The Frontstretch Newsletter: April 16th, 2010

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THE FRONTSTRETCH NEWSLETTER
Presented by Frontstretch.com
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
April, 16th 2010
Volume IV, Edition LXX

DON'T FORGET THE FRONTSTRETCH LIVE BLOG THIS SUNDAY!
 
After a weekend out west, the Sprint Cup Series is back in action at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon for the Samsung 500.  Jeff Gordon is the defending winner at the 1.5-mile quad-oval, but the winner of the fall race in 2009, Kurt Busch, looks to bounce back from a disappointing 35th-place finish last weekend.
 
Can't get to a television to see the race?  Or are you just sick of what you're hearing? Well don't be afraid to watch a different way - by joining some of your favorite Frontstretch writers for commentary, opinions, polls, and at-the-track insider information you just can't get anywhere else as you follow the race LIVE from your computer.  The action starts at 12:45 PM EST on Sunday, so feel free to drop on by.  And remember, viewer posts are always welcome, so don't be shy -- participate!
 
Today's Top News
by Beth Lunkenheimer

ARCA Qualifying Rained Out, Piquet on Pole for Rattlesnake 150

Rain showers at Texas Motor Speedway Thursday afternoon were enough for ARCA Racing Series officials to cancel Menard's Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell.  Just three drivers had made their qualifying runs when the rain began to fall.  As a result, Nelson Piquet, Jr. will start on the pole in his second career start thanks to racing for 2009 championship team Eddie Sharp Racing.  Justin Lofton led the team to the 2009 championship but has moved to the Red Horse Racing Team in the Camping World Truck Series.

"We're just lucky to be int he championship winning car," Piquet said Thursday.  "Hopefully, starting up front will allow us to lead some laps and run in the clean air."

Starting on the front row with Piquet, Jr. is Chad McCumbee, driving for Mark Gibson Racing.  Gibson Racing's ARCA Rookie of the Year Parker Kligerman finished runner-up in the owner's points in 2009.  Frank Kimmel, nine-time ARCA champion will start third with current points leader Justin Marks starting fourth.  Joey Coulter rounds out the Top 5.  Last week's winner at Salem Speedway, Steve Arpin starts 22nd.

Two local drivers will participate in the 38-car field Friday night.  Nur Ali, of Fort Worth, will start 27th and Plano, TX native James Buescher will start 29th.

Allgaier Fastest in Nationwide Practice

Justin Allgaier was fastest of 46 cars in the first practice for the O'Reilly 300 Nationwide race.  Allgaier turned just 13 laps in his No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Thursday evening, posting a top speed of 185.686.  Greg Biffle was second with his No. 27 Red Man Moist Snuff Ford.  Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Brian Scott and Kyle Busch rounded out the Top 5.

Kevin Harvick turned the sixth quickest speed followed by Mike Bliss.  Points leader Brad Keselowski ran seventh quickest with Paul Menard and Landon Cassill rounding out the Top 10.

The Nationwide Series has its final practice this morning from 10:30-11:50 EST before qualifying is held at 2:45 EST this afternoon.

Speeds for Drivers Outside the Top 30:

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 185.280 mph; 3rd quickest
Mike Bliss 183.337 mph; 7th quickest
David Reutimann 182.383 mph; 13th quickest
Dennis Setzer 181.965mph; 17th quickest
Justin Lofton 181.769; 19th quickest
Mark Green 181.677; 20th quickest
Colin Braun 181.561; 21st quickest
Kevin Lepage 180.856; 25th quickest
Danny O'Quinn Jr. 180.608; 26th quickest
Jason Keller 178.713; 33rd quickest
Shelby Howard 178.324; 35th quickest
Josh Wise 177.789; 37th quickest
Danny Efland 177.218; 39th quickest
Jeremy Clements 177.206; 40th quickest
Morgan Shepherd 176.974; 41st quickest
Derrike Cope 173.016; 46th quickest

Parker Kligerman and Team 42 Racing to Attempt Talladega
by Phil Allaway

In an exclusive, Frontstretch has learned that Parker Kligerman and Team 42 Racing will be attempting to qualify for the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 24.  This race will be the fifth of the year that the team will attempt.

Talladega was not originally on the team's schedule for this season, but with the rainout at Daytona in February, the team, unlike many others who lost their primary restrictor plate cars to wrecks, has a pristine car ready to go..

"I think that [missing Daytona] allowed us to do Talladega because we have that car ready and sitting there [in the shop] and we didn't get to use it," Kligerman told the Frontstretch on Tuesday.

There is also the fact that the Aaron's 312 will be the last restrictor plate race for the current Nationwide Series cars.  The Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona on July 2nd will be the first race for the new Nationwide cars that will be used full-time in 2011.  As a result, there is the impetus to make use of the available car now, since after Talladega, it will be nearly useless.

So far this season, Team 42 Racing and Kligerman have attempted four races and unfortunately only qualified for two of them.  Bad luck has hurt the team significantly.  One DNQ (Daytona) was due to rain, while the other (Bristol) was due to a crash in qualifying.  The team's best finish is a 22nd at Fontana in February. Kligerman says much of their future schedule depends on sponsorship, although Penske Racing is working on deals to put him in as many races as possible.

Have news for Phil, Beth and the Frontstretch?  Don't hesitate to let us know; email us at ashl...@mail.com with a promising lead or tip.
 
In Case You Missed It
by Tom Bowles

“Daytona Patch Worked,” No Word On Repaving

31 years after Daytona’s last repaving in 1979, the track is still uncertain about when the superspeedway will be fully repaved. A tentative plan for 2012 has been in place for a few years now, reconfirmed by ISC President John Saunders. However, Saunders was defensive about the infamous “pothole” incident in a conference call with investors last week, a filling due to torn-up pavement that caused a nearly three-hour delay in this year’s Daytona 500. Saunders blamed the track crumbling on three reasons: an unusually cold winter in Florida, delamination (moisture under the surface), and race cars bottoming out on the asphalt.

Despite at least two of those three reasons likely unfixable, Saunders said no permanent timetable to possibly move up repaving has been reached.

Truck Series Crew Member Violates Substance Abuse Policy

Ryan Sebek, a crew member for Ray Hackett’s No. 76 team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR Tuesday for violating the sport’s substance abuse policy. On April 8, Sebek was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2010 NASCAR rulebook.

There’s been no statement from the team on the incident, as they’re in the midst of a month-long layoff between Nashville and Kansas May 2nd. The No. 76 truck has been most recently driven by ARCA West Champ Brian Johnson, Jr.

Kahne, Rowand In Skills Challenge In San Francisco

In the midst of the biggest week of his career in years, Kasey Kahne wasn’t even in North Carolina for his teleconference yesterday with Hendrick Motorsports. The reason? He was enjoying a few days out on the West Coast, including a skills competition Tuesday against Giants Center Fielder Aaron Rowand.

The challenge was all part of a promotion for June’s Sprint Cup road course weekend at Infineon Raceway June 18th-20th. The two athletes first took part in a remote-control car race around the basepaths at the ballpark, which Rowand won, before the duo played catch while Kahne received some inside tips on the game.

“I haven’t really played baseball since Little League, and Aaron offered me some really good tips,” said Kahne.  “It was really fun to be able swing the bat and take some batting practice.”

Prior to the challenge, Kahne and Rowand also exchanged gifts. Kahne received a No. 9 San Francisco Giants jersey signed by the entire team, while Rowand received a signed race helmet from Kahne.

Kahne is the defending race champion of this year’s Infineon event.
 
It's Frontstretch Podcast Time!
 
Don't forget about Tom Bowles and Matt Taliaferro's Athlon / Frontstretch Podcast, sponsored this season by Wrigley's! Check out the archive by clicking here, and look for the newest edition to head your way sometime later this week! Of course, if all else fails, you can always listen to us on iTunes for FREE! Search for our weekly show under "Athlon."
 
Frontstretch Folio:  Samsung 500
by Tom Bowles

The Sprint Cup Series heads to the Lone Star State this weekend, towards its fourth intermediate track on the 2010 schedule. The Samsung Mobile 500 is the eighth race of the 2010 Sprint Cup season, broadcast live on Sunday, April 18th at 2:00 pm ET on FOX with radio coverage by PRN affiliates nationwide. Competitors will make 334 circuits (500 miles) around the 1.5-mile oval in their quest for the checkered flag.

Records and Facts

Brian Vickers holds the record for the fastest lap at Texas Motor Speedway. He posted a qualifying lap with a time of 27.518 seconds and a speed of 196.235 mph to win the top spot for the 2006 Fall race in Fort Worth. It was Vickers’ fourth and final career pole with Hendrick Motorsports before moving to his current team: the No. 83 Team Red Bull Toyota.

Carl Edwards holds the record for the fastest race time at TMS. He attained the record of three hours, 19 minutes flat with a speed of 151.005 mph in the 2005 Dickies 500. It’s one of three wins for Edwards at this track, also a record for the 30-year-old veteran from Missouri. However, it’s feast or famine for Edwards at TMS; in ten career starts there, he’s got only one other finish inside the top 10. 

Jeff Gordon is the defending champion of the Samsung Mobile 500. His win last year is also his last at the Cup level, breaking an 0-for-17 career drought at the track. Homestead is now the only Cup track Gordon’s ever raced on without scoring at least one Cup victory.

Track Facts
Track/Race Length: 1.5-mile quad-oval, 334 laps, 500 miles
Pit Road Speed: 45 mph
Degree of Banking: Turns 1 & 2 – 24 degrees
                               Turns 3 & 4 – 24 degrees
Frontstretch: Length: 2,250 feet, banked 5 degrees
Backstretch: Length: 1,330 feet, banked 5 degrees 
Grandstand seating: 159,585

Pre-race Schedule
Practice: Friday, April 16th, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST on SPEED
               Saturday, April 17th, 12:30 - 1:15 PM EST on SPEED
Happy Hour: Saturday, April 17th, 1:50 PM – 2:50 PM EST on SPEED
Qualifying: Friday, April 16th, 4:30 PM EST on SPEED

VIP
Grand Marshal / Command: A lucky fan who wins a contest revolving around recycling your mobile phone. For more info, click here.
Honorary Pace Car Driver: Mike Modano
National Anthem: Country music artist Charley Pride

Say What?!?

“Texas is a place with a lot of unique characteristics. The track has bumps in turn 2 and has aged to where grip becomes a big factor late into a run. We want to set the car up to run the bottom, but yet, still have the flexibility to run various lines thru the corners.” – Jay Guy, Brad Keselowski’s crew chief

“The way the air comes off the back of the car with the spoiler versus the wing is going to be totally different. I think you're going to go back to seeing more of the aero push in the front of the car when you get behind somebody tucked up tight. I think the drivers need to be prepared to see a lot of different things happen when they get tucked up together." – Bill Elliott

"Texas will be our second straight race with a RCR car. On paper, the Phoenix finish (26th) wasn't that good, but we sure made some gains after slipping with poor performances in Bristol (36th) and Martinsville (32nd). Having the same RCR car in Texas as we had in Phoenix gives us a good feeling about this weekend. We know Texas is a fast track and we're fine with that." – Regan Smith

“I think anytime you have success at a track, it breeds confidence. But the concern we have is that we didn't have the best race there in the fall, and that track is still very tricky for us.” – Jeff Gordon

Tom Bowles is the Managing Editor for Frontstretch.com. He can be reached at tom.b...@frontstretch.com.

Keepin' It Short
High Speed Racing in Eastern Tennessee at "The Gap"
by Mike Neff

Tracks all over the world like to lay claim to being the fastest and one of the many lies in Bulls Gap just off of Interstate 81 in eastern Tennessee. Volunteer Speedway is a 4/10-mile dirt oval that has 32-degree banked corners and a super smooth, multi-groove racing surface. Joey Saldana is the current track record holder with a lap of 11.696 seconds for an average speed of 123.119 mph. The speedway is a very fan friendly facility with extremely reasonable ticket prices and all of the amenities you could ask for in a local race track.

In 1973 Hugh and Louise Goan broke ground on a new speedway and held their first race midway through 1974, Late Model race won by Danny Burks of Richlands, VA racing a 1973 Chevrolet Laguna. The track is currently owned and operated by Joe and Phyllis Loven, who also own Kingsport Speedway.

Herman Collins won the very first track championship in 1975, the first full season of competition at Volunteer. H. E. Vineyard of Powell Tennessee was the first ever back-to-back champion, winning the title in 1978 and 1979. He also captured the title in 1981 and 1984 to become the first three time and four time track champion. 

In 1997 Vic “The Thrill” Hill won his first track championship and followed it up the following year with his second. He captured the title again in 2000 and 2005, tying Vineyard for the most titles. The 2009 season saw “The Thrill” capture the title once again to become the first ever five time track champion.

Over the past 35 years, thousands of Late Model drivers who have attacked the high banks of “The Gap”. A partial list includes the names: Scott Bloomquist, Steve Smith, Rusty Goddard, Jack Trammell, John Llewellyn, L.D. Ottinger and Doug Carpenter. 

The track has also seen a myriad of sanctioning bodies contest events over its 4/10 mile layout. National Dirt Racing Association (who was the premier sanctioning body in the 70s and 80s), Hav-a-Tampa dirt racing series, United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series, Stacker2 Extreme Dirt Car Series, STARS, Renegade DirtCar Racing Series, O’Reilly Southern All Stars, All Star Circuit of Champions, Pennzoil World of Outlaws, United Sprint Car Series, and the World of Outlaw Late Model series have all turned laps in anger at Volunteer Speedway.

The feature event for the year at Volunteer Speedway is the Scorcher. This 100 lap race brings drivers from all 50 states to compete for a huge purse in a star studded late model race. While this year’s event has not been announced yet, last year’s race was won by Tim McCreadie. McCreadie started on the front row alongside Steve Casebolt. At the drop of the green Don O’Neal charged from fourth to second by the end of the first lap and took the lead on lap 12. O’Neal led McCreadie until lap 78 when a broken J-bar took him out of the race. McCreadie was never headed as he led the remaining 22 laps to take home the $20,000 first prize.

The track runs a schedule from mid-March through mid-October every Saturday night featuring five divisions of racing. The people who run the track pride themselves on the aesthetics of the facility. The entire experience begins as you approach the speedway down the concrete access road to the pit sign in building. From there you drive up an asphalt road to the backside pits and tier parking area. 

The walkway along the top of the front grandstands is completely asphalt. Beginning in 2008 there was a new concession restaurant inside the new pavilion building on the main grandstand side of the track. It features sit-down eating in an environmentally controlled seating area with big screen TVs for sports viewing and musical and comedy entertainment throughout the year. The Gap is well known for its world famous chili which adorns its hotdogs and nachos. They also have hamburgers that are a meal on their own.

Volunteer strives to give its competitors a competitive weekly purse structure and a generous season ending point payout. The racing surface is meticulously groomed to provide top to bottom racing lines affording drivers a multitude of options when hurtling their high powered machines into the high banks of this first class facility. 

If you find yourself in Eastern Tennessee for a Bristol race weekend, or any other weekend during the months of March through October, you’d be well served to check out the “World’s Fastest Dirt Track” at Volunteer Speedway in Bull’s Gap. The amenities are first class and the racing is second to none. The only thing to remember is bring cash because they don’t accept checks or plastic for tickets, and don’t bring your cooler or outside food and drink into the main grandstands, it is not allowed.

Mike Neff is a Senior Writer for Frontstretch.com.  He can be reached via e-mail at mike...@frontstretch.com.

Turning Back the Clock:  Samsung 500 Edition
by Phil Allaway

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Turning Back the Clock, where I take a trip down memory lane and look at an individual race from where the Sprint Cup Series is racing.  This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series (along with the Nationwide Series and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Re/Max and Menards) is in Fort Worth, Texas for the Samsung Mobile 500.

As Texas Motor Speedway is still a relatively new venue for NASCAR, there aren't a whole lot of races to choose from.  As a result, this week's selection was an obvious choice.

As you could expect, I have chosen the 2000 DirecTV 500, run on April 2, 2000 and televised live on CBS.  This race is most notable for two specific things.  First off, it was, sadly, the only career Winston Cup start for 19 year old Adam Petty.  Petty drove a No. 45 Sprint Chevrolet as a teammate to John Andretti and Kyle Petty.  In a cruel bit of irony, Kyle Petty failed to qualify for the race in his No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac (along with Todd Bodine, Wally Dallenbach Jr., Robby Gordon and Dave Marcis), thus robbing Kyle of the chance to race against Adam.

Also of note, the main reason why Adam made his Cup debut in a Chevrolet was the fact that, at the time, Adam was racing a Chevrolet in the Busch Series.  Racing a Chevrolet there was simply the easiest way to go at the time, and car counts would show that in some races, three-quarters of the field were driving Chevrolet Monte Carlos.

Adam's debut race, for someone who really didn't have all that much NASCAR experience, actually went pretty wheel.  Adam qualified his No. 45 in 33rd and was running one lap down in 26th when the engine blew on Lap 216.  Note that at the time of his engine expiration, he was the fourth car off the lead lap.

After retiring from the event, Adam was pleased with his first performance.

"We broke a motor," Adam said to CBS' Bill Stephens.  "That's just my luck.  Last night, we had a car capable of finishing in the Top 5 and somebody blew up in front of me and I got in their wreck.  Today, we was just riding along, running in 24th and blew a motor.  That happens.  We'll come back at Charlotte (Lowe's), at least we didn't tear [the car] up.  I learned a lot, and I just figured out what my line was and how I could get back into my rhythm.  I hope I earned some of those guys' respect out there today.  I had a good time, and we'll go get 'em next week."

As we all know now, there wasn't a next time for Adam.  A crash at Loudon caused by a stuck throttle killed the young racer just five weeks later.

We'll get to the second notable fact a little later.

Defending race champion and Corpus Christi, Texas native Terry Labonte sat on the pole at a speed of 192.137.  He and Kevin Lepage, in the No. 16 FamilyClick.com Ford for Roush Racing lead the field of 43 to the green flag.  Unfortunately, the early parts of the race were plagued by wrecks, like the previous three Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway.  Perhaps there was a reason why this race was already on its fourth name at this point (Previously, the race was known as the Interstate Batteries 500, the Texas 500 and the PrimeStar 500.  The race became the DirecTV 500 as a result of DirecTV acquiring PrimeStar).  The first caution flew on Lap 18 for a crash involving the No. 32 of Scott Pruett.  This was a real shame since Pruett had qualified the No. 32 in third and had just been passed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. (a fellow rookie) for the lead.  Earnhardt Jr.'s teammate Steve Park came up to pass for second and tapped Pruett into a spin.  Pruett hit the wall slightly on the drivers' side.  Pruett continued after the wreck, but the car was never the same.  Pruett ended up finishing 16 laps down in 27th.

Another rookie who found trouble on this day was Stacy Compton, driving the No. 9 Cougar Ford for Melling Racing.  On Lap 87, the rookie cut a tire, spun and hit the wall in turn 2.  Compton took the No. 9 to the garage for repairs, but eventually returned to the race, finishing in 36th place, 79 laps down.

Jeff Gordon, the defending champion of this weekend's race, had absolutely no luck the first few years that the Cup Series raced at TMS.  Here, he got collected in a crash for the fourth consecutive year on Lap 110.  What happened was that rookie Dave Blaney in the No. 93 Amoco Pontiac got loose in Turn 2.  Jerry Nadeau, driving the No. 25 Michael Holigan Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports checked up and got tapped by Gordon.  Nadeau spun out, then Gordon was spun out from behind by Bill Elliott.  Nadeau backed into the wall and did serious damage to his No. 25.  Meanwhile, Elliott got hit from behind by the No. 10 of Johnny Benson while trying to avoid Gordon's spinning car and jumped up onto Gordon's hood as a result.

Gordon was able to continue, but the wreck killed the aerodynamics on the No. 24 and any real chance Gordon had at being competitive.  Gordon finished 25th, 14 laps down.  Elliott also spent extensive time getting repairs and eventually finished 30th, 37 laps down.  Jerry Nadeau was out on the spot and finished 43rd.  Johnny Benson, who spun Elliott into Gordon's car, was later taken out in another crash along with John Andretti.  Benson, who was coming off a career-best second place at Bristol the previous week, was credited with 42nd.

As the race continued on, three elite cars asserted control of the race.  Those were the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr., in only their 11th start in the series, the No. 99 Exide Ford of Jeff Burton (winner of the inaugural race in 1997), and the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac of Bobby Labonte.  These three cars combined to lead a total of 183 of the 334 laps.

Other potential contenders began to fall by the wayside.  Dale Jarrett, who led 18 laps, was involved in a crash on Lap 246.  Jarrett simply got loose on the outside of the No. 4 of Bobby Hamilton and spun into the wall in Turn 1.  Ed Berrier, a rookie driving the No. 90 Hills Brothers Ford for Donlavey Racing also spun to avoid.

Steve Park was also still in contention for the win, leading the race with less than 60 laps to go as a result of taking two tires under caution at Lap 276.  However, late in the going, Park's No. 1 starting belching out smoke, an indication of an engine problem.  Park toughed it out to the end of the race, but he ended up finishing 19th, two laps down.  Park was still in the Top 10 with 35 laps to go before the performance of the engine dropped off.

However, there was also some quirky pit sequences.  The previous caution before the Dale Jarrett crash, which was thrown for a crash involving the No. 27 Viagra Pontiac of rookie Jeff Fuller, occurred towards the end of a round of green-flag pit stops.  Everyone had already stopped except for Roush teammates Kevin Lepage and Chad Little.  This resulted in exactly the type of scenario that the recent wave around rule was created to eliminate:  A restart in which the leader started at the back of the pack.  Jarrett's crash soon after the restart allowed most of the field to get a lap back.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed teammate Park (remember, he took two tires while Earnhardt Jr. was on four) on Lap 282 and pulled away to take his first career Winston Cup victory.  It was also the first-ever Winston Cup victory for Dale Earnhardt Inc.  The margin of victory for Earnhardt Jr. was a substantial 5.92 seconds over Jeff Burton in second.  Bobby Labonte was third, followed by Rusty Wallace and Kevin Lepage, who tied his career-best finish with a fifth.

Jeremy Mayfield was sixth, followed by Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte.  Earnhardt and Labonte stopped under the final caution and took four tires, finishing the highest of those who chose to do so.  Tony Stewart finished ninth after starting 38th, while Ricky Rudd rounded out the Top 10.

Car owner Dale Earnhardt was overcome with happiness when Dale Jr. rolled the No. 8 into Victory Lane, pushing Jade Gurss, Jr.'s PR Minion at the time, to the ground so that he would be the first to talk to the winner.  Earnhardt Jr. wrote in his book, Driver #8, what happened next.

"I love you," the seven-time Winston Cup Champion said to his son.  "I want to make sure you take the time to enjoy this and enjoy what you accomplished today.  You can get so swept up with what's going on around you that you really don't enjoy it yourself, so I want you to take a minute and celebrate how you want to celebrate."

Before Ken Squier could ask Earnhardt Jr. a question in Victory Lane, the old man hoisted Jr. out of his car and onto the door sill to celebrate.  Nobody could get a word in edgewise in what was just the beginning of a truly epic celebration.

I hope you enjoyed this week's look back in time.  Next week is Talladega, where there are plenty of infamous races from which I can choose one to chronicle.  You'll have to wait until next week to see which one I choose.  See you next week.

Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Website Contributor for Frontstretch.com.  He can be reached via e-mail at phil.a...@frontstretch.com.

Blue Smoke And Burnt Rubber - Now For Sale!

Did you miss S.D. Grady’s racing mystery Blue Smoke and Burnt Rubber last year?  Not to worry! The entire story is now available in print at Lulu.com

Lady Luck keeps haunting the teams of Van Lytton Racing.  However, it’s not the kind of luck that lands you in Victory Lane.  When somebody is caught tampering with the fuel during a race, it becomes clear, Lady Luck is having more than a little help. 
 
Chris Weaver, a lowly RV driver for Van Lytton Racing, takes us from track to track on the Grand Stock Car Association circuit while the FBI helps to unravel this deadly mystery.
  
Buy the book today! Visit Lulu.com for details.

TODAY ON THE FRONTSTRETCH:

by Kurt Smith

by John Potts

by the Frontstretch Staff

as told to Amy Henderson

by Bryan Davis Keith

FRONTSTRETCH TRIVIA:

Q.  The 1998 Pronto Auto Parts 400k at Texas Motor Speedway marked the return of Darrell Waltrip's former race team to the track after being parked for a couple of months by new owner Tim Beverley in order to regroup.

Toby Porter was tabbed to drive the white No. 17 Chevrolet and ran very well.  However, an incident put an end to Porter's night.  What happened?

Check back Monday for the answer, here in the Frontstretch Newsletter!
 
Thursday's Answer:

Q.  Joe Nemechek won the Busch Series O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in 2003 despite leading only eight laps and clearly not having the best car.  The best car that day clearly belonged to Brian Vickers.  However, one act severely set him back and was responsible for putting him in the position to get taken out in a huge wreck.  What happened?
 
A.  Brian Vickers was black flagged for illegally passing the No. 19 of Chad Blount despite leading the race at the time (Blount was on the tail end of the lead lap at the time in his APP Gas Cards Dodge for Braun Racing).  Vickers claimed at the time that he was attempting to avoid a potential wreck, but that explanation did not fly.

Luckily, another caution soon afterwards allowed Vickers to stay on the lead lap with the best car.  Unfortunately, a big crash on another restart with ten laps to go took Vickers out of the race, along with a dozen others.  Vickers ended up finishing a very disappointing 25th.

By the way, the slow No. 19 of Chad Blount that technically started this whole mess actually finished fifth, the best ever finish in the Busch Series for Blount
 
Frontstretch Trivia Guarantee: If we mess up, you get the shirt off our backs!  If we've provided an incorrect answer to the Frontstretch Trivia question, be the first to email the corrected trivia answer to tri...@frontstretch.com and we'll send you a Frontstretch T-Shirt ... FREE!
 
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Coming Monday in the Frontstretch Newsletter:
-- Samsung 500 Recap by TBA
-- Big Six:  Samsung 500 by TBA
-- Links to your favorite Frontstretch articles, Stat of the Week and more!
 
Monday on the Frontstretch:

The Cool Down Lap by Doug Turnbull
We'll have a commentary article on the weekend's biggest story ready to go bright and early Monday morning.
 
Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud:  Samsung 500 by Matt McLaughlin
Matt will be here with his overall thoughts about the action this weekend in Texas.
 
Holding a Pretty Wheel by Amy Henderson
Amy is back with another commentary sure to make you sit up and take notice on Monday morning.
 
Running Their Mouth:  Samsung 500 by Summer Dreyer
Did he really say that?  You be he did! Summer brings you the most interesting, unusual, and downright crazy quotes to come from the drivers after Sunday afternoon's Samsung 500.

Bubble Breakdown:  Samsung 500 by Brock Beard
Want to know how some of the teams a little bit further down the order did in the Samsung 500?  Brock has all you need to know in the next edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

Nationwide Series Breakdown:  O'Reilly 300 by Bryan Davis Keith
Bryan will have all the post-race analysis you need after Saturday afternoon's Nationwide Series race.
--------------------------------
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