What to Watch: Tuesday THE FRONTSTRETCH NEWSLETTER
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The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Nov. 8, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXCIX
HAPPY ELECTION DAY!
- Today is swap-over day at the shops as teams get themselves packed up for the long haul to Arizona from North Carolina. 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: Gray Gaulding Returns, DJ Kennington to Attempt Sprint Cup Series Debut in Can-Am 500
The Sprint Cup Series entry list is out for Sunday's Can-Am 500 and there are a couple of changes. Gray Gaulding is back in The Motorsports Group's No. 30 Chevrolet while Pinty's Series veteran DJ Kennington is entered in the Premium Motorsports No. 55. Read more
Entry List: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Makes Return to XFINITY Series in Ticket Galaxy 200
The penultimate XFINITY Series race of 2016 has 42 teams entered to battle for 40 starting spots. Roush Fenway Racing has also entered a third car for Sprint Cup regular (and former two-time champion) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Read more
Entry List: Noah Gragson, Myatt Snider to Attempt Truck Series Debuts in Lucas Oil 150
For the Camping World Truck Series, 32 trucks are entered in Friday night's Lucas Oil 150. Kyle Busch Motorsports' latest signing, Noah Gragson, will make his series debut, along with Myatt Snider in the Self Motorsports No. 22. Read more
Today's Featured Commentary
Changing the Face of NASCAR to Protect Drivers' Health
Sitting in the Stands: A Fan's View
by S.D. Grady
When we head to Homestead in just two more weeks, there will be four teams running for the ultimate trophy in NASCAR -- the Sprint Cup. We do say team, don't we? Equally often, racing fans talk of the No. 18 team in terms of Kyle Busch, or the No. 88 as Dale Jr. Thus, when it happens that the face of a championship-caliber organization is forced to sit down due to an injury, like a concussion, NASCAR Nation is subject to panic. Because without the driver, the future of the whole team will be lost.
It is time to adjust our thinking.
Last week, researchers at Boston University released their findings that Kevin Turner, a former New England Patriots Fullback who had been diagnosed with ALS, actually died this past March of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He was 46. This is just the latest medical finding that illustrates just how pervasive concussions are in the sports world and how many athletes have performed while injured over the years.
As a society, we have spent the past fifty years admiring the man who could work past his current injuries and still outperform other healthy competitors. We taught our children and ourselves that it was more important to suck it up and stick it out rather than seek medical attention for real and serious health problems. This mindset is prevalent in every segment of our daily lives. How often do we head out to work while suffering from the flu because we don't want to be known as the one who calls out? Meanwhile, we are spreading disease and slowing our own recovery.
We have taught our children to follow these self-sacrificing examples every time we told them it was just a bump on the head. They'd be fine.
Meanwhile, those heroes who played the hardest and lived through the pain are spending their final years in excruciating agony.
The fact is, in our modern age the loss of a single individual for one or a few days can be easily compensated by their trusted team of co-workers. Even if it's the boss who succumbs to an illness, a properly functioning workplace can carry the load for a short time without their leader.
The driver in a NASCAR team is really a single cog in the racing machine. While the advertisers and sponsors might have a fit if their multi-million dollar face doesn't manage to make the race, the fact is that the No. 24 or the No. 14 would likely perform reasonably well with a different driver behind the wheel for a couple races. The team, if they are worthy of a Cup, is built of many talented people that come together to create a car that is fast and can be driven by an elite pilot.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. may be the face of NASCAR, but he is not the lifeblood of the No. 88. Brad Keselowski, who has been very vocal decrying the newly instituted concussion protocols, is not the defining factor of whether the No. 2 will be able to make a run for the Cup in any given season.
By continuing to place the driver as the focal point of any NASCAR team, we will continue to question the validity of medical science and the severity of diagnoses in favor of making sure a familiar face keeps their appointment for the cameras every Sunday afternoon. How very selfish.
That person, every person, deserves the opportunity to chase their dreams. They also deserve the right to live a long and healthy life, able to take time out of their harried schedules to recover when their job asks too much of their bodies.
Embracing the findings regarding concussions that continue to surface from the medical community is our opportunity as a society to place an individual's life above our desires.
Let's stop treating our athletes like machines that can run forever without breaking down. Leave those expectations to their cars. Let's all have a long, happy life. Every one of us.
You have got to admit that Eddie Gossage has a great nose for an awesome tribute. Last year, the President of Texas Motor Speedway awarded Jeff Gordon a pair of ponies as a parting gift. You have to admit, while handing over living creatures as a token of affection can be a dubious decision, it was certainly memorable.
Well, Gossage did it again. For Tony Stewart's grand retirement gift, Eddie gave a life-sized bobblehead to Smoke. Yep...it really did bobble. Here's how it was made!
Numbers Game: AAA Texas 500
by Tom Bowles
Laps led by Kasey Kahne at Texas. Kahne has still not led a lap all season with just two races remaining.
Laps led by Brad Keselowski Sunday at Texas. He led 312 laps in a dominant performance last fall.
Victory by Joe Gibbs Racing during this year's Chase for the Championship: Carl Edwards at Texas.
Points separating Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano for the final two transfer spots.
Top-5 finishes for Kurt Busch the entire Chase. Busch, who was 20th at Texas sits 32 points behind a transfer spot to the Championship 4 with one race remaining.
The maximum number of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers that could still reach the Championship 4 at Homestead. Jimmie Johnson is the only non-JGR driver who has secured a spot.
Victories at Phoenix in the last six races for Kevin Harvick. Harvick will likely need a win Sunday to have any hope of advancing to the Championship 4.
Hours of rain delay Sunday that turned Texas into a night race. Mother Nature also forced the event from NBC to NBCSN.
Top-10 finishes in eight races for Matt Kenseth in the Chase. He's currently on the outside looking in at the Championship 4.
Lead changes Sunday at Texas, the fewest for any Sprint Cup race ever run there.
TODAY AT FRONTSTRETCH:
by Matt McLaughlin
by Jeff Wolfe
by Phil Allaway
Q: An important "last" in the history of American sports car racing took place at Phoenix International Raceway. What was this?
Check back Tuesday for the answer, here in the Frontstretch Newsletter!
Q: The 1989 Autoworks 500k at Phoenix saw Bobby Hamilton make his Winston Cup debut. With what team did he debut with and why?
A: Hamilton made his Winston Cup debut with Hendrick Motorsports in one of five entries from the team in the race, the No. 51 Exxon Chevrolet (a sixth car for Tommy Ellis failed to qualify). For those of you that are longtime fans, that might sound familiar. Yes, Hamilton was driving Rowdy Burns' car from Days of Thunder. The original plan was to film some footage for the movie during the race. Then, Hamilton qualified the No. 51 fifth for the event. The plan changed. Hamilton ran very well in the race before dropping out due to engine woes.
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.
Find out where your favorite driver ranks after Martinsville when our experts from across the web weigh in for The 10.
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