Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch 5: Staff Picks From the Frontstretch YouTube Page, 2023 Edition

2023 saw another year of massive growth for Frontstretch’s YouTube page.

This year saw over 10,000 new subscribers to the channel and over 11 million views. 

For 2023, our staff members looked back and picked their favorite videos of the year from Frontstretch‘s YouTube.

Read all of Frontstretch‘s content looking back on 2023 here

A Fight Breaks Out in the Garage; An Unlikely Hero Breaks It Up

The 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Season saw many twists and turns along the way. While the season finale saw an unprecedented amount of attrition to determine a champion, the biggest altercation happened during the second round of the Truck playoffs.

In the closing laps at Talladega Superspeedway, rookie Nick Sanchez and veteran Matt Crafton tangled coming out of turn 4. Crafton spun, collecting nine other trucks in the incident.

After the race, Sanchez was walking in the garage area with a couple of team members when Crafton approached him from behind, and the two drivers quickly got into a fight.

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Frontstretch‘s Wyatt Watson got exclusive footage of the altercation, and the moment quickly became viral throughout the NASCAR community.

Cory Roper pulled Sanchez away from the scene as Sanchez was seen with a bloody nose.

Frontstretch‘s Dalton Hopkins caught up with Roper after the fight, and he shared his viewpoint of what happened.

While these are two separate clips, they both paint a vivid picture of what happened following the crash at Talladega.

Sanchez and Crafton were both penalized before the next race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. – Kevin Nix

Tony Stewart Sets SRX’s Standards

Season three of the Camping World SRX Series featured a new TV partner, a new night for racing and a number of new drivers making a foray into the Thursday Night Thunder events.

One constant, however, remained, as Paul Tracy continued to have run-ins with competitors and crash cars.

In the opening races of the summer season, Tracy seemed to almost always have a helping hand in every caution for incident, leading to several torn-up SRX cars.

In the third event of the season at Motor Mile Speedway, Tracy squeezed Josef Newgarden into the outside wall and spun in front of the oncoming cars. As Tracy’s machine slid down the banking towards the inside wall, he collected Ken Schrader, who made heavy contact with the inside wall.

While many drivers had already voiced displeasure with Tracy, co-owner and competitor Tony Stewart finally chimed in.

Frontstretch’s Chase Folsom asked Stewart about fixing the aggressive racing and dwindling car count. His answer: “Quit having the guys that are tearing cars up come back.”

While the crashes all occurred behind Stewart in the event, he followed up by commenting that it “sounds like it’s the same cast of characters” causing the incidents.

Many drivers will talk to the media and give great sound bites but fail to make good on any promise made through their words.

Stewart is not one of those people.

The day after the race at Motor Mile, SRX announced its decision to suspend Tracy from the series. He did not return in 2023. -Caleb Barnes

Ryan Blaney Calls Denny Hamlin “Hack” After Hard Racing at Homestead

The NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Homestead had no shortage of action, with dramatic moments, the beginning of the end for two title favorites and a late bloomer in Christopher Bell.

Toward the end of the race, a ferocious battle ensued between Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney, with the drivers going door to door for several laps. Hamlin attempted a couple of slide jobs but came up short. Finally, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver completed the pass, but it was short-lived. Hamlin entered turn 1 shortly after passing Blaney only to have something break in the steering, sending his car into the wall.

After the race, Frontstretch’s Jared Haas joined other media members in talking to Blaney, who finished runner-up in the event. When discussing the battle with Hamlin, the spicy side of Blaney’s typically mild-mannered personality came through, as he said, “he tried to slide me two or three times and failed miserably, and then he decided to use me up.” That was quickly followed with Blaney firing back “What did he say, hack? I think he was that today,” in reference to Hamlin using the same term for Alex Bowman at Martinsville Speedway in 2021.

That race and moment were symbolic in a way. Though a win at Talladega propelled his run to the 2023 title, Blaney earned the result after having a penalty rescinded from the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Homestead proved to be the additional shot in the arm he needed, while it was the beginning of Hamlin coming up short once again. -Luken Glover

You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is busy these days. He’s stepped into the TV booth for NBC, worked with NASCAR to help restore tracks such as North Wilkesboro Speedway, owned cars for upcoming drivers at JR Motorsports at the NASCAR Xfinity Series and late model level and is part of the ownership group for the CARS Tour. He also gives fans a window into his family history as well as other guests from within the industry via his podcast, the Dale Jr. Download.

So when a semi-retired driver with a lot on his plate gets into a racecar, people surely don’t expect them to excel, right?

Expectations out the window, Earnhardt strapped back into a car twice this year in the Xfinity Series and finished fifth in his most recent start at Homestead.

“I had fun, ran great, top 10, top five if I can,” he said post-race. “We had good runs this year, it’s silly to think you can run these races once or twice a year and do good. … I’ll go six months and forget how hard it is and be like, ‘let’s do that again!'”

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2023 Top NASCAR Storylines: Denny Hamlin Emerges As NASCAR's Undisputed Villain

Not long after, he got back into his late model and raced in the South Carolina 400 at Florence Motor Speedway alongside drivers like Josh Berry, Josh Williams and Carson Kvapil. Earnhardt finished eighth this time.

“I should have came back years ago and did this but I’d been worried about getting my butt kicked,” he told Frontstretch‘s Chase Folsom and Trenton Worsham post-race. “… I ran four races this year and thought three would be my limit. It’s fun and it’s important.”

One thing never gets old and is always a highlight for fans, and that’s seeing the legends of the sport still compete, have fun doing it and show they still have it. -Trenton Worsham

Actions Speak Louder than Actions Detrimental to JJ Yeley

When Denny Hamlin started his podcast Actions Detrimental, fans were going to see a different side of the driver of the No. 11 car.

On his podcast, Hamlin preached about drivers racing with respect after the chaotic race at Circuit of the Americas in 2023. The next weekend at Richmond Raceway, Hamlin found himself at the center of controversy — with some finding his podcast comments a bit hypocritical considering what happened there.

After Hamlin was too fast exiting pit road, he restarted at the rear of the field. While trying to move through the field, he made contact with JJ Yeley going into turn 1 and brought out the caution.

Yeley was able to continue but finished 36th, 17 laps down. Hamlin came home 20th.

Post-race, Frontstretch‘s Michael Massie caught up with an unhappy Yeley, who was not happy with Hamlin spinning him early in the race.

“This guy has been preaching respect the last few weeks,” Yeley said. “It’s really silly.”

Hamlin apologized to Yeley over text following the race weekend. But at Bristol, Yeley told Frontstretch‘s Dalton Hopkins that he “expected a little more from him” since they were once teammates at JGR. -Jared Haas

About the author

Jared Haas joined the Frontstretch staff in May 2020. A graduate of Cedarville University in December 2019, Jared has been a NASCAR fan since 2006. Jared has worked with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2023.

Luken Glover joined the Frontstretch team in 2020 as a contributor, furthering a love for racing that traces back to his earliest memories. Glover inherited his passion for racing from his grandfather, who used to help former NASCAR team owner Junie Donlavey in his Richmond, Va. garage. A 2023 graduate from the University of the Cumberlands, Glover is the author of "The Underdog House," contributes to commentary pieces, and does occasional at-track reporting. Additionally, Glover enjoys working in ministry, coaching basketball, playing sports, and karting.

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