In this week’s edition of Dave Mathers’ Motion Motorsport Report, he covers the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame inductions, the Indy 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Monaco GP and much more.
THE CANADIAN MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME: Last Friday night, London, Ontario’s Delaware Speedway put on a tribute to honour four of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees with direct ties to the track.
Long-time dominant Delaware and CASCAR racer / champion Steve Robblee, motorsports journalist Clare Dear who initiated the CASCAR Junior program, former CASCAR and track announcer Ron St. Clair, and former CASCAR competitor, NASCAR official and former Jukasa Speedway GM Alex Nagy were celebrated by Delaware.
I was pretty proud, as I had nominated both Clare Dear and Steve Robblee (as well as Al de la Plante). To complete the circle, Lane Zardo – grandson of inductee Bill Zardo – was running in the Super Stock class the same night.
The actual ceremony Saturday night had a really cool feature – if the inductees went over their assigned three minutes, for their acceptance speech, they got ‘black flagged’ and one even got the ‘move over’ flag.
Alex Nagy pointed right at me when he said he had ‘never been black flagged’!! Much laughter ensued.
Steve Robblee set a ‘new track record’ with the quickest time of the speakers (he said the least!!).
As I was Steve’s presenter, he offered me two of his three minutes!! Rally Champion Nathalie Richard had the best reaction to the black flag – “I ignored it as we don’t have black flags in rallying.”
Al de la Plante’s story about Gilles Villeneuve coming off the 401 onto the Don Valley at FULL song in a sh*tbox was one of the night’s best stories.
Glenn Styres’s story about his very first stock car race – he got to the track with no spare tires (he aired them up at home), no tools (he tightened everything up at home) and no fuel (he owned a gas station) drew a bunch of chuckles.
And the evening’s winner, in my opinion, with the best acceptance speech was Maritime drag racer Kandy Mitton whose unscripted, bubbly and very entertaining speech was the best of the best.
Thirty-one inductees plus several special awards in just over three hours. Kudos to the Hall for a job well done, especially considering they had to do two year’s worth of inductions in one show.
DELAWARE SPEEDWAY: I was VERY impressed with the track upgrades undertaken by the new Delaware ownership group, especially the repaving/repairing of parts of the track.
When was the last time you saw cars run side-by-side all the way around the track for several laps? If you answered ‘never,’ I would agree.
They had 22 Super Stocks with many looking like Late Models, and 24 Late Models. Great numbers for any racetrack. And Rogers was broadcasting the racing LIVE.
The future of this legendary track looks great. And it’s REALLY hard to believe that I won the very first race on the Jack Greedy created half-mile (up from a quarter-mile) 53 years ago, in a Hobby car I bought from Ron ‘Peaches’ Pearn!! Time flies when you’re having fun!!
NASCAR CUP SERIES: BREAKING NEWS – Kimi is Koming to Kup!! Former Formula One star and 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen will be driving the Trackhouse #91 Cup car on August 21 at Watkins Glen.
Kimi had a forgettable run 11 years ago at Charlotte, so this will not be his first time in a ‘taxi cab.’ The ‘Ice Man’ is sure to create a buzz with this news but fans should not expect more than about two words in any interview with him!
I notice that the guy who, apparently incorrectly, said ‘put it out’ at the All-Star Race, hasn’t been ‘put out’ himself!!
Charlotte was blessed with the same great weather experienced by the Indy 500 earlier in the day and VERY unlike the monsoon that hit Monaco.
Toyotas dominated qualifying with Denny Hamlin on the pole followed by Kurt Busch Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch.
Ryan Preese spun on Lap 18 taking Chris Buescher with him while Josh Bilicki spun on Lap 36 bringing out the caution for both incidents.
Kyle Busch spun on Lap 46 (and the crowd went wild!!) but did not hit the wall. Cory LaJoie spun on Lap 62 emulating what he did the day before in practice.
Chase Elliott picked up the win for Stage One.
Bubba Wallace spun coming out 4 on Lap 127, slid across the grass between the track and pit road and drove right to his pit!!
On Lap 148, Austin Cindric lost a tire, spun and had to be towed off the track. On Lap 165, Kyle Larson, who had been having a BAD day, spun on the bottom coming out of 4. He was able to continue.
Chase Elliott got up VERY close to the wall on Lap 186, spun but saved it. These new cars have got some very serious brakes on them unlike the drum brakes that were on Earl Ross’s car when he won Martinsville so many years ago!!
On Lap 194, the ‘Big One’ happened when Blaney got low and came back up the track taking out, in order of numbers, Harvick, Keselowski, Hamlin,, Gragson, Truex, Burton, Wallace, Byron, McDowell, Gilliland and Kurt Busch. Several other cars spun but kept going.
The announcers pointed out that 37 cars took the green but only 13 cars have not been involved in accidents. Go figure that out!! Daniel Suarez finished first in Stage 2
Wow, the halftime tribute to the Armed Forces on this Memorial Day weekend was very moving! Well done. As well it appears that somebody hacked into the radio frequency of Bubba Wallace both Saturday and Sunday commenting that, ‘white lives matter’!!
Noah Gragson bumped the wall coming out of 4 and spun to the infield on Lap 254. Ross Chastain picked up the win for Stage 3.
Tyler Reddick blew a tire at Lap 339 bringing out the caution for debris on the track. On Lap 346 Suarez slid up the track and touched Chase Briscoe. This sent Suarez into the spin cycle and in the ensuing chaos Chris Buescher got turned sideways and his right front tire dug into the grass and the car flipped ending up on its roof.
The process to flip the car back over was quite mesmerizing and Chris finally was able to climb out. With two laps to go, second-place runner Briscoe overcooked a passing attempt on leader Kyle Larson and spun himself out bringing out the yellow on what has turned into the ‘SIX HOURS OF CHARLOTTE’!!!
NASCAR is attempting to bring in new, younger fans but this race is a good example why they are not getting and keeping them. The younger generation has an attention span of about half a millisecond and their eyes glaze over quickly. 600 miles today is like the dinosaurs and should, without a doubt, go extinct!!
With two laps to go, Austin Dillon ran out of talent while attempting to get to the front and wrecked himself and several other cars. Yeah, he wanted to win but so did all the other cars up there that didn’t wreck themselves and others.
Larson, Chastain, Dillon, Logano, Truex, Custer and Stenhouse were collected. Denny Hamlin drove under the chaos and had the lead for, hopefully, the last restart. At the checker, it was Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. Sixteen cars finished on the lead lap.
Elliott continues to lead the points by 34 over Chastain and by 37 atop Kyle Busch. The championship race is very tight this year.
Their next race, Gateway, is Sunday, at 3.30 P.M. on TSN 5.
NASCAR Xfinity Series: Sam Mayer (Chev) grabbed the pole at Charlotte followed by Justin Allgaier (Chev) and Ryan Preese (Ford) third. The first yellow came out on Lap 16 when Brandon Jones spun. Not long after Timmy Hill spun on Lap 21.
Brandon Brown looped it on lap 33 followed by a three car incident ten laps involving Kyle Weatherman, Jeffrey Earnhart and Myatt Snyder. There were some more single car incidents until Lap 111 when five cars got together.
Josh Berry (Chev) won Stage 1 and the race while Justin Allgaier won Stage 2. Ty Gibbs finished second with pole sitter Mayer third. Apparently Canadian Alex Labbe could not get sponsorship for this race but will be back next week at Portland. Any Canadian sponsors out there that want to spend some money wisely?
Only six cars finished on the lead lap. AJ Allmendinger leads Noah Gragson by 33 and Ty Gibbs by 40 in the points standings. Their next race, Portland, is Saturday, at 4.30 P.M. on TSN 2.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: Ty Majeski (Toyota) grabbed the pole for the Truck Race at Charlotte followed by Zane Smith (Ford) and Kyle Busch (Toyota).
Tate Fogelman spun on lap bringing out the caution while Matt Mills and Jack Wood got together on Lap 59. Jesse Little got into it with Tyler Ankrum on Lap 132.
Carson Hocevar and Ryan Preece brought out what turned out to be the last yellow on Lap 137. Smith won Stage 1 while Ben Rhodes grabbed Stage 2.
‘Watermelon Man’ Ross Chastain picked up the win over Grant Enfinger and John Hunter Nemechek after the first two trucks, Hocevar and Preece, took themselves out in the above mentioned caution.
Canadian Stewart Friesen started 13th and finished 9th. Nemechek leads the point by 7 on Ben Rhodes and 25 over Smith. Their next race, Gateway, is Saturday, 1.30 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
FORMULA ONE: Apparently former F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone was caught with a gun in his luggage while boarding a private jet in Brazil heading for Switzerland. But Bernie being Bernie he paid a fine and continued on his way!!
F1 must think they are NASCAR as they red-flagged the Q1 session with 2.25 minutes left after Yuki Tsunoda in his Alpha Tauri scrubbed the wall, flattening a tire but kept going.
The red was put out, apparently incorrectly, by a local corner worker so, as per the rules, a full course red had to be thrown. And it seems F1 red flags mean something different from other series as nobody stopped!
Q3 ended in dramatic fashion with Sergio Perez spinning his Red Bull going into the tunnel turn and Carlos Sainz, continuing his run of bad luck, sliding into him with his Ferrari. And once again Charles Leclerc grabbed the pole. Sainz was second with Perez third. Canadians Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi qualified 18th and 19th.
After two ‘formation laps’ where it appeared that the world famous ‘swimming pool’ had emptied out onto the entire circuit during a heavy deluge the red flag came out.
After about a one hour delay the cars went back on track with the drivers sporting replacement dry suits. Two more laps, these counting, were run behind the pace car before the green came out on Lap 3 for a flying start.
Some cars elected to change tires and Latifi and Stroll almost collided on pit lane. Trips entering, going through and exiting the DRY tunnel were rather pucker inducing as they came off the wet and onto the dry and vice versa. I’m sure the drivers, collectively, wanted to be anywhere on the planet rather than on the narrow, wet and slippery track.
Several ‘interesting’ passing attempts were made back in the pack with most unsuccessful. Pierre Gasly in an Alpha Tauri finally got around Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren on Lap 14.
Ricciardo is under huge pressure these days to improve his game. That pass did not help his cause. Due to some miscommunication Leclerc lost the lead on lap 21 after he pitted twice for tires even though he had been told to stay out.
On Lap 26 Mick Schumacher in his Haas had one of the most violent accidents seen in a long time. He lost it and bounced off both walls resulting in the back half of the car being torn away from the front. Mick was, thankfully, okay. Thus, both Haas cars were out of the race after Magnusson dropped out earlier.
It did make for a very interesting recovery effort picking up both halves!! The red flag came out on Lap 30 to repair the damaged retaining wall.
With all the time taken up by the rain delay and the wall repair the race switched from 71 laps to a timed event.
Perez picked up the win over Sainz and Verstappen. Stroll was 14th and Latifi 15th. Post race Ferrari protested both Red Bulls complaining they had crossed the pit out lines. Their protests were rejected. The winner’s trophy at Monaco is pretty cool – a brass statue of the actual track layout.
Verstappen leads Leclerc by 9 and Perez by 15 in the points. Red Bull is 36 points ahead of Ferrari and 101 atop Mercedes in the Manufacturers Championship.
Their next race is Azerbaijan, Sunday, June 12 at 8.55 A.M. on TSN 4.
NHRA: Their next race is Epping, New Hampshire, this weekend.
INDYCAR: Unlike the abysmal weather that plagued the Monaco F1 race, the Indy 500 was put on under absolutely gorgeous ‘Chamber of Commerce’ weather.
Scott Dixon started from the pole with Alex Palou and Rinus Veekay beside him. Canadians Devlin DeFrancesco and Dalton Kellett started 24th and 29th. It was awesome to see full grandstands everywhere with, reportedly, well over 300,000 spectators. Great for the sport.
Once again, IndyCar drivers can’t seem to perform a proper start as they were at least four-wide BEFORE the starting line.
‘Seven Time’ Jimmie Johnson had a slight ‘moment’ on the first lap and dropped back to 15th from his 12th starting spot. On Lap 39 third place starter Rinus Veekay had a tank slapper at the bottom of the Turn 2 exit and got into the wall hard. ‘And he walked away’!!
The announce team included Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Danica Patrick. One of those should NOT have been there? And Rutledge Wood was floating around in a ‘duck’ paddle boat on the infield pond between the front and back straightaways!! Go figure!
On Lap 69 rookie Callum Ilott experienced a similar accident as Veekay and hit the wall coming our of Corner 2. Former Formula One star Romain Grosjean, who started ninth, also got bitten by Corner 2 ending up against the inside wall on Lap 106. He was okay.
After the restart, the traditional ‘conga line’ racing resumed with the cars moving high and low on the straights. Scott McLaughlin hammered the Turn 3 wall just past the three-quarter mark spoiling his good run.
With six laps to go, Johnson hit the wall after getting bitten by the bottom of Turn 2 like the others before him. I’m sure the IMS staff, under direction from the Captain, will be taking a hard look at the bottom of Corner 2 in coming days trying to figure out ‘what was THAT all about’!!
His crash brought out a red flag for clean-up. Pato O’Ward tried a Hail Mary pass on the last lap but Marcus Ericsson prevailed and picked up the checker ahead of O’Ward and Tony Kanaan.
Chip Ganassi picks up the win in Roger Penske’s house!! DeFrancesco finished 20th while Kellett ended up 27th. In all there were six cautions, all of them for single car incidents amounting to 31 of the 200 laps. In the points Ericsson leads O’Ward by 13 and Palou by 14.
Their next race is Detroit, Sunday, at 3 P.M. on SN360.
IMSA: Their next race is at Detroit, Saturday, June 4.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: I dropped into the new Wight Motorsports facility in St. Thomas last week, new because they had outgrown their old location as they now field five, count ‘em, five teams for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
Those teams, all Camaros, are for veteran Mark Dilley, Andrew Ranger, TJ Rinomato, Brandon Watson and rookie as well as Oshweken track owner Glenn Styres.
They have also built cars for Gary Klutt and Dave Jacombs, who was there finishing up one of his Mustangs. Also spotted were a couple of cars for Jake Sheridan who just happened to win the Late Model feature Friday night at Delaware.
There was even a ‘36 Dodge coupe street car with a new style 16 plug hemi under construction in the fab shop.
Hard at work was former NASCAR Tech Director Jeff Wilcox, a former employee of mine at Motion as well as ‘super shoe’ Cayden Lapcevich, now the crew chief for Ranger. Cayden was ‘slumming it,’ living in his dad’s big diesel pusher motorhome out back of the shop!
I am taking my 15 year old neighbour over to Dave’s shop after school Monday as he is a race fan who can actually weld and do lots of mechanical work. He wants to volunteer with the team. Start ‘em young!!
It bodes well for the future of both the Pinty’s Series and the APC Series to see another chassis builder to compliment long term supplier McColl Racing.
Their next race is Saturday, June 11 at Autodrome Chaudière.
APC SERIES: Their next race is Saturday at Flamboro Speedway, the London Recreational 100.
ONTARIO SPORTSMAN SERIES: Their next race is at Sunset Speedway this Saturday night.
Until next week!!
– Dave Mathers