What would happen if NASCAR scheduled a meeting with team owners / representatives and NOBODY from the teams showed up? Apparently, the teams feel that the current ‘business model’ is not working and they need ‘more of the pie.’ Could this finally change that old NASCAR adage, ‘you need us more than we need you’? Hmm.
We have witnessed questionable (and inconsistent – Hendrick and Kaulig) decisions of late by race officials. This phenomenon is not limited to motorsports as we hear of bad calls in the NBA, the NHL, MLB and even in the LSU-Iowa Women’s Championship NCAA game.
I still recall very clearly the comment made over 65 years ago by Big Ben Murray, nicknamed Brutus, who officiated football and basketball games here in St. Thomas.
He stated that one should be allowed to attend a sporting event, any sporting event, and leave afterwards with no memory of any official. That meant that the officials were doing their jobs as they didn’t intrude upon the game.
Is it time for a few closed door meetings with the Three Stooges in F1, the various race directors and tech staff? After all it’s NOT about them, it’s about the race, the SHOW!
We’ve all heard that expression ‘let them play’ in, for example, the third period of a close hockey game. Canadian football, the CFL (pass, run, kick then run, pass, kick, repeat), is the absolute worst for calling chicken bleep penalties and their officials ruin many games. Is it time to grab our pitchforks and rise up? Another hmm!
Red Bull is being accused of ‘sandbagging’ and thus trying to avoid any ‘sanctions’ by the FIA. Sandbagging in motorsports? Unheard of!!
Max’s (but NOT Checo’s) ability to close FAST on other cars when needed bolsters those accusations. Michael Schumacher’s domination of the sport generated similar accusations both with Ferrari and Mercedes. I also recall some John Player Loti way back in the day being accused of the very same thing. History repeating itself?
NASCAR CUP SERIES: It’s Bristol Baby on DIRT!!! The track, once again, did an amazing job of converting the high-banked oval into a dirt track.
The Cup cars had 37 entries, and all got to run. Qualifying heats were won by Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney (who spotted for Logano in the Truck race), Kyle Larson (shocker!!) and Bubba Wallace.
The starting lineup had Larson on the pole followed by Dillon (both in Chevs) and JJ Yeley (Ford). Can’t figure this out – Yeley finished third in the Larson heat, Blaney started 9th with Wallace 11th? Huh, what’s up with that? (Nothing to see here – move along!!).
The first yellow flew 11 laps in when Bubba Wallace got sideways and Logano got knocked into him by William Byron. On lap 38, Matt Crafton spun in 4. Brad Keselowski spun alone on lap 58. On lap 75 Josh Berry got spun into Denny Hamlin.
Larson led every lap to win Stage 1. I guess I’ll have to try and find a NASCAR rulebook as in my over 60 years of motorsport experience I believed that a red flag meant STOP. Yet the cars came out of the pits for the Stage 2 restart and they ran laps with a red flag showing on the screen. And it didn’t go off until the lead cars were well into one on the restart. Strange.
On lap 81 Jonathon Davenport spun in 4 for a caution. Seven laps later Michael McDowell did a 360 and kept going BUT the yellow still came out. Yet on lap 96 Daniel Suarez looped it and kept going and there was no yellow. And then three laps later A.J. Allmendinger hit the outside wall hard and kept going. No yellow.
On lap 103 Ryan Preece looped it on the backstretch for a flag. Keselowski’s bad night continued as he spun on lap 126 for a caution.
Tyler Reddick picked up the win and the points for Stage 2. On lap 156 Larson spun down low for a flag.
On 169 Denny Hamlin, not wanting to be outdone, did a 360 and kept going. A yellow came out on lap 176 when Larson got together with Ryan Preece and hit the wall sending Larson to the house.
Larson figured the Preece hit was deliberate in an interview. I have to say I love the new ‘Choose Drone’ that hovers over the track on restarts marking the spot where the drivers have to choose inside or outside. How long before a sponsor shows up on the drone?
Noah Gragson suffered a broken toe link on lap 200 for yet another yellow. Possibly due to the fact that the track had been breaking up in the corners? Yeley spun on lap 224 but kept going, no flag. With 15 to go Kyle Busch spun coming off 4 and just drove down pit road bringing out another caution.
At the checker / caution it was Christopher Bell for the win over Reddick and Dillon. Ross Chastain had stopped high on the back stretch on the last lap necessitating the yellow and checker.
In the points it is Ross Chastain over Bell and Kevin Harvick.
Their next race is Martinsville, Sunday at 3 on TSN 3.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Their next race is Martinsville, Saturday at 7.30 on TSN 1.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS: Forty-one trucks showed up to attempt to run the 36 truck field on the Bristol DIRT Saturday night. Qualifying was done through 4 heat races – Saturday night short track style!!
Ben Rhodes (Ford) won the first heat. Canadian Stewart Friesen (Toyota) won, nay, dominated the second heat, but unfortunately his wife Jessica did not get in.
Joey Logano won heat three with Matt Crafton getting the win heat four, both in Fords.
Zane Smith started on the pole with Ty Majeski second and Kaden Honeycutt third all in Fords. Smith led from the pole but quickly got passed by Majeski.
Cup interloper Joey Logano came out of his fourth starting spot and took the lead on lap 2. On lap 9 the first of 9 cautions (stage ends don’t count) came out when Mason Massey spun collecting three other trucks.
On lap 27 Tyler Ankrum spun and collected another Tyler – Carpenter along with Kris Wright. Ankrum was done! Friesen was complaining to his crew that he had motor problems. Miraculously, those problems seemed to disappear and he went right back up through the pack.
Logano won Stage 1. Another yellow came out on lap 45 when Christian Eckes spun from a flat tire he picked up when he got together with Ben Rhodes. On lap 62 Carpenter spun for the third time.
Rajah Caruth appeared to have a fire on pit road behind his left front wheel but continued on. Ten laps later Wright spun down onto the inside wall on the back straight. Logano won Stage 2.
On lap 96 Zane Smith got into Chase Purdy collecting Eckes as well. Purdy spun on lap 109 with a flat tire. Carpenter spun again on lap 121. On lap 131 Rhodes overcooked the corner and came down on Friesen taking them both out of the top five. Friesen was not impressed!!
At the flag, it was Logano leading 138 of the 160 laps followed by teammate Majeski and another Cup interloper William Byron.
In the points Majeski leads Zane Smith by 34 and Rhodes by 47. Friesen sits 13th. Their next race is Kansas, Saturday, May 6 on Fox Sports Racing at 8 P.M.
FORMULA ONE: Their next race is Azerbaijan, Sunday, April 30.
INDYCAR: Their next race is Long Beach, Sunday at 3.30 on NBC.
IMSA: Their next race is Saturday at Long Beach.
24 HOURS OF LEMANS: Saturday, June 10 & Sunday, June 11.
NHRA: Their next race is Las Vegas, Sunday, tape delayed at 9.30 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, May 13 at Sunset Speedway.
APC LATE MODEL SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, May 20 at Sunset Speedway.
ONTARIO SPORTSMAN SERIES: Their season starts Friday, May 19 at Delaware.
SUPERSTAR RACING EXPERIENCE (SRX): Their season starts Thursday, July 13 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
DELAWARE SPEEDWAY: Their season starts Friday, May 12.
FLAMBORO SPEEDWAY: Their season starts Saturday, April 29.
OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY: Their season starts Friday, May 19.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO MOTOR SPEEDWAY (SOMS): Their season starts Saturday, May 6.
GRAND BEND SPEEDWAY: Their season starts Saturday, May 20.
GRAND BEND MOTORPLEX DRAGWAY: Their season starts Saturday, May 6.
ST. THOMAS DRAGWAY: Their season starts Saturday, May 6.
TORONTO MOTORSPORTS PARK: Their season starts April 22.
SHANNONVILLE DRAGS: Their first race is June 17 & 18, Nostalgia Weekend.
DRAGSTRIP MEMORIES: This great event happens Sunday, April 16 at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum on the grounds of Hamilton’s airport.
CAN AM STOCK/SUPER STOCK SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, June 3, Grand Bend.
Until next week…
– Dave Mathers
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