Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Loudon/Kentucky Entry Lists are Out

Presented by Frontstretch.com
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Sep. 20, 2016
Volume X, Edition CLXIV
What to Watch: Tuesday

- Preparations continue for this weekend's races in Kentucky and New Hampshire.  If anything of note breaks, we'll have it for you at Frontstretch.


Tuesday's TV Schedule can be found here. 

Today's Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Entry List: Bad Boy Off Road 300

The Sprint Cup entry list for this weekend's action in Loudon is out. (Note the name change as well).  No change in the teams entered from Joliet.  Jeffrey Earnhardt returns to the Go FAS Racing No. 32, replacing Joey Gase, while Regan Smith I sback in the No. 7 after his wife gave birth on Sunday.

Entry List: VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300

The entry list has been released for Saturday night's VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway.  39 cars are currently entered, but a couple of more may be added to the list.  The race sees the return of Matt Tifft to the series in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 after his open brain surgery.  Read more

Entry List: UNOH 175

The entry list is out for Saturday afternoon's UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  32 trucks are entered, so no one will fail to qualify.  Read more

Today's Featured Commentary
What's Wrong in NASCAR: Locked Out of the Chase in Your Own Series
Sitting in the Stands: A Fan's View
by S.D. Grady

It's time to stop playing around and block drivers who are not running for points in a series from competing for wins. Why? Well, it's called NASCAR's brainchild: the Chase.

Just like in the Sprint Cup Series, drivers who win in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series can earn a guaranteed starting spot in their playoffs by winning during the regular season, as long as they are positioned above the cut off line in points.  In the Cup level, we saw Chris Buescher snag a coveted spot in the Chase by winning at Pocono.  His second tier team, who normally struggles to find funding for the best equipment, will now benefit from an avalanche of positive PR simply because Pocono got fogged in.  It's all bonus, and an extremely important moment for the No. 34, as well as every other small team working to make the big time in stock car racing. It's possible to live in the limelight with a little bit of luck and lots of perseverance.

However, the same cannot be said when we talk about the XFINITY and Truck series.  In these Series, even if you have the best performing car or truck of those competing for the championship on any given day, it doesn't mean you will win a race or grab one of those special Chase berths.  Why not?

It's the same old song we've been singing since the inception of the developmental system in our sport.  Busch-whackers are stealing the trophies, the spotlight and now they are stealing the chance to compete for a championship, when it would have been earned without their presence.
On Friday night, Daniel Hemric and Cameron Hayley managed to escape all the carnage and were lined up to battle their way to a win.  Neither one had a victory during the regular season. While Hemric would likely make it into the Chase on his points, a win would grant him three additional bonus points when the Chase grid was reset. Meanwhile, Hayley has only shown a few moments of brilliance over 2016, but as one of the young guns, he really could use a little extra media love that a Chase berth would offer him.

Neither driver had any hope of making their dream come true.  Kyle Busch in his seemingly unbeatable machine stole the purse, the trophy, the points and the chance to make the Chase.
Yes, it's tradition that inexperienced drivers get to cut their teeth running opposite the legends of the sport. But never before was so much on the line for the AAA pilot's future and career.  The existence of the Chase format at every level gives the media, the public and therefore sponsors a hyperactive glimpse into the week to week world of racing.  Bonus points lost due to wins that are removed from reach by interlopers can destroy a Chase run.

In short, it's not just about winning the race.  It's about having the chance to make the most out of the opportunities that NASCAR says winning a race can create.

If NASCAR is going to run development series complete with AAA-ball playoffs, then they need to let the kids in the sandlot play ball and keep the big kids out of the playground. It is simply not a fair system.

Either Hemric should have been starting the Chase this weekend at New Hampshire with a set of bonus points or Hayley should have had a spot in the running.  In either case, having Kyle Busch add one more trophy to his overstuffed display case did not benefit the series, the drivers or even Boy Wonder's overall career.  NASCAR needs to bite the bullet and do what they have avoided for so long--leave the Cup drivers in the Cup garage. End of story.


As I parked our RV and thanked the already harrowed New Hampshire Motor Speedway track workers, I thought the thanks should extend to all the staff at all the NASCAR tracks that pull together to make our race weekends as much fun as possible. If somebody asked you to invite 80,000 of your closest friends over for a BBQ in a single week, would you cower in terror or welcome them in with open arms? It's an amazing job that gets done at a different place every seven days.  Let's hear it for the heroes behind the scenes of NASCAR!

S.D. Grady is a Senior Writer for Frontstretch and runs a NASCAR blog called the S-Curves. She can be reached via email at sonya.grady@frontstretch.com. Follow her on Twitter at @laregna and on her Facebook page (she's an author, too!) at https://www.facebook.com/Author.SDGrady.

Editor's Note: Numbers Game will appear tomorrow.


by Danny Peters

by Matt McLaughlin

by Jeff Wolfe


Q: In 1999, Joe Nemechek picked up the first of his four career Cup victories at Loudon in a caution-strewn.  Points contender Mark Martin was running down the order a ways when he encountered trouble.  What happened?

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

Monday's Answer:

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?

A: On just the third lap of the race, Busch spun and hit the wall in turn 2 after contact from Scott Riggs.  Busch's Sharpie Ford had heavy front-end damage as a result.  The crash can be seen here.

Busch went behind the wall for repairs and eventually returned to the race, finishing 67 laps down in 35th.  Of course, Busch's incident in Phoenix ended his season early, resulting in an automatic tenth-place finish in points.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have the latest NASCAR news along with a weekly commentary from our Professor of Speed on the state of the sport.

On Frontstretch.com:
Amy Henderson returns with the weekly Frontstretch 5.
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
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