In this week’s Motion Motorsport Report, Dave Mathers updates us on the weekend of racing just completed. He also has an issue with one sanctioning body’s announcers.
IMSA has a problem, a BIG problem, in my eyes. One of the things I learned in the business world is to make sure your ‘front man’ or company spokesperson represents your brand well.
The main announcer on the IMSA broadcasts, clearly a graduate of the ‘Murray Walker School of Broadcasting,’ is NOT representing IMSA well. I challenge the brass at IMSA to watch and LISTEN to any NASCAR race (pick any of the three divisions), any IndyCar race, any NHRA race and you will very, very quickly hear a BIG difference.
Those referenced race broadcasts are very professional and informative and they are not constantly calling out to ‘Jeremy, Jeremy’ and apologizing for yet another incorrect call. PLEASE make it stop. The series is great and requires a great announce team to keep it great.
Linda and I attended the 1989 Long Beach Grand Prix back in the Chris Pook era and we thoroughly enjoyed the race and the surrounding area. Sort of like an American Monte Carlo.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: Ryan Preece (Ford) started from the pole for the Cup race at Martinsville Sunday followed by Daniel Suarez (Chev) and Aric Almirola (Ford).
Surprise, surprise, the first stage ran caution free with polesitter Preece leading all the laps. Things returned to ‘normal’ on lap 133 when Erik Jones put the bumper to Harrison Burton brining out the first race yellow.
On the subsequent pit stops leader Preece accelerated too fast out of his number 2 pit stall and got a speeding ticket relegating him to the rear on the restart. Kevin Harvick picked up the win in Stage 2.
On lap 302 Anthony Alfredo lost a right rear wheel and it rolled up and stopped against the outside wall exiting corner 4 requiring a caution. I see some crew suspensions in that team’s future! Lap 344 had J.J. Yeley lock up the brakes and hit the wall entering corner 3 for another flag.
At the flag it was Kyle Larson for the win over Joey Logano who came to the front in the last 50 laps after languishing mid pack and Martin Truex elbowing his way to 3rd.
In the points Christopher Bell leads Ross Chastain by 5 and Kevin Harvick by 15.
Their next race is Talladega, Sunday at 3 on TSN 5 & Fox.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Cole Custer (Ford) picked up the pole for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Martinsville. John Hunter Nemechek (Toyota) nabbed 2nd with Sheldon Creed (Chev) 3rd. More parity!! Canadian Alex Labbe qualified 24th (out of 38 entries).
Things went smoothly until lap 37 when Brett Moffitt experienced brake chatter on corner entry and spun bringing out the yellow. John Hunter Nemechek won Stage 1.
On lap 86 Kayden Honeycutt had an engine failure producing lots of smoke and bringing out the 2nd caution. Nemechek also won Stage 2.
Ryan Ellis got into the back of Joe Graf, Jr. on lap 136 for the third yellow. On lap 144 for some reason Dawson Cram slowed going into the corner and caused a chain reaction involving Alex Labbe, Leland Honeyman and Kyle Sieg bringing out the fourth caution.
On lap 163 Josh Williams appeared to have a flat left rear and he spun bringing out race caution 5. Caution 6 came out on lap 208 when Jeremy Clements appeared to have brake issues and spanked the wall.
For the first time that I can remember they were running three-wide in the corners. What could go wrong?! Well, on lap 219 Ryan Truex tried to dive three-wide under Sam Mayer who then got up into Riley Herbst taking both out. One of the drivers was NOT impressed!!
At the checker, it was Nemechek followed by Sammy Smith and Custer. Nemechek took the expression ‘burn out’ to an all-new level when he literally set both the track and his car on fire. I see an invitation to the NASCAR trailer in his near future!!
Nemechek now leads Austin Hill by 21 points and Chandler Smith by 34.
Their next race is Talladega, Saturday at 4 on TSN 5.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS: Zane Smith (Ford) grabbed the pole for the Truck race at Martinsville Friday night ahead of interloper (again) Kyle Busch (Chev) and Ben Rhodes (Ford).
Stewart Friesen (Toyota) started 13th. The start was delayed a little over two hours due to rain. Once things got going everything ran smoothly until the Competition Yellow on lap 27.
Corey Heim picked up the win in Stage 1 just as the rain returned. After almost half an hour racing resumed. On lap 86 Lawless Allen and Daniel Dye got together in 3 bringing out the first true caution.
On lap 97 Friesen spun in turn 3 for the second caution. Heim won Stage 2.
On lap 110 Dye spun in corner 4. On lap 117 Taylor Gray and Carson Hocevar tangled on the back stretch for what turned out to be the third and final yellow. It appeared that Hocevar had deliberately turned into Gray but instead of taking out Gray he spun himself.
Race Control was not impressed and held Hocevar for two laps on pit road. Hocevar also had a little ‘incident’ with 16-year-old William Sawalich coming down on the youngster who then had a magical save going into the corner as the car was almost completely sideways. A very clean race for the most part on a track that normally has a lot of carnage.
Due to the threatening weather the race was shortened from the original 200 laps. At the flag it was Heim ahead of Busch and Zane Smith. Heim dominated leading 82 of the 124 laps.
In the points Ty Majeski continues out front with a 26-point lead on Zane Smith and a 49 point cushion on Rhodes.
Their next race is Kansas, Saturday, May 6 on Fox Sports Racing at 8 P.M.
FORMULA ONE: Sunday was originally scheduled to be the Chinese Grand Prix but due to COVID concerns, the race was cancelled. This gave the teams a (well received) second three week break during the year.
Their next race is Azerbaijan, Sunday, April 30.
INDYCAR: Kyle Kirkwood won the pole for the Grand Prix of Long Beach followed by Marcus Ericsson and Romain Grosjean.
In a replay of Saturday’s IMSA race an accident happened on the very first lap. Helio Castroneves overcooked a corner with cold tires and hit the wall. He got restarted just in time and was able to get a new nose and stay just one lap down.
On lap 20 Scott Dixon got into the tire wall after getting a ‘side bump’ from Pato O’Ward. He was unable to continue. A bunch of close calls and some wall banging but the race went green right to the flag.
Kirkwood got the lead back at lap 56 of 85 and, in total, he led 53 laps for a dominating win. Grosjean finished second with Ericsson third. Ericsson has a 15-point lead over O’Ward and a 19-point cushion on Alex Palou.
Their next race is Barber Motorsports Park, Sunday, April 30.
IMSA: Two Acura P cars started up front at Long Beach, Albuquerque and Blomqvist with the Cadillac of Bourdais third.
A GTD car actually out-qualified all the GTDPRO cars. Sorenson got the number spot with his Aston Martin over Montecalvo in a Lexus and Snow in a BMW.
In the PRO side Hawksworth in a Lexus led Gunn in an Aston Martin and Pilet in the Pfaff Racing Porsche. I am SO happy that they didn’t have the LMP 2 & 3 classes as they don’t really have any identity and are just field fillers.
Wow, where did IMSA dig up THIS announce crew? Oh, wait, it’s the same bunch. BRUTAL at the start to say the least. Maybe it gets better? Uh, NO.
AND there was a crash right after the start. But NO mention by the announcers. The number 2 and 3 starters got taken out when #3 Bourdais appeared to lock up his brakes.
‘Hello, Jeremy, hello Jeremy’ (doing a ‘mike check’ AFTER the race has started – very professional!!). Unbelievable!! Radio silence.
I’m sorry, I can’t listen to this idiotic, mumbling, bumbling nonsense any longer. I will, however, list the results after the race. Back to the Blue Jays where they have PROFESSIONAL announcers.
Actually, I solved the problem!! I put some classical music on my Sonos, muted the TV, used the great IMSA Live Timing and watched the race without the uber-annoying announcers.
Business picked up on the last lap as Ricky Taylor took a run at the leader but stuffed his Caddy into the wall instead (ouch, that makes TWO Caddys into the wall in one race).
At the flag it was the Jaminet / Tandy Penske Porsche with the first win for this team followed by the de Fillippi / Yelloly BMW and the second Penske Porsche of Campbell / Nasr. I knew it wouldn’t take long for the Penske team to get their ‘stuff’ together!!
In GTDPRO it was the Hawksworth Barnicoat Lexus ahead of the Garcia / Jordan Taylor Corvette and the Pilet / Bachler Pfaff Porsche.
GTD had the Snow / Sellers BMW followed by the Sorensen / DeAngelis Aston Martin and the Telitz / Montecalvo Lexus.
A first-class race done on a first class race course but ruined by a last place announcing team. Sad.
Their next race is Laguna Seca, May 14.
24 HOURS OF LEMANS: Saturday, June 10 & Sunday, June 11.
NHRA: Brittany Force qualified number 1 in Top Fuel for the Four Wide Nationals at Las Vegas. Cruz Pedregon grabbed the number 1 spot in Funny Car for the second race in a row. Matt Hartford topped the list in Pro Stock.
Just to show how tough and tight NHRA racing is these days let’s have a look at these times from one of the Top Fuel foursomes (actually this group had only three as there were only 15 entries).
Brittany Force won with a 3.785 over Antron Brown’s 3.780 and Tony Schumacher’s 3.789. A difference of 9 thousandths of a second. Wow.
Antron Brown won the final over Steve Torrence, Force and Josh Hart. There were 5 ‘upsets’ (lower qualified car wins) and ONLY two ‘smokers’ (loss of traction, boiled the hides, spun, etc.). Well done in the heat.
Matt Hagan won Funny Car (giving team owner Tony Stewart TWO wins as Tony won Top Alcohol Dragster) besting Tim Wilkerson, John Force and Chad Green in the final foursome. There were 6 upsets and 8 smokers.
Dallas Glenn repeated his Pomona win topping the Pro Stock field by defeating Troy Coughlin, Jr., Christian Cuadra and Deric Kramer in the final. There were 6 upsets but no smokers.
In the Top Fuel points Steve Torrence has a 13-point lead on Justin Ashley and 36 points on Brittany Force.
Team Stewart driver Matt Hagan has a huge 105-point lead on Ron Capps in Funny Car and 116 on Alexis Dejoria.
Dallas Glenn leads Troy Coughlin, Jr. by 51 in Pro Stock and by 65 over Matt Hartford.
Their next race is Charlotte, Sunday, April 30.
24 HOURS OF LEMANS: Saturday, June 10 & Sunday, June 11.
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 event took place Sunday, April 16 at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum on the grounds of Hamilton’s airport and was once again a great success. Congrats to everyone involved!
CAN AM STOCK/SUPER STOCK SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, June 3, Grand Bend.
Until next week…
– Dave Mathers