Dave Mathers’ Motion Motorsport Report: It was an awesome weekend for race fans! NASCAR Thursday night trucks, Friday night Xfinity and Saturday night Cup all at Martinsville. IMSA Saturday at Long Beach, Formula One late Saturday night in Australia, Dragstrip Memories at the Hamilton Airport Sunday morning and IndyCar at Long Beach Sunday afternoon!!
The Dragstrip Memories show was so busy they were parking cars out on the runways. Everybody was clearly happy about the end of the restrictions.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: After the rather chaotic Truck and Xfinity races, the Cup race was rather anti-climactic.
First, the RFK penalties were, shockingly, upheld including the $100,000 fine. It seems they had made some non-approved ‘adjustments’ to their rear body work.
The concerns that shifting gears would cause some breakage in the transaxles proved to be a non-starter. A.J. Allmendinger started from the rear as the car had failed tech three times.
The race was an hour late getting started due to, wait for it, SNOW in April and in Virginia!! Tell me again about this ‘Global Warming’?
Chase Elliott started from the pole and actually won Stage One and Stage Two. Unfortunately, he slipped back and finished tenth.
The ‘lack of excitement’ ended with a bang with six laps to go. As Clint Bowyer stated so succinctly, “shots fired.” This brought out the fourth yellow of the race and set up a green/white checker.
Joey Logano (Ford) tried every trick he knew to push the ultimate winner, William Byron (Chev), celebrating his second win of the weekend, up the track but, as he said later, “these new cars are too tough and I couldn’t move him!!”
Austin Dillon (Chev) finished a strong third after starting 23rd.
Chase Elliott continues to lead the points by 3 over Ryan Blaney (Ford) and by 12 atop Byron.
Their next race, Bristol on the DIRT, is Sunday night at 7 P.M. on TSN 5.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: What a race!! Rookie Ty Gibbs (Toyota) started from the pole ahead of Justin Allgaier (Chev) and Noah Gragson (Chev). On Lap 1 Brennan Poole had an ‘oil pan failure’ wherein it failed to contain the broken parts!! Another great line.
Allgaier had problems twice but it turns out the composite bodies are really tough. And, as they were running three wide on the famed ‘paper clip,’ that little tidbit of information is important!!
Business REALLY picked up with eight laps to go when ‘Dinger’ moved Sam Mayer and Armageddon well and truly arrived with 15 cars involved on this 16th and final caution.
BUT the fun was NOT finished!! On the ensuing green / white / checker, Brandon Jones (Toyota) started inside with Gibbs outside. But Gibbs got a little push up the track by Mayer and finished eighth.
On the cool down lap, Gibbs bumped Mayer several times and then on pit road a bit of a fight broke out!! Apparently it was okay for Gibbs to move Nemechek last week… but it’s not okay when he gets moved?
I wonder what the One he references on a regular basis thinks about his actions? Hmmm. And, more importantly, I wonder what Grampa thinks? Should make for an interesting meeting!!
Jones won the race over Landon Cassill (Chev) and Allmendinger. Dinger leads the points by 20 over Gibbs and 42 ahead of Gragson.
Their next race, Talladega, is Saturday, April 23 at 4 P.M. on TSN 3.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: Zane Smith (Ford) started on the pole ahead of Kyle Busch (Toyota) and Ben Rhodes (Toyota). On lap 8 Kris Wright and Jack Wood got together bringing out the yellow.
They would get together later as well. Smith won Stage 1 with Stewart Freiessen second. Ben Rhodes won Stage 2 over Christian Eckes. Eckes then got up into Ben Rhodes who then took out Friesen on lap 132.
In a strange one, on lap 159, Austin Wayne Self had a brake fire while on pit road. Haven’t seen one of those for quite a while.
William Byron (Chev) took the win over Johnny Sauter (Toyota) and Busch. Ben Rhodes leads Chandler Smith by 4 and Zane Smith by 21 in the points.
Their next race, Bristol on the DIRT, is Saturday night at 7 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
FORMULA ONE: The revised Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Australia combined with the new car made for a very interesting race.
Originally plans were for there to be four DRS sections but one was dropped because of the drivers’ concerns of excess speed.
Sebastian Vettel had a problem with his car in practice and borrowed a scooter to head back to the pits. BUT he drove it on the track so he got a personal invitation to drop in to see the stewards!! LOL
In qualifying the two Canadian drivers, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi got together and wrecked both cars. The stewards pegged Stroll as the guilty party and gave him a three spot penalty.
Alexander Albon also got penalized three spots as they could not get the required one litre of fuel out for post qualifying certification.
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) started from the pole ahead of Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull). Lewis Hamilton jumped from fifth to third on the first corner but finished fourth.
Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari spun into the gravel on the second lap and was out. Vettel had more problems dropping out on lap 23. (Reports have not been confirmed whether he got on the scooter again!!).
Mad Max, for the second time this year, had problems and it appeared that he had a hydraulic fire dropping out on lap 39. Stroll was given a five second penalty for ‘impeding’ Valterri Bottas.
Leclerc won from the pole over Perez and new Mercedes driver George Russell. Leclerc continues to lead the points by 34 over a surprising Russell and by 38 ahead of Sainz.
Their next race is Italy, April 24 at Monza.
INDYCAR: Things got busy Friday when Jimmie Johnson broke his hand in practice. And of course he showed up with a carbon fiber splint!! LOL And he was cleared to race.
Colton Herta started on the pole followed by Josef Newgarden and Alex Palou. On lap 5 Dalton Kellett hit the wall taking him out of the race. On lap 21 Alexander Rossi dove under and into Felix Rosenqvist.
They were both able to continue with Rossi finishing 8th and Felix 11th. Herta hit the wall will leading on lap 55 and had to drop out. And, to add insult to injury, he had a microphone shoved into his face asking what his thoughts were! Huh?
On lap 60 Simon Pagenaud looped it going around the fountain and spun up and into the flower bed!! Let the jokes begin!! With 19 to go Marcus Ericsson hit the wall. With ten to go Johnson and David Malukas tangled taking them both out.
Newgarden picked up the checker followed by Romain Grosjean and Palou. Newgarden with two wins this year leads the points by 5 over Scott McLaughlin and by 15 atop Palou.
Their next race is at Barber Motorsports Park on May 1.
IMSA: They were in Long Beach for a double header with IndyCar. They had 6 Dpi Prototypes 6 Pro and 14 GTDs. The circuit is very picturesque running right along the ocean.
Sebastian Bourdais started from the pole in a Chip Ganassi Cadillac and then tagged the wall while leading. He fell to the back of the class but they got back into the lead in about 25 laps and ended up winning ahead of Bamber/Lynn in another Caddy and Vautier/Westbrook in a third Caddy.
Gunn/Riberas in an Aston Martin won the Pro class while Sellers/Snow won GTD in a BMW. The Pfaff Porsche ran a very strong second in Pro until experiencing problems.
Their next race is at Laguna Seca on May 1.
NHRA: Their next race is at Houston, April 24.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: They will open the season at Sunset Speedway on May 14. It was also just announced that Canada’s national stock car championship will make its first ever trip to Newfoundland, in June.
The fourth race of the NPS season will take place at Eastbound International Speedway and Concert Park in Avondale, Newfoundland. The Proline 225 will be run Saturday, June 25 during the province’s Come Home 2022 celebration and marks the first race for the Pinty’s Series in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The event is part of a three-year partnership between NASCAR, Eastbound International Speedway and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation.
APC Series: The elite Ontario short track series opens May 21 at Sunset Speedway.
Until next week!!
– Dave Mathers