Friday, October 07, 2016

The Frontstretch Newslettter: Kevin Harvick Snags Bank of America 500 Pole, Friday Actvity Cancelled

Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Oct. 7, 2016
Volume X, Edition CLXXVII

What to Watch: Friday

- Today, we were supposed to see two practice sessions for Sprint Cup teams.  In addition, the XFINITY Series was supposed to qualify and race.  That is not happening (see below). Regardless, if anything else does go down, we will still have it for you at Frontstretch.

- Also, late tonight in DVR Theater, Formula One qualifies at Suzuka.  Weather there might be sketchy as well.


Zach Catanzareti (@ZachRacing)
Amy Henderson (@Writer_Amy)
Mike Neff (@MNeffShortTrack)
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
Friday Activity at Charlotte Cancelled due to Weather

Rain bands from Hurricane Matthew swept into Charlotte on Friday morning, dumping steady precipitation on Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Shortly before Noon, NASCAR wiped out all on-track activity for the day.  The Drive for the Cure 300 has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday morning.  Read more

Kevin Harvick Wins Pole at Charlotte

On Thursday night, Kevin Harvick won the pole for Saturday night's Bank of America 500 with a lap of 27.547 seconds (196.029 mph),  Harvick beat out Alex Bowman by four-thousandths of a second.  Chase Elliott will start third, followed by Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart.  Read more

Kevin Harvick Paces Opening Charlotte Practice

Before winning the pole, Kevin Harvick was very fast in the heat of the day as well.  Harvick was quickest in early practice with a lap of 27.870 seconds (193.757 mph).  Alex Bowman was second, followed by Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.  Read more

Hendrick Motorsports, Furniture Row Racing Announce New Sponsors

Prior to practice, there were two sponsorship announcements at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Hendrick Motorsports announced a 22-race sponsorship deal (between now and 2023) with UniFirst for Kasey Kahne's No. 5, while Furniture Row announced a sponsorship with Maaco.  Read more 

Ryan Sieg Tops Opening XFINITY Series Practice at Charlotte

The first practice session on Thursday saw teams mainly focus on race runs.  As a result, a surprising face in Ryan Sieg was fastest with a lap of 29.726 seconds (181.652 mph).  Ty Dillon was second fastest, followed by Erik Jones, Blake Koch and Kyle Larson.  Read more

Kyle Larson Leads Final XFINITY Series Practice at Charlotte

In Happy Hour on Thursday, Kyle Larson was quickest in the NaturePride Chevrolet with a lap of 29.158 seconds (185.198 mph).  Erik Jones was second, followed by Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez and Brandon Jones.  Read more

The Critic's Annex: DC Solar 350
by Phil Allaway

Welcome back once again.  While the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series were in Delaware dealing with the oldest track surface out there these days, the Camping World Truck Series was in Nevada for one of the series' somewhat more inexplicable standalone events.  Even the Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway has a sizable suite of support, including the Super DIRTcar Series.  Las Vegas is legitimately just the truck race, a leftover event from when the IRL used to race there in the early days of the series.  Regardless, we have to cover this somewhat out of place event.  How did FOX Sports 1 cover the action in the desert?

Naturally, the Chase was a substantial focus on the Setup.  William Byron's domination at Loudon was noted, along with the many issues for Daniel Hemric.  Analysis of what each Chaser needed to do was the name of the game.  I understand why did was done and it was done rather thoroughly.  The coverage here was good, but it was just about all the coverage we got.  There wasn't much previewing of the actual race.  That's one of my main gripes with the whole Chase structure in general.  Having these rounds and terrible eliminations only makes it worse.  If I ran a track, I wouldn't want to host a Chase race because my event wouldn't matter.

During the race, the high focus on the Chase actually diminished quite a bit.  Why?  Because Tyler Reddick was the story of the night, and he wasn't in the Chase.  That chap charged to the front like his pants were on fire.  Or, his truck was running like the equivalent of Murray Walker's F1 commentary (and for that matter, Matt Crafton's truck was running like the equivalent of Todd Harris' INDYCAR commentary for ESPN).  Either way, he was coming to the front in a dang hurry.  Once there, Reddick ensconced himself at the front, putting himself into the conversation.

Despite the long green-flag runs, there was a good amount of racing for position and FOX Sports 1 did a decent job of bringing that action to the viewers.  There was side-by-side action both between Chasers, between Chasers and non-Chasers, and just between non-Chasers.  It was generally a decent race to watch (and very quick due to the lack of cautions). 

I'm still not a fan of the Caution Clock due to the fact that its artificial and actually raised costs for the teams.  We've already had more this year than there would have been last year if it were in affect (According to Reid Spencer, who told me this back at the Rolex 24 in January, that number would have been 12).

There was only one incident in the 350 kilometer race, and that was a crash involving Wayne Edwards.  I guess that he hit the wall in turn 4, then spun around.  The only replay that viewers got did not show the spin.  Perhaps the cameras didn't catch said spin.  I just assumed that it happened based on what we did get.

With the race being fairly clean, there was a good amount of time for post-race coverage.  Viewers got seven post-race interviews and a check of the point standings before FOX Sports 1 left the air.

Overall, this was a relatively decent broadcast.  I would have liked a more comprehensive broadcast, but at Chase time, you get what you get.  I don't understand why this Chase is a good thing for any of the series.  I suppose its good if you make it.  If you don't, it hurts you royally.  That's why I believe it hurts the sport as a whole.  There are more people involved in the sport than just the dudes involved with Chase teams.

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

Frontstretch Folio: Bank of America 500
by Phil Allaway

This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series returns to Charlotte for the only race in the Chase fully at night.  Coverage of the Bank of America 500 starts with NASCAR America Saturday at 5 p.m. on NBCSN, followed by Countdown to Green.  Race coverage starts at 7 p.m. on NBC and the green flag should fly around 7:17, weather permitting.  Radio coverage will be provided by local PRN radio affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

Records and facts

In last year's Bank of America 500, Joey Logano led 227 of the 334 laps, including the final 35 on the way to the victory, clinching advancement to what was then known as the Eliminator Round (Jeepers, who came up with those names? Glad they're gone for 2016).  Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Martin Truex, Jr., Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch.

Among active drivers, Jimmie Johnson is the winningest driver at Charlotte Motor Speedway with seven career victories.  Jeff Gordon has five wins, while teammate Kasey Kahne has four.  Kevin Harvick has three, while Jamie McMurray, Bobby Labonte and Matt Kenseth have two a piece.

All-time, Johnson's seven top the charts.  Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip each have six wins at CMS, while Gordon, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty each have five.

Track Facts
Track / Race Length: 1.5-mile quad-oval, 334 laps (501 miles)
Banking: 24 degrees

Frontstretch: 1,952.8 ft., banked 5 degrees

Backstretch: 1,360 ft., banked 5 degrees

Grandstand Seating: 89,000

Pit Road Speed: 45 mph
Pace Car Speed: 55 mph
Opened: 1960




Remaining Pre-Race Schedule:

Nil.  It was cancelled due to rain.

Say What?!

"I really like Charlotte. It's a track where you can search around for different lines that will work for your car better. It's also a place where you can keep your speed and momentum up. It's a cool place to win at because we're so close to home and a lot of the Hendrick Motorsports team members come out to the track to cheer us on. So it's always a little extra special when a Hendrick Motorsports car ends up in Victory Lane at Charlotte." - Kasey Kahne

"I mean, there could be challenges no matter where you go. Charlotte is a really finicky racetrack and, with the way we practice, most of the practice will be done during the day with the race being at night. Temperature has a huge factor in how the racetrack changes, how the pace changes, so you have to try to guess a little bit on that. Obviously, the weather could be a little bit of an issue as we creep into the weekend. You have to try to plan and balance all those things to have a good plan, but you have to be ready to abort that plan and come up with a new one on the fly at any given point." - Kevin Harvick

"I think the biggest challenge about Charlotte is how much the track changes from practice. You practice all during the day and then you go into night racing. You've got to know what kind of adjustments to make to your car and how well you can race at night. Typically, you go back to your night notes. For us, we've run well there in the past and like going there. It's a fun place to race and adds to the excitement of spending some time at home." - Kyle Busch

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

by Zach Catanzareti


Q: As noted above, Jimmie Johnson is the all-time winningest driver at Charlotte Motor Speedway with seven career wins.  However, his first career Winston Cup start at then-Lowe's Motor Speedway didn't go so well.  What happened?

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

Thursday's Answer:
Q:  In 1994, Dale Jarrett successfully came back from a DNQ at North Wilkesboro to win the Mello Yello 500 at Charlotte.  For Bobby Labonte, he managed to qualify for North Wilkesboro and finish five laps down in 15th.  Charlotte was another story, though as he failed to make it to lap 10 before trouble struck.  What happened?

A: Just a few laps into the race, Bobby Labonte spun underneath Todd Bodine and backed hard into the wall in turn 3.  A large fire broke out since Labonte had a full fuel cell while Bodine crashed.  Dale Earnhardt was also damaged, along with Bill Elliott and others.  The crash can be seen here.

Labonte was out on the spot as a result of this crash, while everyone else continued.  Labonte did get out of his Pontiac under his own power.

In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have recaps of the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races from Charlotte.  In addition, we'll also cover other news that breaks.

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