The Frontstretch Newsletter: Carl Edwards Uses Pit Work to Claim Texas Victory

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Nov 7, 2016, 1:38:52 PM11/7/16
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THE FRONTSTRETCH NEWSLETTER
Presented by Frontstretch.com
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Nov. 7, 2016
Volume X, Edition CXCVIII

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What to Watch: Monday

- It's Monday, so it is a work day once again as teams prepare for Phoenix.  If anything of note breaks today, we'll have it for you at Frontstretch.

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

Carl Edwards Wins Rain-Shortened AAA Texas 500, Advances to Championship 4

Rains played a huge rule on Sunday as the start of the Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway was delayed by more than five hours.  When the skies cleared, Carl Edwards took advantage of pit strategy to get to the front, then beat Martin Truex, Jr. out of the pits late.  From there, he held on until rain once again stopped the race 40 laps early - this time for good.  As a result, Edwards claimed his third win of the year and locked himself into championship contention.  Joey Logano was second, followed by Truex, Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch.  Read more

Joey Logano Walks Away from Texas Disappointed in Second-Place Finish

For much of Sunday's AAA Texas 500, Joey Logano dominated.  Logano snagged the lead right as the race went green at the beginning of lap 7 and managed to lead 178 of the 293 circuits completed on the 1.5-mile oval.  However, Logano lost the lead during a round of green-flag stops to Martin Truex, Jr. and never got it back.  Read more

Kyle Larson Wins XFINITY O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas

On Saturday, Kyle Larson outlasted the field to pick up the victory in the XFINITY Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, denying anyone the chance to lock into the Championship 4 at Homestead.  Brad Keselowski was second, followed by Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez.  Read more

Matt DiBenedetto Out After Wreck, Jeffrey Earnhardt to Sub

During Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, Matt DiBenedetto had a hard crash in turn 3, caused by an issue on an earlier pit stop.  NASCAR placed DiBenedetto in the concussion protocol, preventing him from racing on Sunday.  Rookie Jeffrey Earnhardt subbed for him in the No. 83 Toyota.  Read more

Johnny Sauter Goes Back-to-Back, Wins Texas

Martinsville winner Johnny Sauter dispatched of Matt Crafton and Daniel Hemric in the closing laps Friday night in order to claim his second straight win in the Striping Technology 350k.  Crafton was second, followed by Hemric, Tyler Reddick and Daniel Suarez.  Read more

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

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Chasing the Chase: Carl Edwards Removes Himself from Trouble
by Phil Allaway

Going into Phoenix, the points are very tight.  Somewhat artificially so, but tight.  Jimmie Johnson chose to pit during the final caution, thinking that the race would have gone back to green.  Had that happened, Johnson would have been sitting pretty.  Instead, he dropped out of the top 10 due to his stop and finished 11th.  That put him into a tie with two other drivers, both of whom likely had different ideas on how Sunday's race went.  Joey Logano led 178 laps early, but fell back through the field.  It was only on the final run of the night that he was able to get back to second.  Kyle Busch, meanwhile dealt with an ill-handling car and a hole in the nose only to charge back late and finish fifth.  Johnson is locked into Homestead by virtue of his win at Martinsville.

Matt Kenseth is one point behind Johnson, Logano and Kyle Busch after starting and finishing seventh on Sunday.  But due to teammate Carl Edwards' win, he is currently on the outside of the championship race looking in.  Just one point behind Kenseth is Denny Hamlin, who finished ninth on Sunday.  Kevin Harvick is now 18 points back in sixth after finishing sixth; however, Harvick is onto his best track in Phoenix.

Carl Edwards entered Texas eighth in points, but his victory locks him into the final round.  The standings are close enough that winning would have likely been the only way he could have gotten in.  Without the win, Edwards would still be 25 points out in seventh and would have likely needed a victory in Phoenix to advance.  Kurt Busch had another unsatisfactory finish back in 20th and is currently eighth, bringing up the rear in the Chase.

Outside of the Round of 8, Martin Truex, Jr. leads the "Best of the Rest" after finishing third on Sunday.  He is 31 points ahead of Brad Keselowski, who uncharacteristically struggled on Sunday on his way to a 14th-place finish.  Keselowski had dominated the race at Texas last fall only to lose to Johnson in the closing laps.

Chase Elliott's fourth-place run at Texas moved him up a place to 11th in points, while Kyle Larson is 12th.  Austin Dillon's wreck in the race, a tangle with Harvick put him down to 13th in the standings, but with a healthy cushion over Tony StewartJamie McMurray is one point behind Stewart in 15th and Chris Buescher rounds out the former Chasers in 16th.

Chase Point Standings: t-1) Jimmie Johnson 4074, t-1) Joey Logano 4074, t-1) Kyle Busch 4074, 4) Matt Kenseth -1, 5) Denny Hamlin -2, 6) Kevin Harvick -18, 7) Carl Edwards -25, 8) Kurt Busch -34.

Best of the Rest: 9) Martin Truex, Jr. 2265, 10) Brad Keselowski -31, 11) Chase Elliott -42, 12) Kyle Larson -56, 13) Austin Dillon -73, 14) Tony Stewart -99, 15) Jamie McMurray -100, 16) Chris Buescher -122, 17) Kasey Kahne -1399, 18) Ryan Newman -1415, 19) AJ Allmendinger -1492, 20) Ryan Blaney -1501, 21) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. -1523, 22) Trevor Bayne -1538, 23) Danica Patrick -1611.

Regular Point Standings: 1) Kevin Harvick 1083, 2) Brad Keselowski -27, 3) Joey Logano -32, 4) Kyle Busch -53, 5) Denny Hamlin -66, 6) Kurt Busch -92, 7) Martin Truex, Jr. -98, 8) Carl Edwards -108, 9) Jimmie Johnson -124, 10) Matt Kenseth -141, 11) Chase Elliott -179, 12Austin Dillon -212, 13) Kasey Kahne -217, 14) Kyle Larson -231, 15) Ryan Newman -233, 16Jamie McMurray -242, 17) AJ Allmendinger -310, 18) Ryan Blaney -319, 19) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. -340, 20) Trevor Bayne -355.

Outside the top 16, but in the Chase: 25) Tony Stewart -486, 27) Chris Buescher -568.

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, 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), Tony Stewart (Sonoma), Chris Buescher (Pocono-2), Kyle Larson (Michigan-2).
 
Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for Frontstretch.com.  He can be reached via e-mail at ashl...@mail.com.
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Letter of the Race: Sunday's AAA Texas 500 was brought to you by the Letter "W," for "Waiting."  The time required to get the track surface dry at Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday's race was just plain unacceptable.  It bites.  It rained for 25 minutes but the oval required over five hours to dry.  Inpatient fans, or those who had long drives home in order to work today were unable to wait out the delays.    - Phil Allaway

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Quotes to Remember: AAA Texas 500
compiled by Phil Allaway

"This is really a good test for us.  We had the adversity last week.  We knew what we had to do.  To be able to actually go do it is great.  That was really nice. Now we know we can do it.  We've been through it.  We just have to go to Homestead and do it again. Like I said then, I'll say it again, anything short of a championship will be a disappointment.  We have a championship‑caliber team, parts, crew, pit crew.  We need to be able to go do it." - Carl Edwards, race winner

"We had such a fast car, especially in the beginning of the race.  Took off and we drove off to a six‑ or seven‑second lead.  Was feeling pretty good about it.  As the track kind of changed, we lost our handle a little bit.  Lost the lead.  Kind of went all the way back to fifth. The team did a very good job on executing when we needed to.  Just, you know, didn't have enough laps.  It seemed like the momentum swung the other way about three or four laps to go before the caution came out when I started catching the No. 19 pretty rapidly.  Unfortunately, it just started raining.  That was the end of the race, so... you know, it is what it is.  We're going to be close.  There's a lot of cars that are going to be close going into Phoenix.  It's going to be entertaining.  It's going to be probably the closest Phoenix race we've ever seen as far as points.  It's going to be a fun one, for sure." - Joey Logano, finished second


"Well, it was obvious earlier today we didn't know if it was going to rain or if it wasn't.  That kind of threw a loop into things.  The track was quite a bit different today for probably the first 20, 25 laps.  That first run was really hard on tires.  A lot of guys were struggling at the competition caution.  Honestly, aside from that, the track was real similar to practice, I felt like.  We struggled with the same issues.  Seemed like everybody was having similar issues as practice, just being loose.  Interesting that the tires were so much different the last time around.  But, all in all, it was a good day for us.  We battled hard.  We fought.  Had a great racecar at times.  Looked like we were in position to have a shot at winning.  Then, the last pit stop, we had a little bit of an issue.  Then, inside restarts after that are just really tough.  The leader on the outside has a big advantage.  I guess, all in all, happy with third, but wish we could have won tonight." - Martin Truex, Jr., finished third


"Our Busch Beer Chevy was off.  We were tight, we were loose, and we were kind of all over the place. We could take off OK, but we would fall way off at the end of a run. I just want to apologize to the No. 3 (Austin Dillon). He kind of came up there and he slid in front of me and got loose, and when he checked up I hit him again. That was not anything I wanted to see. All in all, everybody battled and did all they could, and we just didn’t have a fast enough car." - Kevin Harvick, finished sixth


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

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TODAY AT FRONTSTRETCH:

by Mike Neff

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FRONTSTRETCH TRIVIA:

Q: The 1989 Autoworks 500k at Phoenix saw Bobby Hamilton make his Winston Cup debut.  With what team did he debut with and why?

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

Friday's Answer:

Q:  The 1998 Texas 500 race weekend had some infrastructure issues (in addition to a bunch of wrecks and multiple drivers sent to the hospital).  What happened?

A: Knowing how Sunday's AAA Texas 500 played out, its actually quite apropos.  Back in 1998, Texas Motor Speedway had a drainage issue.  Water would seep up through the track in turns 1 and 2, roughly where the huge bump is now.  This problem led to crashes in qualifying and a complete repave/reconstruction in between the Winston Cup/Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck/IRL race weekends.

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COMING TOMORROW

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.

On Frontstretch.com:
Amy Henderson takes a closer look at how some of the sport's smaller teams fared at Texas in Underdog House.
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