This week’s edition of Dave Mathers’ Motion Motorsport Report spotlights the NASCAR dirt action at Bristol Motor Speedway.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: The dust at Bristol Motor Speedway that was a concern during practice and qualifying Friday – but not during the Truck race Saturday night – reappeared for the Cup race Sunday night.
But it did not affect anything. Cole Custer (Ford) started from the pole after some convoluted qualifying using points from the heats?? Christopher Bell (Toyota) started outside pole with Tyler Reddick (Chev) third.
I had the radar set for Roanoke and it appeared that Bristol was going to get hit hard with a rainstorm. But it held off.
The laundry came out on Lap 15 as a result of some major dirt buildup on the grills of the cars. That was caused by the watering done before the race. The problem actually corrected itself after a few more laps. Chase Briscoe (Ford), who had started 4th, brought out the yellow on Lap 49 after a flat tire forced him high nearly hitting the wall.
Kyle Larson (Chevy) picked up the Stage 1 win followed by Ty Dillon (Chevy) and Bell. Justin Allgaier spun at the end of the stage.
Daniel Suarez grabbed the lead on the start of Stage 2 with Larson in ‘hot pursuit.’ Yellow came out on Lap 92 when Alex Bowman (Chev) spun the 48 car but didn’t hit anything.
Six laps later Noah Gragson, Kevin Harvick and Bowman (again) got together with Harvick appearing to suffer the most damage, a badly bent right front wheel, pointing the wrong way.
Brad Keselowski spun on Lap 114 bringing out another yellow. The clouds were getting black and blacker, and they hoped to get to the halfway point, Lap 125 to make it a complete race if the rains did come.
Debris on the back stretch came out on Lap 127 meaning the race had passed halfway making it a full race whether it rained or not. A ‘light sprinkle’ developed at Lap 136 but they kept going!
Chase Briscoe won Stage 2 followed by Bell and Suarez. Nine cautions happened in the first two stages.
By Lap 151, cars were sliding off the track (Christopher Bell in particular) due to the dampness so the race was red flagged sending the cars to pit road where they got covered up. And then total confusion ensued.
Nobody knew who was restarting where… that is, if they were going to restart. NASCAR stated that the restart would be based on the finishing order from Stage 2 and what they state is, as always, gospel!
After a very lengthy red flag period, racing was set to resume with 100 laps to go. Unfortunately, Ross Chastain damaged his motor at the end of Stage 2 and was forced to head to the pits.
On Lap 162, Ricky Stenhouse spun after coming into a little melee in front of him causing a caution. Eric Jones spun on Lap 170 in his already damaged Tide car creating another yellow. Do you see a pattern here?
Oops, 12th caution on Lap 178 when Todd Gilliland lost it. Stenhouse, again, brought out the 13th yellow on Lap 202. Austin Dillon got into trouble taking out Kurt Busch on Lap 208. Rain again on Lap 222 and the cars were sent onto pit road for a red flag.
My, how the times have changed!! During the red flag there was a woman (Tyler Reddick’s wife?) with a baby on pit road. I can remember when women were not allowed to be in the pits let alone on pit road especially during a race.
And children were NEVER allowed in the pits or on pit road. I love the old cop cars that the track utilized to run around the track during the stoppages, all lettered up with sponsors.
Things went non-stop, believe it or not, right to the checker. BUT Chase Briscoe, running second, did a dive bomb pass attempt under leader Tyler Reddick taking both of them out.
Reddick recovered but got passed just before the flag by Kyle Busch. Joey Logano finished third while Briscoe ended up a ‘karmic’ 22nd.
In the on-track, post-race interview Busch got booed. And he laughingly said, “I didn’t even do anything but still got the Earnhardt Senior boos anyway!!”
Chase Elliott still leads the points by 3 over Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano is third 21 back.
Their next race, Talladega, is Sunday at 3 P.M. on TSN.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: As a result of his actions at Martinsville a week ago, Toyota driver Ty Gibbs has been fined $15,000.
On the last lap, Sam Mayer moved Gibbs up the track upsetting Gibbs. On the cool down lap, Gibbs rammed the back of Mayer’s car and then did the same on pit road.
The two drivers came together and words, shoves and punches were exchanged. I don’t think the fine will do anything as the team will pay for it. In my opinion a suspension would be much more appropriate.
Their next race, Talladega, is Saturday at 4 P.M. on TSN.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: Comments were hot and heavy about the dirt track created at Bristol Motor Speedway.
There were naysayers and cheerleaders offering their opinions. Dust appeared to be a problem on Friday, but Saturday night saw no concerns about dust.
There was also concern about not being able to see the black walls at night. As a result, the track painted white stripes in the corners. Problem solved!! I, personally, love the dirt races at Bristol.
As a result of winning his qualifying heat, Joey Logano started from the pole with Ben Rhodes outside and our boy, Stewart Friesen starting third.
Ben Rhodes grabbed the lead on the first lap and won Stage 1 followed by Ty Majeski and Friesen. Andrew Gordon brought out the yellow on Lap 24 after he spun out.
Chris Wright spun on Lap 55 bringing out the second yellow. On the restart, Friesen dropped back ending up 15th in Stage 2 which was won, again, by Rhodes followed by Majeski again and John Hunter Nemechek in third. Also, on the restart, trucks were going four wide and NOT wrecking!! Who knew?
The craziest yellow, followed by a 6-minute red flag, came when Matt DiBenedeto and Austin Wayne Self got LOCKED together. The red was needed so the tow trucks could lift the front truck off the other one.
I was waiting for one of the announcers to say, ‘just pour a pail of water on them’!! And if you got that joke you are old!!
Rhodes had somehow missed the call to the pits at the end of the second stage but still restarted up front. The reason? There were no pit crews only a skeleton staff to change any flat tire so after each yellow the restart was the order just before the yellow.
Several more yellows (8 in total) slowed action with the worst one seeing Ty Majeski taken out. Ben Rhodes won both stages and the race leading 95 of the 150 laps.
Second place finisher Carson Hocevar led the other 55 laps with Nemechek third. Majeski recovered to finish 21st while Friesen finished 11th.
Rhodes leads the points by 38 over Chandler Smith and by 51 atop Friesen.
Their next race, Darlington, is Friday night, May 6 at 7.30 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
FORMULA ONE: They race again in Italy… April 24 at Monza.
IndyCar: They take to the track again at Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park, on May 1.
IMSA: According to Marshal Pruett, writing in Racer, the reason for the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche dropping out of the Long Beach race was a one in a million accident.
They pitted at the same time as the #3 Corvette, and just in front of it, when one of the lugs bounced out of the Corvette’s airgun, spinning up into the air, over the roof of the #9 car, into its fuel fill probe then bouncing off and down into the radiator exit ducting.
A crew member spotted it and pulled it out, but the damage had been done as there was fluid coming from the rad thus ending their stellar run. Sad. Even Hollywood couldn’t write a scenario like that!!
Their next race is at Laguna Seca on May 1.
NHRA: They race again in Houston, this weekend.
PDRA: Their East Coast Nationals were held last weekend at Galot Motorsport Park in Dunn, North Carolina. Canada was VERY well represented!!
As luck would have it, two BAD FAST Stratford area Pro Mod racers drove 1,300 kms only to end up facing each other in the first round!!
The quickest Canadian qualifier (4th) Scott Wildgust in his Smokies Garage ‘67 Mustang ran a 3.642 at 209.82 to nose out number 13 qualifier Spencer Hyde in his NAPA Autopro ‘69 Camaro with a 3.836 at 200.00 in the first round.
Scott had an easy win in the second round before dropping to Stan Shelton in the semis. Todd Tutterow ended up winning the category with a 3.588 at 212.29. Eric Latino from Port Perry ran 3.711 at 202.88 in his first round loss to Johnny Camp.
To show just how tough the field was, Dean Bettenson from Red Deer Alberta qualified 19th with a 3.735 while long time Pro Mod campaigner Kenny Lang from Grand Point, Manitoba was 20th at 3.764.
Galot (Get A Load Of This) was formerly known as Dunn-Benson, a very popular track in the region. AND, little known fact, when Daytona International Speedway tore down their back straight grandstands, some of those very stands ended up at Dunn-Benson.
Their next race is at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky the weekend of April 30. That’s the track with the cool, covered grandstands and the NHRA Heritage Series runs their Hot Rod Reunion there on the weekend of June 18. AND they have an amusement park on site!! Fun, fun, fun!!
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: The rumour mill has Ohsweken Speedway owner and dirt track standout Glenn Styres ordering two cars to race the full Pinty’s schedule this year. I think he enjoyed his time in a Pinty’s car last fall at Delaware. Would be a great addition to the series!
And in case you missed it, during the NASCAR weekend at Bristol, Pinty’s announced that it’s extending its sponsorship of Canada’s national stock car series for another five years.
And three-time series champion L.P. Dumoulin was on hand to receive his third championship ring. Congrats to all!
The NASCAR Pinty’s Series kicks off its season May 14 at Sunset Speedway.
APC SERIES: This fast-growing series opens May 21 at Sunset Speedway.
Until next week!!
– Dave Mathers