Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Dover & Las Vegas Entry Lists are Out

Presented by Frontstretch.com
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Sept. 27, 2016
Volume X, Edition CLXIV


What to Watch: Tuesday

- Preparations continue for this weekend's races in Dover and Las Vegas.  If any news breaks, we'll have it for you at Frontstretch.

- Tuesday's TV Schedule can be found here.


Today's Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Entry List: Citizen Soldier 400

The entry list for Sunday's Citizen Solider 400 at Dover International Speedway is out.  40 cars are entered.  The only notable change from Loudon is that Ty Dillon is in the No. 95 with Death Wish Coffee sponsorship.  Read more

Entry List: Drive Sober 200

For Saturday's 200-mile XFINITY Series race, 41 cars are currently entered.  Alex Bowman returns to the No. 88, while both of the Obaika Racing Chevrolets currently have no driver listed.  Read more

Entry List: DC Solar 350

For Saturday night's 350-kilometer Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 32 trucks are currently entered.  Ricky Benton's team for Parker Kligerman is back after an absence, while Matt Tifft is back in Red Horse Racing's No. 11 and Halmar International's Stewart Friesen is scheduled to make the long haul to Nevada.  Read more

Long Island Modified Racer Kyle Soper to Attempt Camping World Truck Series Debut

Riverhead Raceway Modified racer Kyle Soper has landed a deal to attempt to make his Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville.  Soper will be driving the No. 28 FDNY Racing Chevrolet.  Read more


Today's Featured Commentary
A Tale of Two Drivers: Karma Can Take Years Sometimes
Sitting in the Stands: A Fan's View
by S.D. Grady

It feels great when a car is running for the lead and the entire grandstand gets up to cheer. Such were the moments at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as Martin Truex, Jr. made a run for the front several times during the glittering September afternoon.  It was clear that the mild-mannered kid from New Jersey still holds a special place in the New England race fan's heart.

However, that giddy happiness does extend past the Magic Mile.  NASCAR Nation just plain likes Truex.  They also like seeing the single-car team of Furniture Row Racing reach for the Cup.  Just having the No. 78 in the Chase does our hearts good.  It's almost like we're heading toward the kind of happy ever after usually delegated to fairy tales.

Well, where there is light, there must also be dark.  The No. 15 struggled around the flat track on Sunday, bringing home a predictable 22nd-place finish while Clint Bowyer lingers above that magical 30th points place position in 27th.  This has not been a great year for the sunny midwestern driver.  In fact, he's been fighting to stay out of the toilet bowl since about the same time that Truex saw his career take a turn in the right direction.

We can call it karma or a reflection of each driver's ability.  But on a fateful night in September three years ago, both of the former MWR drivers got caught up in something they probably wish never happened.  In an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the final race of the regular season at Richmond, Bowyer followed orders by Ty Norris to spin out and draw a caution.  This was an attempt to ensure that Truex would slip into the 2013 Chase in the last wildcard spot.

After NASCAR was done destroying Michael Waltrip Racing's chances at snaring a Cup that season, the rest of the fallout for one of the most obvious cases of cheating in NASCAR history continued to hinder MWR's ability to compete in the future.

Truex did not wait for the complete destruction of his NAPA team, but instead left and took a ride in the sometimes competitive No. 78 for the 2014 season.  He declared he was hoping to raise this group of competitors into the upper ranks of the sport--they just needed a little help.  2014 went by with glimpses of improvement at the single car shop, but come 2015 Truex rocketed his team right up to the top, winning a race and finishing fourth in the Chase.  At the close of the year, Furniture Row announced their switch to Toyota and an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. From the first lap at Daytona, the No. 78 has been nothing but fast and has all the earmarks of a championship team as the 2016 season grinds to a close.  Cinderella's castle is glittering in the setting sun.

Meanwhile, Bowyer slogged on at MWR for 2014-2015 until the funding, contracts and sponsors fizzled out.  He did land the coveted No. 14 ride over at SHR for 2017, but 2016 held no hope.  Fortunately, his future boss Tony Stewart worked with their alliance over at Hendrick Motorsports and HScott Motorsports, and bodged together a ride for the future SHR driver in the No. 51 car, known for years as a backmarker and sometimes start-and-park Sprint Cup team.  As 2016 has passed by, so has Bowyer's year having led a single lap and finished in the top 10 just three times.  In three short years he went from a driver who was seriously competing for a Cup to somebody the booth can barely find time to mention. Sort of like he ended up in Shrek's swamp.

Will Bowyer find the silver lining in 2017 once he joins the No. 14 team?  That's a very good question.  There's no doubt the SHR crew know how to put together competitive rides, but Tony Stewart has been an excellent example of the driver is the one that puts the car in Victory Lane when all is said and done.  Does Bowyer really have the chops to follow in Smoke's footsteps?

Ultimately, while Truex and Bowyer were both unwitting participants in a dark moment in our sport, their paths prove life does go on, but not necessarily in the same direction. I'd love for Truex to take the Cup this year. In fact, I'd like to see Bowyer succeed over at Stewart-Haas when all is said and done. However, right now I can't help but feel that karma has been busy of late.  Here's hoping she doesn't need to be doling out so much of the negative kind in the future.

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.


Numbers Game: Bad Boy Off Road 300

Top-5 finishes in the last 10 races at New Hampshire for Martin Truex, Jr., despite leading 264 laps combined this season. His seventh-place result Sunday was his best during that time period.

Point lead Brad Keselowski holds over Martin Truex, Jr. heading into Dover. Truex and Sunday's winner Harvick are already locked into the Round of 12.

Chasers that finished outside the top 20 on Sunday. Tony Stewart brought home a 23rd-place result, followed by Chris Buescher in 30th.

Races where Martin Truex, Jr. has led the most laps without a trip to Victory Lane. New Hampshire joined Texas, Kansas and Richmond.

Consecutive top-10 finishes for Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 team, bringing his total to just 10 in 28 races.

Laps led by Kevin Harvick en route to his victory Sunday. It's the fewest circuits he's been out front for a race win since 2013 when he won Richmond after just three laps led.

Alex Bowman's average finish in the No. 88 Chevrolet since Dale Earnhardt, Jr. announced he wasn't returning this season. Bowman followed up a 10th at Chicagoland with a 14th at New Hampshire.

Clint Bowyer's finishing position for the fourth straight race. The streak started at Darlington and has continued through Richmond, Chicagoland and New Hampshire.

Margin Kasey Kahne holds over Ryan Newman for 17th in the standings. Kahne was the only non-Chaser to finish in the top 10 at New Hampshire.

Laps led by Martin Truex, Jr. and Matt Kenseth combined at New Hampshire. The pair finished seventh and second, respectively.



by Danny Peters

by Matt McLaughlin

by Jeff Wolfe


Q: The 1996 MBNA 500 at Dover is probably best known for Jimmy Spencer going after Wally Dallenbach, Jr. after crashing later.  However, those two drivers weren't the only angry men on this day.  What got the Bobby Allison Motorsports and Robert Yates Racing teams riled up?

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

Monday's Answer:

Q:  In the 1991 Peak AntiFreeze 500 at Dover, Harry Gant lapped the field en route to winning by the better part of two full laps.  However, the race was marred by a huge wreck early on.  What happened?

A: Just after a restart, Geoff Bodine got in the back of Chad Little exiting turn 2.  Little overcorrected and spun into the outside wall in front of much of the field.  The crash was on from there.  Ken Schrader, Dale Jarrett and Ernie Irvan all spun and hit the inside wall and the track clogged up.  Ultimately, 13 cars were swept up.  The crash can be seen here.

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:
Find out where your favorite driver ranks after New Hampshire when our experts from across the web weigh in for The 10.
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