races tend to be very difficult events.  One false move and you're done.  There also seem to be races every few years where attrition is a factor.  The 1994 Marlboro 500 was one of those races at Michigan.  Scott Goodyear earned his final CART victory, but he earned it due to a quirky circumstance.  What happened?

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

Friday's Answer:

Q:  The 1995 Goody's 500 is best known for Terry Labonte wrecking at the line to take the 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 in that race.  What happened?

A: Elliott was running 11th when he cut a right front tire in turn 2.  The McDonald's Ford went up and hit the wall hard just past the crossover gate.  The design of the wall put Elliott up on two wheels briefly before coming down on all fours.  The crash can be seen here.


In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have breaking news from Monday, Tom Bowles gives you a stats breakdown of Bristol in Numbers Game and S.D. Grady returns with Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View.

Danny Peters returns with Five Points to Ponder following Sunday's action in Bristol.
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