Monday, November 14, 2016

The Frontstretch Newsletter: Joey Logano Wins Frantic Can-Am 500; Championship Quartet Set

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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Nov. 14, 2016
Volume X, Edition CCIII

What to Watch: Monday

- With a long hike back to North Carolina, today is actually a travel day for NASCAR teams as work continues at race shops ahead of the final race weekend of the season at Homestead. 

- In IMSA, 14 teams are gathered at Daytona International Speedway for an open test session.  It will be the IMSA debut for Michael Shank Racing's new NSX GT3's along with the public debut of 3GT Racing's Lexus RC-F GT3.  We'll have any news that breaks today for you at Frontstretch.


Monday's TV Schedule can be found here.
Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Joey Logano Grabs Thrilling Phoenix Victory Toward Championship 4 Berth

During a green-white-checkered finish Sunday afternoon at Phoenix, Kyle Busch got in the back of Alex Bowman at the front of the field. That forced him into the left rear of Matt Kenseth, leading the race and en route to victory before Michael McDowell caused NASCAR Overtime in the first place.  Kenseth crashed, leaving Joey Logano ahead at the last scoring loop before the yellow.  That gave Logano the edge on the ensuing restart, a lead he held onto to take the win.  Kyle Busch was second and claimed the last Championship spot over teammate Denny Hamlin, Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.  In the race, Kyle Larson ran third despite two spins early in the race, followed by Harvick and Kurt Busch.  Read more

Kyle Busch Wins Phoenix XFINITY Race As Championship 4 Is Set

On Saturday, Kyle Busch dominated at Phoenix, leading all but ten laps on his way to his tenth win of the season in the Ticket Galaxy 200.  Austin Dillon was second, followed by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Justin Allgaier and Daniel Suarez.  Allgaier, Suarez, Erik Jones and Elliott Sadler will fight for the series championship in Homestead.  Read more

Daniel Suarez Grabs First Career Win as Championship 4 is Set at Phoenix

Friday night, William Byron dominated the Lucas Oil 150 until he blew an engine late in the going.  That allowed Daniel Suarez to take the lead and hold on for his first career Camping World Truck Series win. Johnny Sauter was second, followed by Matt Crafton, Cameron Hayley and Timothy Peters.  Sauter, Crafton, Peters and Christopher Bell will fight for the title in Homestead.  Read more

Austin Cindric to Race Full-Time for BKR in 2017

Friday afternoon, Brad Keselowski Racing announced that Austin Cindric will join the team full-time in 2017, driving one of the team's trucks.  Since the team has two open seats for next season, it is unclear who he will replace.  Read more

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

Chasing the Chase: The Four Battling for the Sprint Cup in Homestead Are...
by Phil Allaway

The Can-Am 500k turned out to be quite the interesting, hard-fought race.  Joey Logano came out on top, earning his way into the Championship 4 through that victory.  He also broke the tie at the top of the standings and won the Round of 8.  Kyle Busch, the race runner-up ended up five points back of Logano in second.  Denny Hamlin gained two places with his seventh-place result; however, third in points proved not to be enough as two drivers below him in the standings won during this round.  

Matt Kenseth was looking good to advance until Alex Bowman was hit and bounced into him on a late restart.  The resulting 21st-place finish kept Kenseth fourth in the standings, but removed him from championship contention. Kevin Harvick, meanwhile had a pretty good run on Sunday to finish fourth; the finish, however was far from the dominance we've seen from him at Phoenix in the recent past.  That performance elevated him up one spot, rising to fifth in the standings but it was not enough for him to move on.  

Jimmie Johnson dropped all the way from the points lead to sixth after he ran into the back of Greg Biffle on lap 218 and broke his radiator.  The team made repairs and Johnson ended up finishing 28 laps down in 38th.  However, he is in the Championship 4 after winning Martinsville.  Kurt Busch, meanwhile was in the same boat at Harvick.  He overcame handling issues to finish fifth, but it only moved him up one position to seventh in points and dropped him out of the Chase.  Carl Edwards fell one place to eighth, running 19th at Phoenix but was already assured of a Championship 4 spot after his win at Texas the week before.

Outside of the Chase, Martin Truex, Jr. had a very quick car, but was unable to show it.  Truex failed to make a lap in qualifying, forcing him to start in the rear.  He charged up into the top 10 by the first stop, then got caught a lap down by a yellow and got penalized another for pulling up to pit.  Eventually, Truex's day ended where it started, dead last after crashing with Ryan Newman.  Brad Keselowski is still tenth in the standings, but is only five points behind Truex instead of 31 after finishing 14th.  Chase Elliott is 11th after finishing ninth on Sunday, while Kyle Larson is close behind in 12th after finishing third.

Jamie McMurray ran 11th at Phoenix and moved up two places to 13th in points on Sunday.  He is one point ahead of Austin Dillon in 14th and three ahead of Tony Stewart in 15th.  Chris Buescher continues to round out the top 16 Chasers heading to Homestead.

Chase Point Standings: 1) Joey Logano 4118, 2) Kyle Busch -5, 3) Denny Hamlin -11, 4) Matt Kenseth -24, 5) Kevin Harvick -25, 6) Jimmie Johnson -40, 7) Kurt Busch -42, 8) Carl Edwards -47.

Best of the Rest: 9) Martin Truex, Jr. 2266, 10) Brad Keselowski -5, 11) Chase Elliott -11, 12) Kyle Larson -19, 13) Jamie McMurray -71, 14) Austin Dillon -72, 15) Tony Stewart -74, 16) Chris Buescher -114, 17) Kasey Kahne -1372, 18) Ryan Newman -1387, t-19) AJ Allmendinger -1484, t-19) Ryan Blaney -1484, 21) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. -1520, 22) Trevor Bayne -1540, t-23) Greg Biffle -1614, t-23) Danica Patrick -1614.

Regular Point Standings: 1) Kevin Harvick 1120, 2) Joey Logano -25, 3) Brad Keselowski -37, 4) Kyle Busch -51, 5) Denny Hamlin -68, 6) Kurt Busch -93, 7) Carl Edwards -123, 8) Martin Truex, Jr. -134, t-9) Jimmie Johnson -157, t-9) Matt Kenseth -157, 11) Chase Elliott -184, 12Kasey Kahne -226, 13) Kyle Larson -230, 14) Ryan Newman -241, 15) Austin Dillon -247, 16Jamie McMurray -249, t-17) AJ Allmendinger -323, t-17) Ryan Blaney -323, 19) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. -359, 20) Trevor Bayne -379.

Outside the top 16, but in the Chase: 25) Tony Stewart -497, 28) Chris Buescher -596.

Race Winners: Denny Hamlin (Daytona-1, Watkins Glen, Richmond-2), Jimmie Johnson (Atlanta, Auto Club, Charlotte-2, Martinsville-2), Brad Keselowski (Las Vegas, Talladega-1, Daytona-2, Kentucky), Kevin Harvick (Phoenix-1, Bristol-2, Loudon-2, Kansas-2), Kyle Busch (Martinsville-1, Texas-2, Kansas-1, Indianapolis), Carl Edwards (Bristol-1, Richmond-1, Texas-2), Matt Kenseth (Dover-1, Loudon-1), Martin Truex, Jr. (Charlotte-1, Darlington, Chicagoland, Dover-2), Kurt Busch (Pocono-1), Joey Logano (Michigan-1, Talladega-2, Phoenix-2), Tony Stewart (Sonoma), Chris Buescher (Pocono-2), Kyle Larson (Michigan-2).
Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for  He can be reached via e-mail at

Letter of the Race: Sunday's Can-Am 500 was brought to you by the Letter "N," for "Not Quite."  Matt Kenseth was looking good for a spot in the Championship 4 on Sunday until Michael McDowell blew a right rear tire and crashed, bringing out a yellow with Kenseth a quarter of a lap away from the white flag.  That crash resulted in a NASCAR Overtime finish.  On the first green-white-checkered, Kenseth's own teammate Kyle Busch ran into the back of Alex Bowman, who then bounced into Kenseth.  The end result was Kenseth spinning into the wall, Joey Logano taking the lead and Kyle Busch sneaking inside the Championship 4.  It was not the best sequence of events for the 2003 series champion, finding himself on the outside looking in on the series championship for yet another year under this format. - Phil Allaway


Quotes to Remember: Can-Am 500
compiled by Phil Allaway

"I don't think I can put it into words.  I'm still excited about it.  I'm still yelling and screaming down in victory lane.  This isn't just a race.  This is a championship.  We raced today like it was Homestead because we had to, and what an amazing feeling to be able to succeed under that amount of pressure and to have a race team that is truly better under pressure.  I couldn't be more proud of that, and to have the opportunity to have the pressure on us. Think about that.  There's not many race teams who have the opportunity to feel that weight on their shoulders, and that's special to have that and to be able to execute.  A lot of people crack in those situations, and this team doesn't." - Joey Logano, race winner

"Well, right now it feels pretty [expletive], but tomorrow it might feel a lot better.  I'm not sure, depends on what Matt (Kenseth)'s interpretation is and whether or not he can forgive.  You know, I just feel really bad about what happened there on that last restart.  It just wasn't what I anticipated having happen, and I just feel bad.  The No. 20 should have been the Gibbs car to go through, and I was just trying to make a position there on the No. 88, felt like I was to his inside and had the position.  Otherwise, if he turned down on a guy and chop him you're going to get wrecked, and he did, and it translated into the No. 20 crashing.  That's not how at all I foresaw that going.  I was hoping I could get the No. 88 underneath him and force him up and have him kind of block the No. 22 and check up the outside row and then I could have a position between me and the No. 22 and get myself and the No. 20 in." - Kyle Busch, finished second

"I made a big mistake on the first lap and got loose into Turn 3 and got up into the No. 22. It obviously didn't affect his race. Then, we were coming in for a green-flag stop and kind of had our hands full getting to the commitment line. I think the No. 31 (Ryan Newman) must have wheel-hopped behind me and had a lot of speed. He tagged me in the rear bumper and spun me around. So we went a lap down but we got the Lucky Dog pass-around later and fought hard the rest of the way... on the first [restart], I saw the No. 88 (Alex Bowman) go down and try to block the No. 18 (Kyle Busch). I think the No. 18 might have clipped the No. 88, got him loose and shot him up the race track into the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth). On the last restart, I had a good initial takeoff. I tried to go to the inside of the No. 18 and just didn't get clear off Turn 2 and ended up third. So I was pretty happy with that result after all the trouble we got into early in the race." - Kyle Larson, finished third

"We just started way too far off on Friday. We never got a handle on the racecar. They made it a ton better in the race and we were in contention there at the end and just came up short. Just really proud of everybody for the effort that they put in. It was a very challenging Chase for us for all the mechanical failures and situations that we had going on. We kept rebounding and winning races and today we were a lap down and came back to have a chance at the end. That says a lot about the character of our race team and we just came up short this year." - Kevin Harvick, finished fourth

"We got up to the front as high as third and sniffed the front to try to win because we had to win to advance. We didn't get the job done. The long run speed is where our Achilles Heel was these last few Chase races. It's a little disappointing, maybe we can pinpoint that as our exact problem and figure out how to fix that, but really proud of Tony Gibson (crew chief) and everybody that worked on these cars all year long from Stewart-Haas Racing. Thanks to Haas Automation, Monster Energy, Chevrolet, we finished fifth today we battled hard; we just didn't have enough. You've got to have it all if you want to be in that Championship 4." - Kurt Busch, finished fifth

"We definitely had the best car here all day, especially on long runs.  We were really strong.  Hendrick Motorsports did a great job.  Great guys made great calls from the top of the box all day.  Got to thank everybody from Nationwide, Axalta, Mountain Dew.  We had a great car.  We took four tires there and restarted on the bottom twice.  Our car didn't really take off on restarts all day long very well, so had to make our way back up through there, and we got to second at the end and had that caution come out, and didn't get a terrible restart, and the No. 18 turned me sideways getting into the corner, and I ‑‑ I don't know, it almost feels like ‑‑ I almost feel like the No. 20 thought he was clear because I was against the ‑‑ I wasn't at the best angle but I was also against the inside wall when we made contact.  I guess he said something on the radio that he thought he was clear. I hate it for Matt [when] you take somebody out like that.  I would have raced the hell out of him for the win, but definitely don't want to do that. But really enjoyable day to run up front and lead 200 laps or however many we led.  I don't think I've really led Cup laps before, so it was a lot of fun, just not the way we wanted to end it." - Alex Bowman, finished sixth

"Our race day wasn't that great.  Yeah, we just struggled for a little bit of speed all weekend, and then we got some track position.  I thought we were going to be good.  I thought we were going to come out of here with a top 5, and at the end we were on old tires and I think somebody might have bumped me.  I didn't feel the impact but I almost wrecked into Turn 3 and I thought I had a flat tire so I went too easy into the next corner and they all drove by me.  I think we could have squeaked out a top 5... definitely not a great day, but definitely excited to go down to Homestead and race for that championship." - Carl Edwards, finished 19th

"The thing there was just kind of a minor wreck in front of us and got into the back of the No. 16 (Greg Biffle) and it knocked the fitting off the oil cooler and we started leaking some oil. I think before that was the penalty I received for pulling up to pit, which was mind blowing. In the 15 years I've been here that has never been officiated that way. The leader has always had the ability to pull up and maintain whatever gap they had to the cars behind them. They have never penalized the leader and make the leader stay alongside the pace car. On the majority of the tracks we compete at you just naturally progress in front of the pace car. So now, to all of a sudden officiate this is mind blowing to me. As long as they continue to do it from here on forward I will bite my lip and won't say another word, but it just seems a little odd to be quite honest with you." - Jimmie Johnson, finished 38th

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



by Mike Neff

by Beth Lunkenheimer


Q: By NASCAR standards, the garage areas at Homestead-Miami Speedway are quite tight.  However, what is the true setup of Homestead-Miami Speedway's garage area?

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

Friday's Answer:

Q:  Robert Pressley had an up-and-down 2001 season for Jasper Racing.  Phoenix was no exception as Pressley tied his best qualifying effort of the season (fifth) and kept himself on the lead lap all day.  However, he walked out of Phoenix with a terrible finish.  What happened?

A: Pressley was running in 22nd when Jerry Nadeau attempted to make a move to the inside on him going into turn 3.  Nadeau proceeded to lock up both front tires and slid into the left rear of Pressley.  Pressley then spun and backed hard into the wall before sliding back to the apron.  Coverage of the crash can be seen here.

Pressley's Ford Taurus was badly damaged in the crash and his day came to an immediate end.  Pressley would be credited with a 42nd-place finish.


In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have breaking news from Monday, Tom Bowles returns with Numbers Game and S.D. Grady is back with Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View.

Amy Henderson takes a closer look at how some of the sport's smaller teams fared at Phoenix in Underdog House.
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