The Frontstretch Newsletter: April 27th, 2010

1 view
Skip to first unread message

Apr 27, 2010, 4:16:39 AM4/27/10
to The Frontstretch
Presented by
The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
April 27th, 2010
Volume IV, Edition LXXVII
What is it they always say about better late than never? Here at the Frontstretch, we have the perfect fantasy league for those who forgot to set their teams in February. Whether you're looking to jump in midseason, you're already out of contention elsewhere, or simply looking to pick up another league, our Game of Tomorrow is the perfect place to have fun and compete against your friends! Registration is FREE, and the year-end champ gets a trophy AND a Frontstretch Prize Package! Who can beat that?
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND SIGN UP FOR THIS FREE LEAGUE. The first round of scoring starts at Richmond this Saturday, so sign up now before it's too late!
Top News Stories
by Summer Dreyer and Doug Turnbull

Hendrick Motorsports Works on Securing Sponsorship, Crew Chiefs is reporting that Budweiser might move over to Hendrick Motorsports after this season. HMS general manager Marshall Carlson has apparently been in talks with Anheuser Busch about Budweiser moving over to the team after the end of the 2010 season. Budweiser is the current sponsor for Kasey Kahne at Richard Petty Motorsports, but is leaving the team at the end of this season. No announcement has been made as to whether or not Budweiser will follow him to HMS in 2012 or elsewhere in 2011.

There is a possibility of a sponsor conflict because of HMS’s affiliation with Pepsi. However, team owner Rick Hendrick says it “depends on which car it’s on.”

Kahne will be replacing Mark Martin at HMS beginning in 2012, and rumors have been circulating as to what Martin will do then. Team ownership has been mentioned many times, and Hendrick has said that he would be willing to supply Martin’s team if that’s what he decides to do. HMS already supplies engines and chassis to Stewart Haas Racing, and James Finch could possibly be selling a portion of Phoenix Racing.

Furthermore, HMS will potentially have an announcement in the next few days on an extension for crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Alan Gustafson. Knaus is the crew chief for four time defending champion Jimmie Johnson, who recently signed an extension through 2015 with the team; and Gustafson is Martin’s crew chief. HMS has not announced if Gustafson will crew chief for Kahne once he moves over to HMS.

If Budweiser does in fact sign with Hendrick Motorsports, it would be a return to the team.  Budweiser served as the primary sponsor of the No. 25/50 Chevrolet from 1995-1999.  In that time, the Budweiser car was driven by Ken Schrader, Ricky Craven, Jack Sprague, Todd Bodine, Randy LaJoie and Wally Dallenbach Jr.

Sam Hornish Jr. Expected to Remain with Penske

Roger Penske said after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday that he plans to keep Sam Hornish Jr. in the car for 2011. Mobil 1, Hornish’s current sponsor, is leaving the No. 77 Dodge at the end of this season, due to Shell/Pennzoil moving over as primary sponsor of Kurt Busch’s car. Penske Racing currently is searching for a new sponsor for Hornish.

“Our plan is to run three cars next year and Sam is in that program,” Penske said. “We’re planning on it. … Sam has been with us, he won the Indy 500 with us, he came over here, he’s endured and he’s run better than his points position.”

The three-time IZOD Indycar Series champion is in the third and final season of his contract with Penske. He is currently 28th in the driver standings with an average finish of 24th.

Buescher says Phoenix Racing will run rest of ’10 season

James Buescher is not worried about his future with the No. 1 Phoenix Racing Nationwide Series team.

FoxSports broke news last week that James Finch’s Phoenix Racing team, a longtime NASCAR fixture, is up for sale. The 20 year-old Buescher tells that this news has no effect on the team’s operations this season.

“I don’t have any doubt,” said Buescher at Talladega Sunday morning, in regard to whether or not the No. 1 Chevy will complete the rest of the season. “We’re here through Homestead. James Finch, at the beginning of the year, told me we’re running through Homestead, then we lost Miccosukee [an Indian-run casino and resort and longtime Phoenix Racing sponsor in both the Cup and Nationwide Series]. He still says we are running through Homestead. If he says he is going to do something, then he is going to do it. I really don’t have any doubt of that.”

Buescher’s statement didn’t waver, even when posed with the possibility of someone having different feeling about running an unsponsored car, if they bought the operation midseason.

“He won’t sell it during the year. He’s running it through the end of the year. I’ll be in the 1 car all year.”

Buescher, who sits 20th in NNS points with one top-10 and four DNFs, also says that there have been no talks about him getting any seat time in Finch’s No. 09 Sprint Cup Series ride. The No. 09 has returned to start-and-park status after sponsor Miccosukee’s departure and has seen driver Aric Almirola leave the team. Mike Bliss drove the No. 09 Chevy to a 10th place finish at Talladega Sunday in the same car the Brad Keselowski won with in the same race in 2009.

Phoenix Racing also campaigns a part-time ARCA Series ride that Buescher has driven that Bill Elliott Racing developmental driver Casey Roderick finished 2nd at Rockingham in last year and scored a pole in at the road course in Palm Beach, SC this year. Roderick is scheduled to run the No. 51 Monolith Companies car, which is built in Phoenix Racing’s shop but taken to the track by Bill Elliott Racing, in several races later this season. An official with Bill Elliott Racing says that those races are contractual and will still occur as planned.

Have news for Summer, Doug, and the Frontstretch? Don't hesitate to let us know; email us at with a promising lead or tip.
Got NASCAR-related questions or comments?
Send them Matt Taliaferro's way at; and if you're lucky, you'll get your name in print when he does his weekly column answering back to you – the fans that keep Frontstretch afloat. Fanning The Flames returns Thursday with a whole new set of Fan Questions and Answers!

Numbers Game:  Aaron's 499
by Summer Dreyer
Average finish by Jamie McMurray in the last three restrictor plate races.
Number of positions Kevin Harvick gained in the point standings after his victory.
Number of cautions in the Aaron’s 499.
Number of cars involved in the second big crash of the day on Lap 190.
Number of cars involved in the first big crash of the day on lap 84.
Number of cars on the lead lap at the end of Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Previous records for most leaders in a NASCAR race.
Laps led by Jeff Burton in Sunday’s race, the most of anybody.
Number of leaders in Sunday’s race, a new record.
Number of different drivers involved in accidents in Sunday’s race.
Number of cars running at the finish at the end of the Aaron’s 499.
Number of laps spent under caution at Talladega.
Number of races Richard Childress Racing went without a victory.
Previous record for the most lead changes in a NASCAR race, set in May, 1984.
Number of lead changes in the Aaron’s 499, the most of any race in NASCAR history.
Number of races Kevin Harvick went without a victory before Sunday.  Previously, his last win had been in the 2007 Daytona 500.
Number of green flag passes for the lead in the Aaron’s 499.
Average speed, in miles per hour, of the Aaron's 499.
Number of miles scheduled to be run on Sunday between the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.
Actual number of miles run on Sunday.  Both races went overtime due to Green-White-Checker restarts.
Number of people in attendance for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Summer Dreyer is a Contributor to  She can be reached via e-mail at
Think you have what it takes to write for the Frontstretch?
Are you looking for a fast-growing website that can give you an opportunity to not only share your thoughts on racing, but have FUN doing it with a group of laid-back, dedicated personnel?  Well, we have the place for you.  Frontstretch is actively seeking 4-6 additional writers for both our newsletter and website to add to our dedicated staff in 2010.  Follow this link for more information on how you can become a weekly columnist!
Today's Featured Commentary
When the Draft Steals Your Breath Away
Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View

by S.D. Grady
I’m no engineer. I understand the concepts of air, pressure, speed, draft, lift etc. etc. But if you ask me to crunch numbers, I begin to quake in my shoes. However, my eyes work just fine. And I’m pleased to say, it appears NASCAR has finally rediscovered the magic restrictor plate/stock car/pavement combination needed to provide the best in bumpdrafting.
I sat in thrall all Sunday afternoon as pair after pair of cars hooked up and proceeded to rocket to the front of the pack. I didn’t need anybody to tell me that the current setup is perfect for the needed airstream to slip over both competitors. You could see it.
It didn’t much matter that once out front, that seemingly victorious duo was doomed to slide right back to where they came from. I knew one thing, once they found another dancing partner, the slingshot would be reset and again I would get to see my favorite move in all of racing…the bumpdraft.
When done right, it is a thing of beauty. And this season’s version of a true “draft lock”, it was a breathtaking combination of fearlessness, brute force and precision driving. When running at superspeedways such as Daytona and Talladega, it’s even more delightful when you see somebody complete the maneuver at such insane speeds.
It’s not so wondrous when someone forgets to match up their bumpers. I was crushed when Joey Logano, after spending much of the afternoon using his skills wisely, didn’t quite line up the No. 39 with the nose of his No. 20…and the predictable chaos ensued.
Now, I’ve heard more than once that bumpdrafting is the evil which engenders the type of mayhem so often found at Talladega. However, I can’t say this is unequivocally so.
Last autumn, NASCAR decreed my beloved bumpdraft anathema. We proceeded to watch one of the most boring races I can recall in recent history—and there’ve been a few to vie for the honor in the past two seasons. However, we still witnessed Ryan Newman fly upside down and a last lap wreck that destroyed many of the front running cars.
Those wrecks were a result of too many cars going too fast on too little acreage. That is, indeed, an undeniable characteristic of plate racing, which I am not here to debate.
That is not to say that I was left with an entirely favorable taste in my mouth after the final checkered flag was thrown. The utilization of all three green-white-checkers managed to take the wind out of my sails. The unstoppable momentum that we enjoyed through most of the ultimate 200 laps struggled to bring home a finish we could all agree upon as rewarding.
Still, you can’t deny that Harvick’s learned move in the final lap of the race, which stole the lead from feel-good finisher McMurray, was one that can only be found in the best Hall of Fame races. Yet, how much more satisfying would a 15-lap race to the finish have been where teammates hooked up and pushed each other out front, only to be defeated by yet another hard charging duet?
For me, that was the only thing missing from the Aaron’s 499.
But you know, since the boys took NASCAR’s “bumpdrafting is approved” charge to heart, I have every confidence that I just might get to see that finale in years to come.
I’m looking forward to it.
S.D. Grady is a Senior Writer for She can be contacted at
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
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 for details.
by the Frontstretch Staff
by Tom Bowles
by Bryan Davis Keith
by Phil Allaway
by Doug Turnbull

.  The 1988 Pontiac Excitement 400 was the final race on the original Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway .542 mile configuration.  The bulldozers were literally brought out right after the race in order to start ripping up the track.  However, this race is known for another quirk.  What happened?
Check back Wednesday for the answer, here in the Frontstretch Newsletter!
Monday's Answer:
Q.  When ESPN aired the NASCAR 50th Anniversary marathon on espn2 in 1997, the 1996 Pontiac Excitement 400 from Richmond International Raceway was included in the countdown for one primary reason.  What was this primary reason?
A.  The primary reason that was given during the marathon was the cold weather.  Air temperatures during the race that day were in the 20's, guaranteeing a cold day for everyone outside of the race cars.  In addition, this was ESPN's first Winston Cup telecast from Richmond since the early 1980's.  ESPN lost the rights to televise the Spring race from Richmond to WTBS in 1983.  The September race was picked up by TBS in 1988 after the track was reconfigured.  Before that, it was carried by SETN.
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 and we'll send you a Frontstretch T-Shirt ... FREE!
Save Big at Porter and Pittsburgh Paint Locations Nationwide! has negotiated a special price for its readers on all paints and sundries at any corporate owned Porter Paints or Pittsburgh Paints location.  Tell your sales associate to use account number TA000553 to let them know that you are a Frontstretch reader, and you are entitled to a 15% discount off the WHOLESALE price on any stocked item. Not valid at dealer locations.
Coming tomorrow in the Frontstretch Newsletter:
-- Top News from Summer Dreyer
-- Full Throttle by Mike Neff
-- Links to your favorite Frontstretch articles, and more!
Tomorrow on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice? by Tom Bowles
Tom's back with his weekly batch of small NASCAR observations that are guaranteed to make you smile.  Topics include . 
Mirror Driving by the Frontstretch Staff
The Mirror crew is at it again with their weekly writing roundtable.  This week's topics include whether an 850 mile doubleheader at Talladega was really a good idea, whether Sunday's Aaron's 499 was an example of a great restrictor plate race or simply a toss-up, the infamous Yellow line rule, and more.
Voice of Vito by Vito Pugliese
The Green-White-Checker restart policy at the end of races, instituted for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series in 2004, launched with the Camping World Truck Series in 1995, and retooled at the beginning of this year, have granted drivers the chance to settle races on the track instead of having races simply end under caution.  However, is it getting out of hand now?  Vito looks into the issue.

Frontstretch Top Ten by Jeff Meyer
Jeff's weekly list based on the latest NASCAR controversy will start your morning off with a laugh -- guaranteed.

Frontstretch Sprint Cup Power Rankings:  Aaron's 499 Edition by the Frontstretch Staff
Is your favorite driver primed to make a run at the title? To get there, he'll probably need to secure a spot atop our top 15 poll. Take a look and see who's on track to do just that following Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
Got something to say about an article you've seen in the newsletter? It's as easy as replying directly to this message or sending an email to We'll take the best comments and publish them here!

Feel free to forward this newsletter if you have any friends who loves
NASCAR and great NASCAR commentary. They can subscribe to the Frontstetch by visiting
If you want to stop your Frontstretch Newsletter subscription, we're sorry
to see you go. Just send an email to from the address that you
recieve the Frontstretch Newsletter.
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages