Friday, September 16, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Sprint Cup Qualifying Cancelled Due to Rain, Kyle Busch to Start on Pole

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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Sep. 16, 2016
Volume X, Edition CLXII

What to Watch: Friday

- Today is a very busy day at Chicagoland Speedway as all three of NASCAR's National Series take to the 1.5-mile tri-oval.  For Sprint Cup, only practice and qualifying is on tap today while XFINITY teams just have practice.  Meanwhile, the Camping World Truck Series teams have qualifying and the race today..


Aaron Bearden (@AaronBearden93)
Also, don't forget to follow our Twitter page@Frontstretch as well for updates!
This weekend's TV Schedule can be found

Top News
by The Frontstretch Staff
NASCAR Cancels Sprint Cup Qualifying, Field Set By Chase Standings

Heavy rains forced the cancellation of Sprint Cup Series Qualifying Friday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway.  Since the cancellation occurred before any practice could take place, the field has been set by points.  Kyle Busch will start on the pole.  Read more

Rain Halts Opening XFINITY Series Practice at Chicagoland Speedway

Early Friday afternoon, XFINITY Series teams got a grand total of 20 minutes of practice before the rains came and wiped out the session.  Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top 3 with Daniel Suarez on top of the charts before the wet stuff arrivedRead more

John Wes Townley, Daniel Hemric Lead the Way in Chicagoland Truck Practices

On Thursday, the Camping World Truck Series took to Chicagoland Speedway for two practice sessions ahead of tonight's American Ethanol E15 225.  John Wes Townley was fastest in the first session over William Byron, Matt Crafton, Timothy Peters and Cole Custer.  Daniel Hemric was quickest in the second session at 176.563 mph, followed by Spencer Gallagher, Daniel Suarez, Grant Enfinger and Ben Kennedy.  Read more

Cole Custer to Race for SHR in 2017 XFINITY Series

On Friday morning, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Cole Custer will move up to the XFINITY Series full-time in 2017, driving a Chevrolet Camaro.  Haas Automation will provide primary sponsorship.  Read more

Twitter Handles Replacing Last Names on Chase Drivers' Windshields

During Chase Media Day in Chicago Thursday, NASCAR announced a Chase branding change.  Drivers in the Chase will have their Twitter handles listed on the windshield banner of their cars.  Carl Edwards will have a hashtag because he is not on Twitter.  Read more

Blake Koch Signed Through 2017 with Kaulig Racing

Kaulig Racing announced on Thursday that Blake Koch has been re-signed to return to the No. 11 Chevrolet full-time in the XFINITY Series in 2017.  LeafFilter will continue as the team's primary sponsor.  Read more

Action Express Racing Sweeps Thursday COTA Practices

On Thursday, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship took on the 3.2-mile Circuit of the Americas for two one-hour practice sessions.  They were dominated by Action Express Racing.  Jõao Barbosa was quickest in the first session, while teammate Dane Cameron topped the second.  Read more

Multimatic on Pole Once Again at COTA

On Thursday afternoon, Scott Maxwell won the overall pole for Friday's Circuit of the Americas 150 with a lap of 143.439 seconds (85.332 mph).  It is Maxwell's fifth pole in nine races. Tyler Cooke won the ST pole.  Read more

Frontstretch Folio: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400
by Phil Allaway

This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series travels to Illinois to start the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  Coverage of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 starts with NASCAR America Sunday on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. EDT, followed by Countdown to Green.  The green flag is scheduled to drop around 2:48 p.m. and can be heard on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

Records and facts

In last year's 400, Denny Hamlin took the lead on the final restart from Jeff Gordon with five laps to go and held off the pack to take his first career victory at Chicagoland.  Carl Edwards was second, followed by Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth.  Gordon finished 14th after a failed tire gamble.

All-time, Tony Stewart is the most victorious driver at Chicagoland Speedway with three career wins.  Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski have two wins a piece.  No one else has more than one.  All the past winners except for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (ongoing concussion recovery), Jeff Gordon and David Reutimann will be in the field on Sunday.

Track Facts
Track / Race Length: 1.5 mile tri-oval, 267 laps (400.5 miles)
Banking: 18 degrees

Frontstretch: 2,400 feet, banked 11 degrees

Backstretch: 1,700 feet, banked 5 degrees

Grandstand Seating: 55,500
Pit Road Speed: 45 mph
Pace Car Speed: 55 mph
Opened: 2001




Pre-Race Schedule:

Practice No. 1: Friday, September 16, 1:30 - 2:55 p.m. on NBC Sports App/Live Extra

Qualifying: Friday, September 16 at 6:45 p.m. on NBCSN

Practice No. 2: Saturday, September 17, 10:30 - 11:25 a.m. on CNBC

Happy Hour: Saturday, September 17, 1:30 - 2:20 p.m. on NBCSN

Say What?!

"I don't think it's that critical [to set a tone for the Chase at Chicagoland]. It's what you want to do and all the teams will strive to do. But, if you have a bad race at Chicago, or it doesn't go exactly as you want, I don't think it is the end of the world. The main thing each time is to advance to the next round. You have to outperform four other guys. Do you have to win or have a top-five at Chicago to start it off right? I don't think so. But the last thing you want is to have a bad race that puts you in a hole right after Chicago.

"The win at Chicagoland in 2011 basically made me look like an idiot. I had preached for weeks that we did not belong in the Chase and, up until the Chase started, we didn't. We were not running well, nor did we have an idea why we weren't running well. All of a sudden, we show up and win Chicago. It was probably the only time I've ever won a Cup race and thought, 'That was probably the dumbest thing I've ever done.' I felt really passionate about the fact we didn't belong in it and then turned right around and, 'ta-da.' It was like going to see David Copperfield in Las Vegas. It was like, 'poof,' all of a sudden something we said couldn't happen happened." - Tony Stewart

"We reached our goal of making the Chase. Now we want to make it past this first round. We want to surprise some people. Our Love's Travel Stops team has been working really hard and gaining a lot of ground the last couple months, and we'll be hitting some tracks these next three weeks that we like and where we can perform well. We can also now afford to be a little more aggressive than we have been the last few weeks. We had to race conservatively in some situations to make sure we stayed out of trouble, but now we can go all out.

"I like Chicagoland Speedway. It's a place that's gotten a lot of character over the years. It's a little bit rough around the edges, and there's a bunch of bumps through Turns 3 and 4. We were there for a test not too long ago, so we've been working on a plan for going back there. That big arc all the way down the backstretch is unique to that racetrack. We really never go straight. We will always be holding the wheel somewhat to the left. But I think we'll be able to move around a lot, and I think it will be a good race." - Chris Buescher

"Chicago is a great place to start off the Chase. It's a great market and a good track where we've run pretty well. I've wanted to win there so bad for (No. 48 team crew chief) Chad (Knaus) since it's his hometown track. We've been close at Chicago a few times but ended up giving them away. For the next 10 weeks, we are in championship focus. We learned a lot last year from this format and we need to be there at the cutoffs and also to be there at the end at Homestead. We need to run well every week. There is a lot of effort going on to make this chase for our seventh championship." - Jimmie Johnson

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

by Zach Catanzareti

by Michael Finley


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?

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

Thursday's Answer:
Q: When Circuit of the Americas opened in 2012, it was the first track in the United States to have Tec-Pro barriers, a new system that has the benefits of a soft wall and a setup that allows for easy realignment.  This came in handy after Tim Bell had an off.  What happened to cause this incident?

A: In the 2014 CTSC race at Circuit of the Americas, Bell lost his brakes at the end of the long straight linking turns 11 and 12.  At top speed, Bell flew off the road, went through the paved runoff, a gravel trap and some grass before broadsiding the Tec-Pro barrier.  Bell walked away from the crash.  Exterior shots can be seen here.  The scarier in-car shot from the team can be seen here.
In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have recaps of the Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series races from Joliet, in addition to any other news that breaks.

We'll have a series of post-race commentaries analyzing this weekend's action at Chicagoland Speedway.
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