Monday, September 19, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Martin Truex, Jr. Wins First Chase Race, Flunks Inspection

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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Sep. 19, 2016
Volume X, Edition CLXIII

What to Watch: Monday

- No rest for the weary.  Teams are back to work today preparing for this weekend's action in New Hampshire for the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck series teams. Meanwhile, the XFINITY and ARCA series are at home setting up for Kentucky.

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

Martin Truex, Jr. Pulls Out 3rd Win of 2016 at Chicagoland

Martin Truex, Jr. passed Ryan Blaney on a green-white-checkered restart and held on to take his third win of 2016 and put himself inside the Round of 12.  Joey Logano was second, followed by Chase Elliott, Blaney and Brad Keselowski.  Read more

Martin Truex, Jr., Jimmie Johnson Fail LIS After Chicagoland

The joy for Martin Truex, Jr. and Jimmie Johnson was short-lived after Sunday's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400.  Both drivers failed laser inspection after the race, but just barely, minimizing the impact on their postseason chances.  Expect P1 or P2 penalties later this week.  Read more

Chase Elliott Unsurprised After Losing Race to Late Caution

For Chase Elliott, he was within four laps of paydirt on Sunday when Michael McDowell blew a right front tire and littered the track with debris to bring out a caution.  Elliott was then beat off pit road by Martin Truex, Jr. and forced to settle for third.  Read more

Kyle Busch Spins, Erik Jones Wins at Chicagoland Speedway

Kyle Busch seemed to have Saturday's Drive For Safety 300 in the bag, but a flat tire led to a late-race spin.  Erik Jones then took the lead from Clint Bowyer with nine laps to go and held on to win his fourth race of the year.  Bowyer had made his way to the front through late-race pit strategy.

Kyle Larson finished second, followed by Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suarez and Justin Allgaier.  Read more

2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Grid Set After Chicagoland Battle

Saturday's Drive for Safety 300 set the first Chase for the XFINITY Series.  Only three regulars (Erik Jones, Elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez) managed to win during the season, clinching their own spots early in the year.  They will be joined by Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Darrell Wallace, Jr., Brendan Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones, Blake Koch and Ryan Sieg.  Read more

RCR Adds Daniel Hemric to 2017 XFINITY Series Roster

Prior to Saturday's Drive for Safety 300, Richard Childress Racing announced that Daniel Hemric will be moving to the team to run full-time in the XFINITY Series for 2017.  It is unclear which team or sponsor that Hemric will have.  Read more

Kyle Busch Fends Chase Hopefuls Off for Chicagoland Truck Triumph

Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway was the final race before the Chase began, a chance for Truck Series title contenders to flex their muscle one final time.  However, Kyle Busch was in the field and completely content on ruining everyone's plans.  Busch led 95 laps to take the win over Daniel Hemric, Cameron Hayley, Christopher Bell and Johnny Sauter.  Read more

2016 Camping World Truck Series Chase Grid Finalized in Chicagoland

Friday night's American Ethanol E15 225 was the final night to lock into the Chase.  Six regulars (William Byron, Matt Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek, Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter and Ben Kennedy) won races to qualify, while Daniel Hemric and Timothy Peters got in on points.  Read more

Kyle Busch's Truck Fails Post-Race Inspection After Chicagoland Win

Following Friday night's American Ethanol E15 225, Kyle Busch's No. 18 flunked the post-race technical inspection due to a height violation.  Look for penalties later this week.  Read more

Taylor Brothers Win Lone Star Le Mans

On Saturday, Wayne Taylor Racing dominated the proceedings at the Circuit of the Americas to win the Lone Star Le Mans. Starworks Motorsport's Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow won Prototype Challenge, Earl Bamber and Frédéric Makowiecki won GT Le Mans for Porsche North America and Turner Motorsport's Jens Klingmann and Bret Curtis won GT Daytona.  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: Harvick Tops Point Standings at End of Regulation
by Phil Allaway

With the Chase underway, points are crucial.  Martin Truex, Jr.'s victory has temporarily given him the lead in the season standings.  However, he's looking at a points penalty on Wednesday.  When that happens, Brad Keselowski will likely take over on top.  As of now, he's one point behind Truex after finishing fifth; keep in mind, though whatever happens Truex is still expected to keep his "automatic bid" into NASCAR's second round.  

Further back, Kyle Busch ran eighth after starting from the pole.  That dropped him to third in the standings, but still within striking distance.  Next comes Denny Hamlin, who overcame being down on power due to debris getting stuck on the grille early to finish sixth.  That still cost Hamlin a position, though.

As you might expect, with the points reset strong performances Sunday caused a lot of Chase positions to change hands. Joey Logano's second-place finish moved him up four places to fifth in points.  Chase Elliott's third-place result moved him up eight places to sixth.  Matt Kenseth maintains the seventh spot after finishing ninth on Sunday.  One point behind Kenseth is Jimmie Johnson in eighth.  Johnson wound up 12th after getting busted for speeding on pit road late.  However, the likely penalty that is coming his way will drop him further down the order.

Carl Edwards fell back four spots to ninth after finishing 15th at Chicagoland.  Behind him, Kurt Busch rounds out the top 10 after finishing 13th on Sunday.  Jamie McMurray is up five places to 11th after finishing 11th.  Tony Stewart is 12th after running 16th on Sunday and taking advantage of two Lucky Dogs.

Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick are tied for 13th after very different days.  Harvick got caught a lap down when the yellow flew during pit stops for a loose tire and was never able to fully make it up.  He would eventually finish 20th.  Dillon, for his part was 14th and off a step from most of the other Chasers.  

Kyle Larson is 15th after he was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop in the last ten laps due to tire woes. The stop cost him a likely top-10 result after starting from the rear.  Chris Buescher rounds out the top 16 and has already fallen 12 points outside the top 12.

Chase Point Standings: 1) Martin Truex, Jr. 2050, 2) Brad Keselowski -1, 3) Kyle Busch -4, 4) Denny Hamlin -5, 5) Joey Logano -7, 6) Chase Elliott -11, 7) Matt Kenseth -12, 8) Jimmie Johnson -13, 9) Carl Edwards -18, 10) Kurt Busch -19, 11) Jamie McMurray -20, 12) Tony Stewart -22, t-13) Austin Dillon -23, t-13) Kevin Harvick -23, 15) Kyle Larson -24, 16) Chris Buescher -34 

Best of the Rest: 17) Kasey Kahne 667, 18) Ryan Newman -12, 19) Ryan Blaney -54, 20) AJ Allmendinger -60, 21) Trevor Bayne -63, 22) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., -77, 23) Greg Biffle -157.

Regular Point Standings: 1) Kevin Harvick 897, 2) Brad Keselowski -26, 3) Joey Logano -74, 4) Denny Hamlin -88, 5) Kyle Busch -104, 6) Kurt Busch -107, 7) Carl Edwards -116, 8) Martin Truex, Jr. -117, 9) Chase Elliott -177, 10) Jimmie Johnson -190, t-11) Austin Dillon -191, t-11Jamie McMurray -191, 13) Matt Kenseth -192, 14) Kyle Larson -228, 15) Kasey Kahne -230, 16) Ryan Newman -242.

Outside the top 16, but in the Chase: 27) Tony Stewart -438, 29) Chris Buescher -511.

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), Kyle Busch (Martinsville, Texas, Kansas, Indianapolis), Carl Edwards (Bristol-1, Richmond-1), Matt Kenseth (Dover, Loudon), 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 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 was brought to you by the letter "L" for "Luck of the Draw."  Chase Elliott was just a couple of minutes away from claiming his first career Sprint Cup Series victory when Michael McDowell blew his right front tire and littered the track with debris.  With pit strategy being played, he ended up restarting fifth after getting beat out of the pits by Martin Truex, Jr.  That ended up being the difference as Truex won with fresh tires while Elliott finished third. - Phil Allaway


Quotes to Remember: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400
compiled by Phil Allaway

"We have more races to win – the more we can win, the better. What can I say? There are so many people who are responsible for this and I'm glad I get to drive this No. 78 with Cole Pearn (crew chief) and everybody on this team. Barney (Visser, owner) gives us everything we need. Thanks to TRD – the engines were incredible again – Andy Graves (TRD Vice President) and those guys are doing a heck of a job. JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) builds our chassis and we have competition meetings with them and all that stuff, it has been an awesome relationship. What can I say – this is how we want to start off. This feels awesome.

(On the unscheduled stop for the tire issue) "Don't give up, just keep digging and there was only one way to go with that tonight. On one hand, the bad luck was going to bite us and on the other, we had a lot of time to battle back. We're lucky it happened early and we were able to have an awesome race car all day. We'll just keep working on it. We knew we weren't that good early in the race and we struggled in traffic a bit. (Kevin) Harvick ran into us and bent our fender, I think on purpose and we had to come back from that. All in all, just an unbelievable day – it was a total team effort, that's what it's going to take to win the championship. - Martin Truex, Jr., race winner

"Yeah, just overall very proud of what this No. 22 team was able to do all weekend.  Brought a very fast racecar, one that was capable of running top three for sure.  Just took us a while to get to that point.  Then, anytime a caution comes out late like that, that's the definition of pressure for a pit crew.  You're in the Chase, there's a lot on the line, you're coming down to the end to win a race.  They executed and beat the No. 11 off of pit road. Couldn't be more proud of the way they handled the pressure and the way the pressure made them better.  That's pretty neat.  It's a big thing to look forward to through the next nine weeks, we can handle it.  Showed it today.  Can't wait to get to New Hampshire and continue this momentum. Obviously, a second‑place finish gives us a decent cushion for the next couple races, but we got to keep attacking the way we are right now." - Joey Logano, finished second

"Nothing is yours until it's over.  I mean that is part of life, man.  You are not dumb, we have all watched this stuff long enough we know these races don't go green that long.  We see more cautions come out at the end of these races than we do not. That is just part of it, you've got to expect it and be able to embrace it and move forward.  I feel like we did a good job controlling the things that we could control today.  We had a fast NAPA Chevy.  I appreciate everybody's hard work this weekend, Hendrick (Motorsports) was strong; that is good to see.  Like I said, there are some things you just can't control with the amount of guys that stay out and where you line up on a restart.  We played the cards we were dealt and came up short." - Chase Elliott, finished third

"The decision [to stay out during the final caution] wasn't difficult at all. We kind of made that decision before everyone else came and we had nothing to lose as far as points. I wish a couple more cars stayed out. You never know. Those guys were on me so fast. We had a really good car all day. We started way back in the field and made it up there pretty quickly. We got our car decent at the end. We gambled and I prefer to do that. I prefer to take a gamble to stay out and try to hold those guys off." - Ryan Blaney, finished fourth

"It was uneventful. We didn't step on our toes and nothing really bad happened. We did the best we could, I thought we were a third-place car and we ended up sixth, I can't be too disappointed with that. You always want to be within a few positions of what you're capable of in the first Chase race." - Denny Hamlin, finished sixth

"We probably would have ended up third or fourth if it weren't for my pit road speeding penalty there. It's that time of year, I guess where I screw up a lot so hate it for my guys and all the work that they've done on the Skittles Camry – it was really fast, we just need to work on some more outright speed and make it better and chase up those guys." - Kyle Busch, finished eighth

"It means a lot that Hendrick Motorsports has taken a chance on me and I really appreciate the opportunity to be here and we wish Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) a speedy recovery. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and Axalta worked so hard. They brought a great race car. We were really good at the start of the race. It didn't seem to like the initial takeoff, but once we built air pressures it seemed pretty solid. But we were running sixth or eighth there; and then, we had two really bad runs and fell back. We tried some pit strategy and got pretty good there at the end. Greg (Ives, crew chief) made a good call to take two (tires) and recover from those two bad runs we had and get us a solid top 10." - Alex Bowman, finished tenth

"Yeah, very proud of this Lowe's team, everybody at Hendrick Motorsports.  We are digging.  I'm just… I just can't believe I got in trouble down there leaving the pits. I feel terrible for these guys. It should have been a top-5 day, but I will back down pit road even more and try not to make that mistake. Hats off to the team for our fast Lowe's Chevrolet, I just screwed up." - Jimmie Johnson, finished 12th

"It wasn't much fun, but I was proud of Mike (Bugarewicz, crew chief) and the guys on the Rush Truck Centers Chevy.  We were probably a car that was going to be three or four laps down if we had to race yesterday.  Today, we got the lucky dog twice, but we were much better - we just weren't good enough to be where we needed to be.  We gained on it, for sure.  But you gain on it and still aren't going to be good enough to move to the next round if we don't get better than this." - Tony Stewart, finished 16th

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 2005, Kurt Busch entered into Loudon as the defending champion of the Sylvania 300 and the defending NEXTEL Cup champion.  His title defense went into the toilet, though almost as soon as the green flag fell.  What happened?

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

Friday's Answer:

Q:  In 2005, Dawayne Bryan picked up his one and only career victory in the ARCA Racing Series at Chicagoland Speedway.  That victory was not easy.  The last couple of laps were a real nailbiter for Bryan.  Why?

A: This particular ARCA race came down to fuel mileage.  A late caution bunched the field up for the last couple of laps.  Bryan, who had been leading since lap 104, was right up against not being able to make it to the finish.  Exiting turn 2 on the restart, Bryan's Dodge stumbled, which must have given him quite the scare.  However, the No. 65 came back to life, allowing Bryan to hold on to take the win.


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 Chicagoland in Underdog House.
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