Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Richmond Entry Lists are Out

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Sep. 7, 2016
Volume X, Edition CLV
What to Watch: Wednesday

- Today is penalty day in NASCAR and we have some takers.  First off, Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman's cars flunked inspection after the Bojangles' Southern 500.  Expect point penalties for both.  You also have the mess at the end of Sunday's Chevrolet Silverado 250k.  Expect fines and probation for both Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemechek.  Finally, you'll have the weekly assortment of warnings.  It sounds like a busy document.  We'll have a write-up for you later today at Frontstretch.

Wednesday's TV Schedule can be found here.

Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Entry List: Federated Auto Parts 400

Tuesday afternoon, NASCAR released the entry list for Saturday night's Virginia 529 College Savings 250.  41 cars are entered.  Matt DiBenedetto will drive the No. 93 on Saturday while Dylan Lupton will be locked into the race.  Read more

Entry List: Virginia 529 College Savings 250

The entry list for Friday night's XFINITY race at Richmond is out as well.  43 cars are currently on the list, including four drivers attempting to make their debut (Brandon Hightower, Clint King, Brandon Brown and Alli Owens).  In Owens' case, Obaika Racing has not indicated which one of their cars, the No. 97 or the No. 77 that she will be driving.  Read more

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

Today's Featured Commentary
It's All in Your Head
Professor of Speed
by Mark Howell
The die has been cast for NASCAR's future.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been benched for the remainder of the 2016 Sprint Cup season because of ongoing concussion symptoms.

We already knew 2016 had the makings of an interesting year given the fact that Tony Stewart, in the fall of 2015, announced his impending retirement from driving a Cup car once the checkered flag flew at Homestead come November. It was Smoke who got 2016 off to a frightful start when he fractured a lumbar vertebra in a preseason sand buggy accident and had to miss the first eight events of the year.

Stewart did return to competition and eventually found Victory Lane in Sonoma after beating and banging on former JGR teammate Denny Hamlin to take the win. Tony enjoyed a summer stretch of solid runs and decent finishes to secure his place in the upcoming Chase.

Next, there was the slate of wrecks that ultimately sidelined Junior.

While NASCAR Nation crossed its collective fingers and hoped Earnhardt would receive good medical reports, giving him official permission to race again the opposite occurred. Instead, it heard the news Junior would sit out and convalesce during the final twelve weeks of the Sprint Cup season. What started out as a week-by-week prognosis eventually turned into last week's announcement that Dale would forsake driving in order to focus on improving his health and well-being.

Dealing with a chronic medical condition that affects your overall quality of life is no small deal. Nor do such conditions have simple solutions. Experiencing an ailment that hinders your enjoyment of everyday events, especially those involving your way of earning a living, tends to make the sufferer depressed, frustrated, and angry about the slow progression of improvement.

One can only hope that there is, indeed, improvement.

While Earnhardt tells the media that he'll (hopefully) be in good medical condition to race in the 2017 Daytona 500, there has to be a specter of doubt floating over the No. 88 race shop on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. For all intents and purposes, we can anticipate seeing him back behind the wheel for next year's edition of "The Great American Race" but February 2017 is still a long way off. Five months of recovery time may not be sufficient given Dale's condition.

With physical problems often come psychological ones. It might take the form of depression. It might be a lack of confidence. It might be a situation where one (like a lack of confidence) leads to another (a state of depression). The afflicted begins to doubt their talents, abilities, and socio-professional status.

Simply put:  will I ever return to the level of ability, potential, and success that I once enjoyed? Or, as the late, great Merle Haggard used to sing:  "Are the good times really over for good?"
For those who suffer from chronic health conditions that affect their livelihoods, the answer is quite often a downcast "I sure hope not."

I have suffered from lower back/lumbar problems for nearly a decade. The initial injury made a great story to tell at parties:  I popped something in my lower back while catching tires for a NASCAR Sprint Cup team in 2002. Something did, indeed, pop in my lower back during a pit stop at Michigan but the numbness, pain, and lack of mobility in my right leg took a few years to manifest themselves. By that time, even though x-rays and an MRI showed evidence of low back trauma, my doctors and physical therapists believed the condition came from other causes (too heavy for too long, too much sitting/writing at a computer, too little strenuous physical activity, too many ancestors with too much arthritis).

As I lost my ability to do simple things, like climb stairs and ladders, I found myself tripping over cracks in sidewalks and thick clumps of deep grass. With every setback, built up over time I lost my sense of self-confidence. Suddenly, I was asking my department chair at the college where I teach to load my schedule with online classes (no need to walk and possibly stumble) and pawned trips to the store off on my wife (less chance of limping around and making an awkward scene). It was easier for me to hide at home than it was to go out and do what I always used to do.

Hence my worries for Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Losing confidence and self-assurance only strengthens the psychological bonds that keep a person lashed to the cold, hard walls of uncertainty. Questions of "why not?" become excuses for "why should I?" In my case, helping with pit stops turned into a one-way slide into a pit of self-despair. By the time you read this, I will have seen my doctor for yet another physical examination, only this visit it will – it must – result in some form of drastic measure. My road to physical and mental recovery begins with a new set of x-rays and a referral to a psychologist who deals with injuries and the many forms of pain they create.

My new path might mean surgery, or it might mean some other form of treatment not yet tried, but it must first address my psychological condition regarding what I can no longer do, like walk down a street or stroll with my family along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

I'll admit that my Goodyear catching days are long gone, but that's a part of life that was great while it lasted. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the future holds great potential:  a chance to win a Sprint Cup championship and the opportunity to become a husband and a father. His racing days should be far from over, and they will remain a major aspect of his life as long as he can keep mental doubt from overwhelming the physical.

One can only hope that Earnhardt maintains his sense of self-worth and ability. Once that confidence is gone, the physical recovery process takes even longer.

Dr. Mark Howell is a Senior Writer for Frontstretch.  He can be reached via e-mail at

as told to Zach Catanzareti

Did You Notice? ... The Depth Of Hendrick's Hole Heading Into The Chase?
by Tom Bowles

by Amy Henderson

compiled by Aaron Bearden


Q: Ken Squier described the weather at the 1990 Pontiac Excitement 400 as being "perfect for ice skating." Naturally, some quirky things happened that day, and not just the 46-point penalty given to Mark Martin after the race.  What happened to Butch Miller before the green even flew?

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

Tuesday's Answer:

Q:  Richmond International Raceway was re-configured into the current D-Shaped, 3/4-mile oval over roughly six months in 1988.  However, the September date was still held during the daytime.  When were the lights installed in Richmond?

A: Lights were installed at Richmond in 1991.  The fall Busch Grand National and Winston Cup races were moved from Saturday and Sunday afternoon to Friday and Saturday night, respectively.  At the time, Richmond was only the second night race on the schedule after Bristol.  However, there were more night races in Cup in the early 1980s since both Nashville races ran at night before they were dropped following the 1984 season.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have any news that breaks in the world of NASCAR, plus a look at Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 in the Critic's Annex.

Toni Montgomery returns with her weekly look at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Nitro Shots.
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
Got something to say about an article you've seen in the newsletter? It's as easy as replying directly to this message or sending an email to We'll take the best comments and publish them here!

Feel free to forward this newsletter if you have any friends who loves
NASCAR and great NASCAR commentary. They can subscribe to the Frontstetch by visiting
If you want to stop your Frontstretch Newsletter subscription, we're sorry
to see you go. Just send an email to from the address that you
recieve the Frontstretch Newsletter.

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Frontstretch" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
For more options, visit

No comments:

Post a Comment