Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Will Power Wins Rain-delayed ABC Supply 500 at Pocono

Presented by Frontstretch.com
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Aug. 23, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXLIV
What to Watch: Tuesday

- Today, a number of Sprint Cup teams will test at Chicagoland Speedway ahead of next month's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400.  Drivers scheduled to participate include Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, David Ragan, Ryan Newman, Chris Buescher, Brian Scott, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex, Jr. and Michael McDowell.  Fans with proof of ticket purchase for the race can watch the test for free at the track. 

- Meanwhile, a second day of testing is underway at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Camping World Truck Series rookies only.  William Byron and Stewart Friesen are just two of the drivers that are on-site having it (in Friesen's case, he may be a bit sore after flipping a sprint car at Lebanon Valley Speedway last night).


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

Will Power Wins at Pocono Raceway, Cuts into Simon Pagenaud's Championship Lead

On Monday, Team Penske's Will Power overcame a handling issue that prevented him from running in packs early on to win the rain-delayed Verizon IndyCar Series' ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.  Mikhail Aleshin was second, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who started last.  Read more

Alexander Rossi Launches Over Helio Castroneves in Pit Road Crash

Pit road issues in INDYCAR continued on Monday when Alexander Rossi was released from his pit into Charlie Kimball.  Rossi's No. 98 launched into the air and came down on top of Helio Castroneves.  It was a scary incident, but no one was injured.  Read more

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mikhail Aleshin Come Up Short of Pocono Victory

While Will Power walked out of Pocono Raceway with the trophy, the fastest cars on-track all day long belonged to Mikhail Aleshin and Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Aleshin was fast all day and led 87 laps, while Hunter-Reay started last and charged to the lead in less than 50 laps.  Read more

Simon Pagenaud Crashes, Impacts Championship Picture in Pocono

Simon Pagenaud's Monday at Pocono Raceway was mediocre at best.  Then, things turned downright horrid when Pagenaud crashed exiting turn 1 with 42 laps to go, ending his day and allowing his rivals to take huge chunks out of his points lead.  Read more

Takuma Sato Crashes Out Early in Pocono

On Saturday, Takuma Sato qualified third quickest and looked for the race.  His race on Monday ended up lasting less than five of the scheduled 500 miles before he lost control and slammed into the turn 3 SAFER Barrier.  Read more

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

Today's Featured Commentary
NASCAR Olympiad Update from Mid-Ohio
Sitting in the Stands: A Fan's View
by S.D. Grady

Last week, Rick Hendrick sat next to William Byron in the media center at Bristol to make a formal announcement of Byron's ascension into the XFINITY Series for 2017. Some eyebrows raised and there was a flurry of excitement in the Twittersphere.  What was all the excitement about?  Of course Byron should be moving up next year. He's had a blistering rookie season in the Camping World Truck Series with five wins and an average finish of 8.4. He is almost guaranteed to win the championship.

What snagged everyone's attention was the fact that Byron currently drives for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Liberty University No. 9 Toyota.  With his promotion, he'll be piloting a Chevrolet for the direct competitor of Joe Gibbs Racing.  Byron had essentially defected from the most successful development program in NASCAR and opted for a future with the stable that has won 242 times in the Sprint Cup Series.  Does this move most benefit Byron or Hendrick?

There's no doubt that Rick Hendrick is looking to the future of his Four Horsemen.  While vehement denials continue to be issued by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and HMS that the driver of the No. 88 might not return at all, more than a few people are wondering if his recent struggle with the concussion symptoms might herald an earlier retirement than recently anticipated.  Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson is no longer a spring chicken, either.  Yes, he may be seeking a seventh cup for his mantelpiece, but he's no longer a driver in his 30's. Time has a nasty way of pulling punches once you hit 40.

Then there's Kasey Kahne--the driver of the "non" R&D No. 5.  The adorable one has a healthy 17 wins.  However, he has only cracked the top 10 in points three times in his twelve year Cup career.  He's not considered the cream of the crop, but simply one of the few that regularly participate in the top 15.  At some point, sponsors are going to want a little more bang for their buck when they put their name on the fourth car in the Hendrick stable.

So, yes, Rick Hendrick needed to do something.  And in waltzed the clean cut kid with the shock of blonde hair and an easy smile. Like Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne, Byron oozes an all-American kind of persona.  In short, he's a perfect fit for the Hendrick orthodontically approved seat, besides the fact that he can actually drive.

On Byron's side...well, his current boss doesn't personally own an XFINITY team.  In fact, Kyle Busch is often found piloting the Gibbs second-tier machine.  When the Gibbs "development" program relies on placing their Cup drivers in XFINITY cars constantly, that leaves that much less room for a young kid to sharpen their skills before reaching for a seat in Cup.

So, when that good looking kid hops into a JR Motorsports car next season, understand that his future has just about been green lighted for a fast track into a Cup ride.  And both Hendrick and Byron got the best deal available.


In an attempt to add a viable bottom groove to Bristol Motor Speedway, track officials added a product they referred to as rosin to the inner lane.  The sticky substance certainly did the trick, as we were treated to two and three wide racing all weekend long.  I just wonder if we entered into the next era of track maintenance.  Treat the surface differently each race to generate new lanes and strategies among the teams.  Is that tampering or promoting?

S.D. Grady is a Senior Writer for Frontstretch and runs a NASCAR blog called the S-Curves. She can be reached via email at sonya.grady@frontstretch.com. Follow her on Twitter at @laregna and on her Facebook page (she's an author, too!) at https://www.facebook.com/Author.SDGrady.



by Danny Peters

by Matt McLaughlin

by Jeff Wolfe

The Underdog House: Tracking NASCAR's Small Teams From Bristol to Michigan
by Amy Henderson


Q: Formula One returns to Spa for the Belgium Grand Prix this weekend.  Literally anything can happen there.  The 1998 race is infamous for the start.  What happened?

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

Monday's Answer:

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?

A: Goodyear took over the lead on lap 227 as a result of the top two drivers in the race (Raul Boesel and Al Unser, Jr.) blowing engines within laps of each other.  The expirations can be seen here.

Goodyear ended up with a one-lap lead over Dominic Dobson and Arie Luyendyk, allowing him to breeze to victory.  It was the only victory for car owner Kenny Bernstein in open-wheel racing.
In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have the latest NASCAR news along with a weekly commentary from our Professor of Speed on the state of the sport.

On Frontstretch.com:
Amy Henderson returns with the weekly Frontstretch 5.
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
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