Friday, August 05, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Kyle Busch Tops Thursday XFINITY Practices, Cup Takes to the Twisties

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Aug. 5, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXXXII


What to Watch: Friday

- Today, Sprint Cup and XFINITY teams practice at Watkins Glen International.  The XFINITY Series teams also qualifying at 4:30 p.m.

- IMSA has scheduled a press conference for 12:45 p.m. EDT at Road America where they will announce the 2017 schedules for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.  In addition, there may be announcements about the future plans for certain cars (LMP3, TCR, etc.) in IMSA.  We'll have a write-up on Frontstretch later this afternoon.


Dustin Albino (@DustinAlbino)
Aaron Bearden (@AaronBearden93)
Zach Catanzareti (@ZachRacing)

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

Martin Truex, Jr. Signs Contract Extension with Furniture Row Racing

On Thursday, Furniture Row Racing announced that Martin Truex, Jr. has signed a contract extension that will see him stay in the No. 78 Toyota for two more years.  In addition, Bass Pro Shops has expanded their sponsorship of the team starting in 2017.  Read more

Kyle Busch Tops Opening XFINITY Series Practice at Watkins Glen

In opening practice for the XFINITY Series Thursday at Watkins Glen, Kyle Busch was fastest with a lap of 72.065 seconds (122.390 mph).  Joey Logano was second quickest, followed by Kyle Larson and Paul Menard.  Justin Allgaier was the fastest XFINITY Series regular in fifth.  Read more

Kyle Busch Fastest in Second Practice, Sweeps XFINITY Series Sessions

The second XFINITY Series practice session on Thursday was second verse, same as the first.  Kyle Busch was fastest again with a lap of 71.704 seconds (123.006 mph). Kyle Larson was second quickest, followed by Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.  Justin Allgaier was again the fastest XFINITY regular in fifth.  Read more

Alex Job Racing, Leh Keen, Part Ways; Sven Müller to Drive

On Thursday, Alex Job Racing announced that Leh Keen will no longer drive the team's No. 22 Porsche in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.  Porsche Junior racer Sven Müller will co-drive with Cooper MacNeil this weekend at Road America.  Read more


Frontstretch Folio: Cheez-It 355 at the Glen
by Phil Allaway

This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series makes their second and final visit to a road course when the teams take on the newly-repaved Watkins Glen for 355 kilometers.  Coverage of the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen begins with Countdown to Green at 2 p.m. on USA. The green flag is scheduled to drop around 2:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon.  The race can also be heard on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

Records and facts

Last year, Joey Logano managed to lead less than a quarter of a lap all day.  However, it was the last quarter of a lap that mattered the most.  Kevin Harvick's Chevrolet burped between turns 9 and 10 and allowed Logano to pass entering turn 11.  Harvick's car came back to life and Harvick nearly got in the back of Harvick before the car quit again.  Logano claimed his first career Sprint Cup race on a road course.  Kyle Busch was second, followed by the stricken Harvick.  Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch rounded out the top 5.

Tony Stewart, who is depicted on a giant graphic on the side of the Media Center, is the all-time winningest driver at Watkins Glen with five career victories.  Jeff Gordon, who is subbing for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. once again, is second with four career wins (three in a row from 1997-1999).  Mark Martin won three consecutive races from the pole (1993-1995).  Four other drivers have two wins each.  Kyle Busch is the only one of the four that is active.  The others are Marcos Ambrose, Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace.

Track Facts
Track / Race Length: 2.45-mile road course, 90 laps (220.5 miles, 355.005 kilometers)
Banking: 6-10 degrees
Frontstretch: 2,150 ft.., flat

Backstretch: 2,600 ft., flat

Grandstand Seating: 38,900 (total capacity is closer to 95,000)
Pit Road Speed: 40 mph
Pace Car Speed: 45 mph
Opened: 1961 (first Cup race in 1957 on a country circuit located roughly where the current circuit is)




Remaining Pre-Race Schedule:

Practice No. 1: Friday, August 5, 12:30 - 1:55 p.m. on NBCSN

Happy Hour: Friday, August 5, 3 - 4:25 p.m. on NBCSN

Qualifying: Saturday, August 6 at 12:15 p.m. on CNBC

Say What?!

"Watkins Glen is a more flowy track than Sonoma for us. I think it probably compliments our cars a bit better, but it's much more difficult on the brakes. The brake systems have to deal with a lot more. It really sort of becomes the weakest link. At Sonoma you can't hurt the brakes, you can go 100 percent every lap, every corner. But I believe brakes will kind of be the topic of discussion while we are there. We are hoping for a good race for the Lowe's Chevy." - Jimmie Johnson

"Watkins Glen is just sheer speed. It's about being able to carry a lot of corner speed, and brakes are still an issue there. You are carrying so much speed there that, at the end of three long straightaways, you have to really be hard on the brakes to get slowed down. Going up through the esses at Watkins Glen is probably the coolest part of that racetrack because it's two blind corners at the top. You have to really be on the gas running fast, but it's fun. It's a very fun racetrack if you can get your timing down and get your car to do what you want it to do. It's a blast to be racing there." - Tony Stewart

"I like going to Watkins Glen. It's a road course, but it's kind of a high-speed road course. The difference in the two road courses, you think of Sonoma as like a Martinsville-type road course and you would think of Watkins Glen like a 2-mile oval, like a California- or Michigan-type road course. Watkins Glen has some speed and has some wide-open spaces a little bit, but there is still a lot great racing that happens there since you are able to out-brake people getting into the corners, or having a better run through the bus stop, or maybe getting by someone in the carousel. It's a fun place to race. We tested there a few weeks ago and think we learned some things. It will be interesting to see what changes when we get a full field out there racing together. I really like Watkins Glen and I hope that we can have another solid run there with our SNICKERS Crisper Camry." - Kyle Busch

"Obviously, we're excited to get to the race track with our CSX 'Play It Safe' Ford Fusion this weekend. We've got a win in our pocket and some points to gain to get into the Chase. We talked about it at the beginning of the season and the plan was always to try and make the Chase. That was the goal, so we're that much closer now. We've got a hole to dig out of just from the superspeedway results, but we're in a good spot and the cars have been getting faster each and every week.

"I love Watkins Glen. We ran really well there in the XFINITY car. I actually ran there with Front Row Motorsports last year for the Cup race. We were really good in practice and qualified decent, and unfortunately we had a mechanical failure on Lap 1. It made for a little bit of a long day. But we had a lot of fun in practice. I felt like I had a good feel for it. A lot of the characteristics of the XFINITY car actually carried over to the Cup car, which I was pretty surprised about. I think this can be another very good weekend for our team." - 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: Running Road Courses with Matt McCall
as told to Mike Neff

Q: In 1991, Tommy Kendall was a young up-and-coming racer with a bright future.  He nearly won the Banquet Frozen Foods 300k at Sears Point racing in place of the injured Kyle Petty.  However, his career was derailed later that year at Watkins Glen.  What happened?

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

Thursday's Answer:
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?

A: On the final lap, Kendall, Sterling Marlin and Bill Elliott all collided exiting turn 1, resulting in Elliott spinning and hitting the barriers.  That can be seen here.  Afterwards, there were some in the pits who weren't all that pleased with Kendall's racecraft.  One man allegedly went after Kendall with a cane.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have recaps of the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races from Watkins Glen, in addition to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's Continental Tire Road Race Showcase from Road America.

We'll have a series of post-race commentaries analyzing this weekend's action at Watkins Glen.
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