In this week’s installment of Dave Mathers’ Motion Motorsport Report, the focus is on the season-starting Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, in Los Angeles. In a nutshell, Dave though it was a winner and he’s looking forward to the upcoming season!
NASCAR CUP SERIES: Ah, the ‘Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum’, a non-points race on the tight little purpose-built, quarter-mile track run yesterday.
Nobody knew what to expect for this event. However, any fears were quickly extinguished. Saturday featured practice for all 36 entries (all the ‘franchise’ cars – none of the ‘non- franchised’ cars elected to enter) followed by lots of action yesterday.
Four heat races were held with the top-four from each heading to the main. Two non-qualifier races sent three from each into the main. That added up to 22 cars, with the 23rd spot given to the top 2021 points finisher not already qualified. This ended up being Martin Truex, Jr.
His crew chief made the right choice to sit out the NQR… at least in my opinion! Heat races were won by Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick, Justin Haley and Joey Logano.
The first non-qualifier was won by Denny Hamlin while the second one, almost an Enduro, was won by Ty Dillon. The second one was VERY exciting, to say the least. Update – Ty Dillon was disqualified from the second race for jumping the last restart, by starting way before the marks on the outside wall. This gave the win to Ryan Preece.
Sunday’s 150-lap feature was won by Joey Logano who started fourth. Kyle Busch ended up second after starting on the pole. Austin Dillon came from tenth to finish third. Logano and Busch had to dodge some spun-out cars, right after getting the checker!! GREAT race! Cars were two, three and even four-wide at times. The ‘bump and run’ reigned supreme!!
I have a few personal observations on this race.
1. Ben Kennedy, great grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr. and the Senior V.P of Innovation and Strategy for the organization, came up with the idea for the race. This takes the ‘innovation’ part of his portfolio to an all-new level. The drivers and the fans loved it!!
2. Los Angeles gets to see TWO Bowls within one week… yesterday’s ‘Toilet Bowl’ (track action similar to water inside a flushing toilet!! LOL) and of course, this Sunday’s Super Bowl!
3. The series now goes from the shortest track (1/4 mile) to the second longest one (Daytona – 2.5 miles). And to put that difference in perspective, Kyle Busch was the quickest qualifier with a speed of 65.478 MPH. The pace car speed at Daytona is 70 MPH!
4. The cars actually drove on city streets to get between their ‘pit area’ and the track. And they entered the track via a tunnel. Very cool.
5. Due to size constraints, the starter was on the inside of the track on a portable lift whereas the starter’s stand at all NASCAR tracks is normally on the outside of the track.
6. The four heat races and the first non-qualifier were, for the most part, drama free whereas the second non-qualifier looked like a demolition derby with ‘rubbing is racing’ taken to all new levels!! And a good time was held by all!
7. No ‘short chutes’!! LOL The track was almost egg-shaped.
8. The new body styles along with the 2022 innovations (single lug nut, trans axle/IRS, bigger brakes along with 18″ wheels/tires) made for a very impressive debut for the Next Gen cars. Well done. I look forward to seeing them on the ‘big track’ at Daytona.
9. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Rogers for carrying Fox Sports Racing as that was the only way to watch practice and qualifying . Fox carried the main race. ‘Other’ cable providers don’t appear to offer FSR!!
10. EIGHT Grand Marshals? Really?
11. Apparently, one of the only drivers actually shifting gears ended up with broken drive line components during the main!! Gee, I wonder how that happened?
12. The capacity for the stadium is listed at 77,500 and it looked like the vast majority of the seats were filled.
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 will be at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 19 at 5 p.m.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: Their next race for the series is at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 18 at 7.30 p.m.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Canada’s NASCAR Series will kick off its season at Sunset Speedway on May 14.
APC SERIES: This fast-growing series opens May 21 at Sunset Speedway.
IMSA: Following the recent Rolex 24 at Daytona, their next race is The Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 19, also in Florida.
FORMULA ONE: They start their season on March 20 at Bahrain. It WILL be interesting. AND Lewis Hamilton will be there. Not sure about Masi, however. In the meantime, teams will be making news unveiling their new 2022 vehicles.
NHRA: They return to action on the weekend of February 20 for the Winternationals at Pomona.
INDYCAR: Their next race is on the ‘Streets of St. Petersburg’ on February 27 in Florida.
DID YOU KNOW…
If you don’t get it already, I suggest you sign up for the Saturday Toronto Star just to get Norris McDonald’s weekly column in the Wheels section. Norris, the former editor of the Wheels section (and a former Super Modified driver) covers all the important stuff in motorsports.
This week, he tells the background story on CBS and how it’s very first flag-to-flag coverage of the 1979 Daytona 500 came to be. We had parked our motorhome on the knoll (yeah, it WAS grassy!) in the infield between Turns 3 and 4. (BTW – they have since levelled those knolls).
With sons Paul and Rob and I (Linda and daughter Cathy were inside watching it on TV) standing on the roof watching the race – as well as listening to it on the radio – we were about two hundred feet from the fight between the Allison brothers and Cale Yarborough!! (BTW – not a fair fight, 2 on 1).
There was a blizzard the weekend of that race and ABC got lucky as almost everybody was ‘confined to barracks’ that weekend, and a record crowd watched the race. I personally feel that was when NASCAR overtook USAC Champ Car as America’s most popular racing series.
I, too, was upset that the Rolex 24 was not broadcast in full but I thoroughly enjoyed the commercial-free streaming on IMSA.com.
Many of you have seen some of the ads already for the upcoming Super Bowl. But have you seen the one about the dog who gets life-saving surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine?
The nearly six-million-dollar ad was placed by the dog’s owner to thank the school for saving his dog’s life and to solicit donations to the school. And that dog’s owner you ask? Why none other than David MacNeil, owner of WeatherTech, a HUGE supporter and sponsor in several forms of motorsports. VERY well done.
The link is here. This gives new meaning to the concept of Lucky Dog!!
Until next week!!
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