Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: The Entry Lists are Out

Presented by Frontstretch.com
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Sep. 13, 2016
Volume X, Edition CLIX
What to Watch: Tuesday

- Tuesday should be a relatively quiet day.  Penalties from Richmond will be announced on Wednesday.


Tuesday's TV Schedule can be found here. 

Today's Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Entry List: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400

The official entry list is out for Sunday's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.  40 cars are entered as of now.  Matt DiBenedetto returns to the No. 83, replacing part-timer Dylan Lupton while Alex Bowman is back in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88.  Also, Joey Gase is back with Go FAS Racing as the revolving door of drivers running the No. 32 Ford continues.  Read more

Entry List: Drive for Safety 300

Saturday, 40 XFINITY Series teams will take to the track at Chicagoland Speedway for 300 miles of action.  Likely the biggest change of the week sees Clint Bowyer entered in JR Motorsports' No. 88.  It will be his first start in NASCAR's second-tier series in over four years.  Read more

Entry List: American Ethanol E15 225

The Camping World Truck Series entry list is out. 32 trucks are entered, but the big story is Matt Tifft.  Tifft has been cleared to return to racing after having open brain surgery in July.  He'll be running the Red Horse Racing No. 11 Toyota.  Read more

Josh Berry to Make Camping World Truck Series Debut

Contreras Motorsports announced on Monday that JR Motorsports Development Driver Josh Berry will drive the team's No. 71 Chevrolet in Friday night's American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.  It will be Berry's Camping World Truck Series debut.  Read more

Today's Featured Commentary
The Surprising Start to the 2016 Chase...Or Not
Sitting in the Stands: A Fan's View
by S.D. Grady

After the unsurprising, yet still notable conclusion to the 2015 season, NASCAR fans were ready for just about anything.  If a driver who sat out the first three months of the season due to a fractured leg could come back and dominate the Sprint Cup Series on his way to his first championship, then we were surely in for one exciting 2016 as new and exciting storylines popped up.

Well...I'm not so sure about that.

While the regular season has offered up a parade of exciting finishes, ones worthy of joining those included in our sport's history books, who has been involved in all the buzz has been pretty much more of the same.

Joe Gibbs Racing clearly stole the magic carpet out from under Hendrick Motorsports in the last six months of 2015, and have not handed it back.  All four JGR drivers won their way into this year's Chase--no big surprise.

Between the parties, gifts and trumpets Jeff Gordon's departure last season was almost as loud as his replacement's arrival.  High expectations were placed on Awesome Bill's son, Chase Elliott. He performed well--better than some predicted, but in the overall scheme, the No. 24 looked like a rookie piloting a well-funded team.  He got in, but did you really expect that team to just roll over?

Meanwhile, Tony Stewart's retirement year has been a crazy mixed bag of pain, depression and good old-fashioned stock car racing.  So, Smoke bumped his way into the big show by spinning out Denny Hamlin at Sonoma. Then, for the past two weeks he's been driving like the self-appointed Enforcer by cleaning off the track of drivers he thinks are getting in the way.  We've spent the past seventeen years trying to decide whether we love him or hate him. I guess we're just not meant to ever figure that one out.

Then there's Kasey Kahne, a prodigal son of NASCAR.  Or at least we always wanted him to be one.  Once again, the No. 5 team over in the Hendrick garage has been running a little less...everything. For those of us who subscribe to the mystery R&D formula, 2016 has done little to squash the rumors.  Is it the driver? Is it the equipment? Unfortunately, in a dozen years Kahne has never shown the consistency and aggression needed to linger inside the top 10 of the series. His exclusion from this year's Chase is simply not shocking.

The Penske boys, Keselowski and Logano, remain a pair of high-strung colts ready to rip up the track and take the big prize. Harvick, while struggling to get a pair of tires on his No. 4 in a timely fashion, is still a real threat.  Even Truex Jr.'s rise through the ranks in his "single-car team" fails to raise eyebrows when we take into consideration that the No. 78 is now an extension of the Gibbs regatta.

Is there anybody who is going to shock the shorts off the fans during these last 10 weeks of the year?

The only outliers remain in the Ganassi camp.  Personally, I don't see the Nos. 1 and 42 teams magically keeping it together for the final push. But if they did...

Well, Kyle Busch surprised us last year.  Perhaps hope remains.


Some good news! Matt Tifft, after undergoing brain surgery early in the summer to remove a benign tumor, will be returning to competition in the Camping World Truck Series this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway for Red Horse Racing. What a happy boy!

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: Federated Auto Parts 400
by Tom Bowles

Laps led for Jamie McMurray through the season's first 26 races. McMurray is now one of 16 drivers eligible to win the season title.

Career victories for Denny Hamlin at Richmond. All of them have occurred during the fall race.

Poles for Carl Edwards, the most of any driver during the regular season.

Average start for Denny Hamlin this season, the best of any driver during the regular season.

Finishing position for Michael McDowell Saturday night at Richmond driving for Leavine Family Racing. It's their best result on any track outside of Daytona and Talladega.

Caution flags Saturday night at Richmond, setting a new track record. 

Caution flags during the three previous Richmond fall races combined.

Top-10 finishes for Kevin Harvick during the regular season, the most of any driver. Harvick also ended Richmond as the regular season "points champ" before the reset.

Lead lap finishes for Kurt Busch, the most of any driver during the regular season. Busch completed every lap of every race besides his two DNFs (both wrecks).

Laps led for Kyle Busch, the most of any driver through the regular season. 

Laps completed for Brad Keselowski, the most of any driver through the regular season. Keselowski, with four victories is tied for the top seed in the Chase with Kyle Busch.

Tom Bowles is the Editor-In-Chief of Frontstretch.com. He can be reached at tom.bowles@frontstretch.com and found on Twitter @NASCARBowles.


by Danny Peters

by Matt McLaughlin

by Jeff Wolfe


Q: This weekend, Formula One returns to Singapore.  Over the years, there have been some unusual instances there, such as a man wandering onto the track and causing a safety car last year.  However, the inaugural Grand Prix in 2008 was very controversial.  Why?

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

Monday's Answer:

Q:  In 2002, Brian Vickers was a 18-year-old racing for his family's team in the Busch Series.  He was still very green.  The 2002 Tropicana Twister 300 is a good example of his inexperience on superspeedways.  Vickers qualified a decent 12th, but made an error that resulted in the end of his race.  What happened?

A: Vickers wanted to get past Kenny Wallace in the worst way, but Chicagoland Speedway had a very narrow groove at the time.  Wallace moved down to the white line, but that didn't stop Vickers from trying to go underneath him. Naturally, that doesn't work.  Vickers got on the apron in turn 1, spun and collected Wallace.  In a secondary crash, Stacy Compton and Mike Harmon collided, while Tony Raines and Kasey Kahne were involved as well.  The crash can be seen here.

Harmon and Compton, who both had significant damage, were out on the spot.  Vickers' team made some repairs in the garage, then returned for only a few laps before dropping out and finishing 31st.  Wallace finished 28th after getting involved in a second wreck later in the race.

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.
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