Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Road Atlanta Entry Lists Released

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Sep. 28, 2016
Volume X, Edition CLXX
What to Watch: Wednesday

- Today is penalty day in NASCAR and we have some takers.  At bare minimum, we'll see a graded penalty for John Hunter Nemechek in the Camping World Truck Series after the No. 8 flunked post-race technical inspection on Saturday.  There will be more than just that, for sure.  When the report comes out, we'll have it for you, along with a look at Kyle Busch's day at The White House.T

Wednesday's TV Schedule can be found here.

Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Entry List: 2016 Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort

The entry list is out for Saturday's Petit Le Mans.  41 cars are entered in four different classes.  However, only 37 will race.  Read more

Entry List: 2016 Road Atlanta 150

The IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge teams will finish up their season on Friday afternoon at Road Atlanta.  36 teams are entered in two classes.  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
Dealing with Losses
Professor of Speed
by Mark Howell
It's been a rough couple of months around here. It's been one of those times in life when it felt like every day brought the news of yet another death. Just as I began to accept the tragic passing of Bryan Clauson, I received word about the passing of Betty Jean France. Her lifetime of benevolence set the standard for NASCAR Nation and made our sport an organization that looked beyond the challenges of a racetrack.

Then, a few days later, came the death of a neighbor, a kind woman who lived across the street and always took time for a visit, or to share the bounty of either her garden or her kitchen. The last few months of her life were spent preparing for the inevitable as she'd been diagnosed earlier in the summer with a rapidly-advancing brain tumor.

Just two days after our neighbor died, I read in the newspaper about a 49-year old woman whose lifeless body was found on a local beach. The next morning, I received a phone call from my department chair at the college where I teach. It turned out the deceased woman was a colleague whom, for the past two decades, had been one of my closest friends at NMC. For many years, her office was located next to mine; we both had children who were close in age, and we knew each other's families.

And the losses did not stop.

NASCAR Nation then lost journalist Bob Margolis and Herbert Ames, both of whom had been consistent fixtures around the garage area for many, many years. These two enjoyed well-earned reputations for openness and honesty within a business that often forgets just how important such qualities can be.

And then, last Sunday, we lost the great Arnold Palmer.

I know Palmer had nothing to do with automobile racing, but he did have something in common with the evolution of NASCAR:  Arnold Palmer was a name, and a face, that brought the then-gentrified game of golf to a mainstream audience. He ushered in an era of corporate affiliations, television ratings, and a groundswell of new fans.

In that way, Arnold Palmer often reminded me of someone like a Richard Petty or a Bobby Allison, or a Benny Parsons, or even a Jeff Gordon – an approachable sports legend who'd take time to say hello, sign an autograph, and leave a fan with a lifelong positive memory.

Palmer, like so many NASCAR drivers, recognized the fact that his occupation meant nothing without the support of loyal and dedicated fans. "Arnie's Army" grew with each tournament won and every autograph signed.

And the popularity of golf, like that of NASCAR with the help of drivers like Petty and Allison and Gordon, grew as well.

In seeing photographs of Arnold Palmer from the early 1960s, I can't help but make a comparison to photographs taken of Fred Lorenzen from around the same time. Both men possessed a certain photogenic quality that lent itself well to the emerging era of televised sports coverage. Their good looks, sandy-colored hair, and easy smiles made these athletes perfect for the period that was just about to emerge:  a convergence of sports and business and the media that led to the marketing-based world we know today.

Some people might complain that it was big corporate sponsorship and business affiliations that sent NASCAR down the road to near ruin with claims of "vanilla" drivers and their penchant for being "salesmen", but imagine a NASCAR devoid of such corporate relationships. Where might Roger Penske and Joey Logano be if it were not for Arnold Palmer pitching Pennzoil to consumers in national television commercials? 

In that way, maybe Arnold Palmer had more in common with NASCAR than we ever imagined? He'll be missed for more than just his prowess on the golf course. He also knew his way around a boardroom, too. Palmer ushered in an era of sports marketing that forever changed the nature of stock car racing.

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

compiled by Aaron Bearden


Q: In the 1994 SplitFire Spark Plugs 500 at Dover, Jeff Burton was one of the best drivers on track until he blew a tire and crashed hard on lap 190.  He wasn't the only rook that was a contender that day as Joe Nemechek was also very quick.  Unfortunately, he couldn't keep it up all day.  What happened to put Nemechek out?

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

Tuesday's Answer:

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?

A: On lap 200, Ernie Irvan was leading when he approached Derrike Cope to put him a lap down.  Irvan went underneath Cope in turn 3, but the two Fords made contact.  Cope continued, but Irvan spun and hit the wall hard.  The crash can be seen here.

Irvan squarely blamed Cope, claiming that he didn't give the leader the room he deserved.  Cope was later involved in two more crashes, the last of which put him out for the day. After leaving the Infield Care Center, Cope was confronted by Irvan's crew chief (Larry McReynolds).  An argument started and a fight nearly broke out.  Later that night on rpm2night, we got quotes from both Cope and McReynolds.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have any news that breaks in the world of NASCAR, plus a look at the XFINITY Series' 300 broadcast in the Critic's Annex.

Toni Montgomery returns with her weekly look at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Nitro Shots.
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