In this week’s edition of Dave Mathers’ Monday Motormouth Blog for InsideTrackNews.com, Dave offers his take on the controversial F1 finale in Abu Dhabi and some other happenings in the world of motorsports.
Make sure to check out next week’s edition when I ask for ‘Christmas gifts’ from the various sanctioning bodies. It will be interesting!!
FORMULA ONE: Where to start about the race at Abu Dhabi? As I’ve said before, Formula One couldn’t organize a drinking party at the legion on a Saturday night. Never before have so many questionable officiating decisions been delivered, than happened this year.
Having said that, congratulations to Max Verstappen for winning the race and thus becoming the 2021 Formula One World Champion. It was not his fault that those questionable calls were made in this race, but he was the beneficiary, nevertheless.
Second place starter Lewis Hamilton grabbed the lead at the green and beat polesitter Max into Corner 1. He was on the medium tires while Max started on the soft tires after his mistake in qualifying when he went an extra lap (that wasn’t needed) and thus had to start on those tires.
The race progressed with Lewis and Max running ‘one, two.’ Lewis built up a bit of a lead and it appeared he would cakewalk into the win and the championship.
However, with less than ten laps to go, Canadian Nicholas Latifi hit the wall in his Williams, bringing out a full course caution. The safety crew did a very slow job of removing the damaged car, much to the consternation of the broadcast crew and the viewing audience.
Guessing the race would go ‘green’ again, Max pitted for fresh tires while Lewis stayed out to retain track position while hoping his tires could last at least one more lap, if needed.
Then the ‘head scratching’ began as the lapped cars between Lewis and Max seemed to disappear from the equation for the restart. Race Director Michael Masi basically summed up the whole year when he answered Toto Wolff’s ‘concerns’ saying, ‘it’s called a motor race’!!
Max passed Lewis and his old tires, on the restart, and headed for the checkered flag.
If nothing else, F1 has created ‘discussion topics’ amongst the teams and fans that should last all winter!!
Carlos Sainz finished third in his Ferrari. Lance Stroll ended up 13th in his Aston Martin. The final points showed Max eight points ahead of Lewis, with Bottas a very distant third. Mercedes won the Constructor’s Championship by 28 over Red Bull.
They start their 2022 season on March 20 at Bahrain. Should be interesting!
NASCAR CUP SERIES: The next race for the Cup series is at, wait for it, the Los Angeles Coliseum. It will be the ‘Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum’, a non-points race on the tight little one-quarter-mile track. The track could fit into the grassy area between the track and pit road at Daytona International Speedway!! The points racing will begin in earnest at Daytona on Sunday, February 20 at 2.30 P.M. I can hardly wait!!
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Their next race, the first for the 2022 season, will be at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 5 P.M.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: The next race for the series is at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 18, 2022 at 7.30 P.M., the first race on next year’s schedule.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Canada’s NASCAR Series announced its 2021 racing schedule last week. They’ll open their season at Sunset Speedway on May 14, 2022. The series is returning to the Honda Indy for a one-day (Friday) appearance. And there’s still a TBD open date on the calendar, in late June. Many have hinted at a race in Atlantic Canada for that one.
NHRA: They return to action on the weekend of February 20 for the Winternationals at Pomona. Current and two-time Funny Car champ Ron Capps was at PRI last Friday and let the world know that he’s starting his own team (Ron Capps Motorsports), with continued backing from NAPA, but will still be operating out of DSR for now.
IMSA: They returns with the ‘Roar Before the Rolex 24′ the weekend of January 21 – 23. The Rolex 24 Hour follows the next weekend January 27 – 30.
Indycar: Will return with the ‘Streets of St. Petersburg’ on February 27 in Florida.
DID YOU KNOW: Apparently there is more news about Richard Petty selling a majority share of his team. Richard is not retiring but will be chairman of the Petty GMS Motorsports organization. Good to know that his awesome smile will still be seen at racetracks!!
– It seems the Next Gen Cup car is having ‘teething problems,’ which is normal for a new baby. Heat in the cockpit, steering vibrations and the big one – according to the drivers who have tested the car – a lack of power. Who would have thought that drivers would want more power? Hmm.
– Sounds like Paul Tracy and NBC could not agree on a contract for 2022 that would let him to run in Tony Stewart and Ray Everingham’s SRX series and a possible LMP3 IMSA ride. Does this open the door for Hinch?
– Sadly, we lost Al Unser, Sr. this week after a 17-year battle with cancer. His record of four Indy 500 wins will be very difficult to match going forward. He comes from a true racing family with both his brother and his son having been IndyCar winners. A great racer gone way too soon.
– A few Canadians were in the news at the PRI show, in Indy, last week. Brian Graham, who will go into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in February, hosted a press conference announcing the resumption of the Team Canada Scholarship program.
He was joined by Canadian racing stars James Hinchcliffe and Parker Thompson. Robert Wickens will also be involved in the program. The competition will take place next summer and will evaluate six young Canadian racers, two of which will represent Canada, in England, at the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy Races.
Also at PRI, Canadian Pro Mod drag racer Spencer Hyde was Canada’s lone entry on Drag Illustrated’s “30 Under 30” list of up-and-coming drag racing racers and industry members to watch.
The press conference honouring the 30 – who were chosen from a list of over 7,000 submitted nominations – was packed. Congrats to Spencer Hyde on making that prestigious list!
Until next week!!