In this edition of the Motion Motorsport Report, Dave Mathers talks about NASCAR Phoenix, the Daytona 200, NHRA Gainesville, and more.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: NASCAR is considering an exhibition street race in downtown Chicago with, wait for it, ELECTRIC vehicles. The future is here?
Having said that, I’m sure that the ‘door cars’ will be MUCH more interesting to look at than the current Formula E open wheel racers. My opinion only.
As for the Cup, cars I have mixed emotions about the qualifying format being used this year. Two groups go out one at a time with the five quickest in each group going to the Final Round.
I realize it is an attempt to add some excitement to the usually boring qualifying. But still!!
Nevertheless the ‘ghost car’ that they use to show how the current car is doing against another car (the bump car or the current fastest car) is awesome tech and I really love it.
It shows where some drivers pick up time and also where they lose time. Good stuff.
Well, the spectators at the track (and on TV) definitely got their money’s worth with this race (Phoenix). Right off the green flag, Kyle Busch went waaaay down onto the apron and made up about six spots in the first ten laps.
And that type of action went on all race long. Ryan Blaney started from the pole and at the ‘competition caution’ he entered pit road with second place Denny Hamlin right on his bumper.
Unfortunately, Blaney was speeding so both he and Hamlin got sent to the back for the restart.
More wheel problems as Corey LaJoie hit the wall, losing a wheel and locking nut. The several restarts looked like feeding time at the zoo as they went as many as seven-wide diving down onto the apron.
Kyle Larson dropped out because of engine problems with 70 laps to go creating big worries for the rest of the Hendrick powered cars but, luckily, none appeared to have any further issues.
Kevin Harvick finished in the top ten at Phoenix for the 18th consecutive time to tie both Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr., a very notable achievement.
On the final restart – with four to go – everybody went low hoping to gain an edge. Chase Briscoe, in a Ford, crossed the line first in a car owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas.
Tony’s Funny Car driven by Matt Hagan won at the Gatornationals in Gainsville making for a great day for Tony. Ross Chastain was second with Tyler Reddick, third both in Chevs.
Joey Logano leads the points by four over Kyle Busch and by five over Chase Elliott. Ford, Toyota, Chev. Parity?
Their next race, Atlanta, is this Sunday at 3 P.M. on both TSN and Fox. AND, NASCAR is going to enforce the double yellow lines at the bottom of the track similar to both Daytona and ‘Dega.
We know how well ‘track limits’ have worked out for Formula One!! ‘If it’s paved, let ‘em race’ is what I suggest!!!! After all, aren’t these the ‘best drivers in the world’? They are, after all, selling entertainment, not racing! Just ask them.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: The race at Phoenix had drama even before the green flag dropped. Pole sitter Trevor Bayne couldn’t get his car to start on pit road and it looked like he would have to drop to the back of the pack.
But with just over two parade laps to go before the start, he fired it up and got his spot up front. He won the first stage but finished fourth at the end.
Impressive rookie Ty Gibbs got a little help and spun out in the middle of the pack. And nobody hit him!! Amazing luck. Or ‘divine intervention’? Hmmm.
I’m curious as to when NASCAR changed the rules about crews touching the winning car before getting it into the Winner’s Circle. Noah Gragson’s crew was all over it out on the track.
I remember DW’s crew swapping the stock radio for a 70-pound lead one at the All-American 400 in about 1989 or so. ACT Tech Director Stan Meserve had that ‘radio’ on his desk for years!!
I LOVED seeing Gragson and his crew climb the fence. And most of them without gloves!!
Gragson (Chev) grabbed the checker ahead of Brandon Jones (Toyota) and Josh Berry (Chev). Canadian Alex Labbé ended up 19th. Gragson extended his points lead to 39 over Gibbs and by 42 over Justin Algaier.
Their next race, Atlanta, is this Saturday at 5 P.M. on TSN.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: Their next race, Atlanta, is Saturday at 2.30 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
DAYTONA 200: This bike race took place yesterday at Daytona International Speedway. And like another Florida event, it had experienced rain delays.
I’m not sure who sanctioned the race as it used to be the AMA but now it appears to be either MotoAmerica or ASRA. Or maybe all three? Brandon Paasch took the checker milliseconds ahead of both second place Cameron Peterson and third place Sheridan Morais.
A single blanket would have covered all three at the flag. One scary incident occurred when a rider lost it in the bus stop and his bike hit the outside wall spreading debris across the track. Fortunately, the rider was fine as it happened at a slow part of the track.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: They will open the season at Sunset Speedway on May 14.
APC SERIES: This Ontario-based asphalt oval series opens May 21 at Sunset Speedway.
NHRA: Sadly, Gainesville Raceway was more suited for boat races than drag racers all day Friday plus Saturday morning.
Unfortunately, the highly touted Pep Boys high dollar ($130,000) All Star Callout got to run only one round with Steve Torrence, the number one seed, taking out in smoke Leah Pruett.
Brittany Force, the number two seed, beat a tire spinning Antron Brown. Number three Mike Salinas won easily when Shawn Langdon experienced some sort of drive line issue and barely left the line.
Justin Ashley, the number four seed, won when Doug Kalitta lit the red light!! The decision was made to run the semis and the final at a ‘date to be named later’!!
I didn’t understand what the ‘Callout’ name meant when I first heard about it. But the way it worked, the number one seeded driver got to call out one of the other seven who were behind the curtain.
That continued with the second-place driver calling out one of the remaining five, the third seed getting to pick from the three still back there and thus the final pair featured the two left. Interesting!!
Due to all the rain, the classes only got one qualifier and as the Callout runs were also qualifiers it meant that Pruett, Brown and Ashley failed to qualify for the Sunday show.
Sunday dawned bright after two days of ‘less than bright’!! The first round of Top Fuel was NOT pretty as the track had suffered through lots and lots of rain. The track got better in the second round as lots of rubber got laid down. Trip Tatum qualified number one, took out Billy Torrence in Round Two, Mike Salinas in the semis and Doug Foley in the final.
In Funny Car, Robert Hight qualified number one but went out in the second round when he overpowered the track. Matt Hagan, driving this year for Tony Stewart, started from the number 4 spot and marched through the field taking out Blake Alexander in the final.
Pro Mod had the biggest number of upsets (lower qualified car wins) yet the fewest ‘traction problems’ (3). As they did not get a qualifying session they ran based on prior points.
Kris Thorne in a 2021 Camaro topped Sidnei Frigo’s 1969 Chevelle in the final. How’s THAT for diversity of rides!!
Dallas Glenn picked up the win in Pro Stock over Kyle Koretsky while Pro Stock Motorcycle was an all female final. Karen Stoffer beat Angie Smith. Leonard Lottig in a Camaro nosed out Anthony Troyer, also in a Camaro, in the Factory Stock final.
Mike Salinas leads the Top Fuel points by 23 over Justin Ashley and by 47 ahead of Steve Torrence.
Robert Hight leads Funny Car by 11 ahead of Matt Hagan and by 77 over Ron Capps.
Kris Thorne leads Sidnei Frigo by 20 and Jose Gonzalez/Mike Thielen by 40 in Pro Mod.
Aaron Stanfield has a 60 point cushion on Erica Enders and 67 on Kyle Korestsky in Pro Stock.
Karen Stoffer leads Angie Smith by 20 and Joey Gladstone/Jerry Savoie by 40 in Pro Stock Bike.
Their next race is at Las Vegas, April 3.
IMSA: Good news!! It appears that Sebring will have one of the biggest fields in quite a while. That race, The Twelve Hours of Sebring, runs this weekend.
FORMULA ONE: They start their season this Sunday at Bahrain.
INDYCAR – Their next race is at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday.
SRX SERIES: Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham’s uber-successful six race Saturday night series returns again this year featuring racing on six straight weekends.
Action begins on the ½ mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida (or, as Junior Hanley always calls it, Pepsi-Cola!!) on June 18, the home of the popular long running Snowball Derby. It is followed by action on the legendary 4/10 mile South Boston Speedway in Virginia, the birthplace for many, many NASCAR drivers. Race three is at another legend, the ½ mile Stafford Motor Speedway, Connecticut owned by the Arute family. Number four is on the bad fast paved high-banked ½ mile at the Nashville Fairgrounds, Tennessee, the long time home of the All American 400. Race five hits the dirt on the 1/3 mile I-55 Speedway in Pevely, Missouri. That is the track owned by Ken Schrader so I fully expect to see him in the race. The final race lands on the dirt at the 3/8 mile Sharon Speedway in Ohio. CBS will cover all the races live and it will, once again, be a two hour show with heats and a feature.
Until next week!!
– Dave Mathers