Monday, September 26, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Kevin Harvick Uses Late Restart to Snatch Loudon Victory

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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Sep. 26, 2016
Volume X, Edition CLXVIII

What to Watch: Monday

- The work never ends and there's another tripleheader coming up this weekend at Dover for the Sprint Cup, XFINITY and K&N East Series.  If anything of note breaks today, we'll have it for you at Frontstretch.

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

Kevin Harvick Clinches Berth in Second Round of Chase Winning New Hampshire

On Sunday, Kevin Harvick snagged the lead from Matt Kenseth on the final restart with six laps to go and held on to take his third win of the season.  Kenseth was second, followed by Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch.  Read more

Kasey Kahne Scores Fourth Consecutive Top-10 Finish

Better late than never.  Kasey Kahne may have failed to make the Chase, but he's come to life in recent weeks.  Sunday's ninth-place finish was his fourth straight top 10, the first time he's accomplished that feat since early 2013.  Read more

Elliott Sadler Survives for Statement Win in Chase Opener

Elliott Sadler escaped getting involved in any of the record 12 yellows on Saturday night and snuck past Ryan Blaney to claim his third win of the season in the 300 at Kentucky Speedway.  Daniel Suarez was second, followed by Blaney, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Matt Tifft.  Read more

William Byron Stomps the Field at New Hampshire

No one could touch William Byron Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  Byron led 161 laps on his way to his sixth win of the year in the UNOH 175.  Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Christopher Bell was second, followed by Matt Crafton, Tyler Reddick and Timothy Peters.  Read more

Truck of John Hunter Nemechek Fails Post-Race Inspection

John Hunter Nemechek finished ninth on Saturday at New Hampshire, a decent run to start the race.  Unfortunately, his truck failed post-race inspection.  Since the Camping World Truck Series does not have laser inspection, the rule changes announced Wednesday do not apply.  Penalties should be announced this Wednesday.  Read more

Kaz Grala Posts Career-High Finish at Hometown Track

For any driver, running well at your home track is important. New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the closest track to home for GMS Racing's Kaz Grala, and Grala brought home a seventh-place finish on Saturday.  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: Brad Keselowski Snags Points Lead with Comeback Run
by Phil Allaway

Brad Keselowski was really not very good early on Sunday.  He nearly got lapped on the track, but adjustments on pit road allowed Keselowski to come back up to a fourth-place finish.  That was enough to get him the points lead.  He is not officially locked into in the second round as of yet, but has a 35 point margin over 13th.  Keselowski's margin is only one over Chicagoland winner Martin Truex, Jr., who had one of the strongest cars all day.  However, a bad restart dropped him back to a seventh-place finish.  Kyle Busch is just one point behind Truex after finishing third.  Matt Kenseth is up three places to fourth after leading 105 laps and finishing second.

Joey Logano had a miserable day, spending a good chunk of the race down a lap.  A late Lucky Dog put him back on the lead lap, where he rallied to finish 11th.  That was good enough to keep fifth.  Kevin Harvick's victory moved him all the way up from 14th to a tie for sixth with Denny Hamlin.  Hamlin finished an unsatisfying 15th on Sunday.  Jimmie Johnson is eighth in points after finishing eighth on Sunday.

Chase Elliott ran well all day, but much like Truex, he got caught out by the late restarts and fell back to a 13th-place finish.  That dropped him three places to ninth in points.  Carl Edwards is down one place to tenth in points after a late commitment line violation.  Despite finishing fifth, Kurt Busch still dropped a place to 11th in points, while Kyle Larson used his tenth-place finish to move up to 12th.

Five points behind Larson are both Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray, who finished outside of the top 15.  Tony Stewart is another seven points back in 15th, while Chris Buescher is 30 points out of 12th in 16th.

Chase Point Standings: 1) Brad Keselowski 2087, 2) Martin Truex, Jr. -1, 3) Kyle Busch -2, 4) Matt Kenseth -9, 5) Joey Logano -14, t-6) Kevin Harvick -16, t-6) Denny Hamlin -16, 8) Jimmie Johnson -17, t-9) Chase Elliott -19, t-9) Carl Edwards -19, 11) Kurt Busch -20, 12) Kyle Larson -30, t-13) Austin Dillon -35, t-13) Jamie McMurray -35, 15) Tony Stewart -41, 16) Chris Buescher -60.

Best of the Rest: 17) Kasey Kahne 699, 18) Ryan Newman -23, 19) Ryan Blaney -57, 20) AJ Allmendinger -72, t-21) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. -92, t-21) Trevor Bayne -92, 23) Danica Patrick -165.

Regular Point Standings: 1) Kevin Harvick 941, 2) Brad Keselowski -32, 3) Joey Logano -88, 4) Denny Hamlin -106, 5) Kyle Busch -109, 6) Kurt Busch -115, 7) Carl Edwards -124, 8) Martin Truex, Jr. -125, 9) Jimmie Johnson -191, 10) Chase Elliott -192, 11) Matt Kenseth -196, 12Austin Dillon -210, 13) Jamie McMurray -213, 14) Kyle Larson -241, 15) Kasey Kahne -242, 16) Ryan Newman -265.

Outside the top 16, but in the Chase: 27) Tony Stewart -464, 30) Chris Buescher -542.

Race Winners: Denny Hamlin (Daytona-1, Watkins Glen, Richmond-2), Jimmie Johnson (Atlanta, Auto Club), Brad Keselowski (Las Vegas, Talladega, Daytona-2, Kentucky), Kevin Harvick (Phoenix, Bristol-2, Loudon-2), Kyle Busch (Martinsville, Texas, Kansas, Indianapolis), Carl Edwards (Bristol-1, Richmond-1), Matt Kenseth (Dover, Loudon-1), Martin Truex, Jr. (Charlotte, Darlington, Chicagoland), Kurt Busch (Pocono-1), Joey Logano (Michigan-1), Tony Stewart (Sonoma), Chris Buescher (Pocono-2), Kyle Larson (Michigan-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 Bad Boy Off Road 300 was brought to you by the letter F for "Fresh Tires."  While Kyle Busch couldn't get all the way up for the win late, he went on a charge after stopping for tires with 34 laps to go.  He made it all the way up to third and very well could have won the race if Trevor Bayne hadn't had wrecked in the final 15 laps. - Phil Allaway


Quotes to Remember: Bad Boy Off Road 300
compiled by Phil Allaway

"Just really proud of everybody on our ditech team for everything that they did today and for Rodney (Childers) leaving us out there.  Our car would fire off really good after the tires would cool off and we could take off. All those other guys were buried back in traffic.  We were able to time that last restart really good and I was able to keep the right side tires above the hash marks going into Turn 1.  That was really the key for me to get the car and get off the brake and get back to a little bit of throttle.

"We had a really good car in practice and qualified about where we have been on these types of tracks throughout the year.  I think as you look at the performance that we've had throughout the year it's been really good.  We just had to fine tune it in practice and made some good adjustments this morning and then the same thing throughout the race just were able to fine tune the car and make things a little bit better as we went on." - Kevin Harvick, race winner

"We were pretty good today. These guys did a good job, but we just didn't get that last adjustment in and got loose trying to hold off Martin (Truex Jr.) – the 78 (Truex) was better than we were and I just burned the right-rear off trying to hold him off. The last restart was my fault. The one before that I thought I did right and we heard from the tower down that they thought I slowed up before I restarted or something, so the last one I let Kevin (Harvick) lay back on me, which we're supposed to be side-by-side. I should have known better. I should have just went really late in the zone and wait until he had to get up to my nose because he anticipated it just right and laid back. Plus I spun the tires and I got beat through one and two and then it was over." - Matt Kenseth, finished second

"A solid run – our M&M's Camry was pretty good today. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys made some really good changes for me and gave me tires when it mattered most there. If it wasn't for those last couple of cautions, I thought maybe we had an opportunity to chase those guys down under green and pass them for the win. It wasn't meant to be. We managed our way through those restarts as best we could with restarting on the bottom, I feel like that's a little bit of a disadvantage. We made the most of it at least at the end and didn't lose spots, we were able to maintain our position and come out of here with a decent day. Excited about the opportunity to finish third and having a good points cushion. You can't take any of that for granted, you have to focus on what's ahead and the big picture and the task at hand, which is to have another good, solid week next week at Dover. Thank M&M's, Toyota, Skittles and NOS Energy Drink, Interstate Batteries and everybody that helps us on this car. We'll be ready to get them again next week." - Kyle Busch, finished third

"The Miller Lite team worked really hard on our Ford all day long.  We weren't near as fast as we wanted to be, but great execution on pit road, great execution with the pit calls and then the last few restarts went our way with being in the right lane on the restarts, which is so, so important on these double-file restarts, but also just staying out of trouble.  We're not as fast as we want to be.  We almost went a lap down at one point, but we kept our head down and got through it." - Brad Keselowski, finished fourth

"We had everything thrown at us, even the kitchen sink at one point.  I feel like the way that this team and everybody felt like we needed to have a solid finish, but you just can't ask for it.  It felt like we were up against the odds and then the car ran great.  Really proud of the overnight adjustments and what we did better this time around than when we raced here last time was restarts.  I think that showed that Stewart-Haas racing, we went to work on that, Kevin (Harvick) got the win today, real happy for him and we got a great top five with the Monster Energy Chevy." - Kurt Busch, finished fifth

"Well, you know we took two tires mid-part of the race there and lost the lead and that was really the race because I had a – I got inside (Matt) Kenseth five, six, seven times there towards the end and he just kept holding me down and getting me loose and I was afraid to wreck him, you know? He was running me in there real tight, so that was the last thing I wanted to do was get into him. Trying and trying and trying to get by him for all that, I just burnt my rear tires off a bit and then those restarts at the end I just couldn't get going. I'd spin the tires real bad and then be loose, really loose for a couple laps and then I'd be really tight after that, so just used it up trying to get by him and was hoping all those cautions didn't come – that's what you race for – but once we started getting all those cautions just the way I used the car up trying to get by him hurt me a lot on those starts at the end." - Martin Truex, Jr., finished seventh

"I think we finished 10th and that is better than where I have been here the last couple of years, so that is good.  Just a solid, consistent day, we got off there halfway through the race and lost some track position.  We were good on just short runs, then would be bad in the middle of the run and then I would be pretty decent again there at the end of the run.  We took two tires there late and needed it to go green.  I probably would have finished seventh or eighth.  We had some cautions there and was just able to kind of hold on for 10th.  I don't know where the points sit, but hopefully we made some improvement." - Kyle Larson, finished tenth

"It was a hard fight to say the least with the Shell/Pennzoil Ford. We took off awful, just like we did in the spring race too, it's crazy.  We went down a lap and fought all day and then finally got the lucky dog but not with many laps to make it up.  We made our car better, but didn't have enough time to get ourselves back up to where I thought we were speed-wise at the end.  I'm proud of the never-quit-attitude.  We're resilient.  We just need to start a little bit faster.  We can't lose that many spots at the beginning of the race and expect to battle back every time.  We did what we had to do.  We almost got a top 10 out of something that we ran around 20th all day, so at least we got something out of it.  We just need to go faster than that." - Joey Logano, 11th

"Truthfully, that was a heck of a fight and we are only five points out going into Dover and we struggled all week long.  We fought hard.  I never gave in, never gave up, our team never gave up.  They did a heck of a pit stop there to put us in a lucky dog position, just to gain us some more points.  A bunch of them guys are just right there.  Now we go to Dover and we've given ourselves a shot.  We just got to go run good there; got something new that we think is going to help us there.  I'm looking forward to it.  Just a whale of a fight by the guys." - Austin Dillon, finished 16th

"I thought I had a tire go down.  I don't know what else it could have been.   I hadn't been loose into three all day and all of a sudden it just jumped out.  We had some right side damage on that run and I couldn't tell you.  I don't know at this point.  The right rear looks up, but it just got really loose in and I backed it into the wall.  It was a hard hit." - Trevor Bayne, finished 38th (Crashed Out)

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



by Mike Neff

by Beth Lunkenheimer

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?

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

Friday's Answer:

Q:  The September race at Loudon replaced the Tyson Holly Farms 400 at North Wilkesboro on the schedule.  The 1989 edition of that race had a very memorable conclusion.  What happened?

A: Dale Earnhardt led on a late restart, but had some traction issues.  That allowed Ricky Rudd to get to his inside coming to the white flag.  As the two drivers went into turn 1 on the final lap, there was contact.  Both Earnhardt and Rudd spun out.  Geoff Bodine passed by and took the victory for Hendrick Motorsports.  The incident can be seen here.

Rudd was able to get back underway first and finished ninth.  Earnhardt ended up tenth, but lost ground in the points to Rusty Wallace, who finished seventh.


In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have breaking news from Monday, Tom Bowles returns with Numbers Game and S.D. Grady is back with Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View.

Amy Henderson takes a closer look at how some of the sport's smaller teams fared at Loudon in Underdog House.
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