Dave Mathers’ Motion Motorsport Report is filled with race reports, insights and comments about the recently completed weekend of racing. This is the August 1, 2023 edition.
I find it interesting that the two ‘senior’ members of the Joe Gibbs Racing team do not yet have contracts for next year. Neither Martin Truex, Jr. nor Denny Hamlin has new contracts as of now. But Joe Gibbs has made the pronouncement that Hamlin will be back. Really? Is he the right guy to keep? Doesn’t get my vote!!
The dithering and blame-sharing continues in the Ferrari camp, which is having yet another ‘less than stellar’ season. Suggestions that it is a driver problem are incorrect. It is most definitely a management (or lack thereof) problem!!
When will the problem get fixed? Probably with the new program in 2026 but not sooner. Sad for what was once a very powerful team. Take Spa as an example – Charles Leclerc with a good run, Carlos Sainz a DNF. Inconsistency.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: Tyler Reddick (Toyota) nabbed the pole for the Cup race at Richmond Raceway over Kyle Busch (Chev) and ‘crowd favourite’ Denny Hamlin (Toyota).
On lap 2 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. bumped 10th place Martin Truex up the track causing him to lose several laps. No wall contact, so no caution. Reddick lead every lap to win Stage 1.
Stage 2 was caution free as well and it was won by Brad Keselowski. The only drama happened when William Byron ran teammate Kyle Larson high as both were running for the ‘Lucky Dog’ position. It worked as Byron got it!!
The first race yellow came out on lap 390 when Daniel Suarez spun after what appeared to be contact from Noah Gragson. Ah, the plot thickened!!! The green came back out with three to go.
Chris Buescher was out front with Denny Hamlin beside him. Buescher held him off for the win with Hamlin 2nd, Kyle Busch 3rd, Joey Logan 4th and Ryan Preece 5th. There were six Fords in the top ten, plus two Chevs and two Toyotas. A good day for Roush Fenway and Brad Keselowski.
In the points, Truex has a 39-point lead on Denny Hamlin and a 43-point lead on William Byron.
Their next race is Michigan, Sunday on TSN 5 at 2.30 P.M.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: A.J. Allmendinger (Chev) picked up the pole at the Xfinity race at the AWESOME Road America circuit (even faster with the new pavement!!) Saturday ahead of Cole Custer (Ford) and Justin Allgaier (Chev).
Canadians Dexter Stacey (Toyota) started 30th and Alex Labbe (Ford) started 37th. I always love seeing the great ‘Speedville’ sign on the crossover bridge, way out on course.
They went ten laps before the first yellow when Katherine Legge stopped on track. On lap 20 Chandler Smith appeared to break a brake rotor, at a reported 170 MPH, coming up the long start/finish straight to Corner 1 and he hit the wall hard for another caution.
Justin Allgaier won Stage 1 which was 22 laps long while the race is 45 laps. Almost half the laps for one stage? Hmm.
On the restart, Riley Herbst got a shot from John Hunter Nemechek (who also got a shot) and spun. He pulled back onto the track and then stalled sitting sideways on the track for a yellow.
On lap 31 Nemechek got way off track and bounced across an access road, came back on track spreading fluids everywhere and causing several cars to spin. Allgaier won the 12 lap Stage 2. I’m thinking the first stage had 22 laps so they could have a competition caution in the middle of it.
On lap 38 Labbe had problems turning right, hitting the wall hard head on at the end of the front straight and he climbed out of his car in pain.
On lap 41 Josh Berry came across the track taking out Dinger, Sammy Smith and Custer for yet another caution. Another brake issue? There were several brake problems during the race.
The green came back out with two to go. On the last lap, Connor Mosack blew up, spun and stopped on track bringing out the yellow and then the red!! The red was needed to get the fluid off the track. This meant overtime!!
At the flag it was Sam Mayer over ‘intrepid pit reporter’ Parker Kligerman and Austin Hill. Stacey finished 25th and Labbe was 33rd.
In the points Hill leads Nemechek by 14 and Allgaier by 40.
Their next race is Michigan, Saturday on TSN 5 at 3.30 P.M.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS: Ty Majeski (Ford) won the pole for the Truck race at Richmond Raceway over Corey Heim and William Sawalich, both in Toyotas. Canadian Stewart Friesen (Toyota) started 23rd.
Nick Sanchez scrubbed the wall on the first lap but kept going with no caution. Majeski lead every lap in Stage 1 for the win. On lap 111 Dean Thompson spun with a ‘little’ help from Hailie Deegan but didn’t hit the wall. This made for the first race yellow of the night.
Just after the restart on lap 188 Justin Carroll went around in corner 4 for a quick yellow. Majeski won Stage 2 as well. But then he got a penalty for too fast entering the pits. Ouch.
But then Majeski came back through the pack to take back the lead. However, with three laps to go, Carson Hocevar got under Majeski to take the lead and the victory. Majeski finished 2nd with Zane Smith 3rd. Friesen finished a disappointing 27th and out of the playoffs.
Heim leads Majeski in the points by 51 and Zane Smith by 55. Friesen sits 11th.
Their next race is IRP, Friday, August 11 on Fox Sports Racing at 9.00 P.M.
FORMULA ONE. The ‘Gong Show’ a.k.a. the Stewards Room was at it again at Spa, Belgium for the Belgian Grand Prix. During qualifying while running on a wet track Lewis Hamilton went slightly off track and came back on in front of teammate George Russell. The two touched briefly.
Hamilton got summoned for his re-entry to the racing surface while Russell was warned for, and I kid you not, having “abnormally changed direction”!! D’oh! When will this insanity end?
It would seem that the end of July may NOT be the best time to run an F1 race at Spa!! The start of Saturday’s Sprint race was delayed just over half an hour due to rain. That was the second day in a row for rain.
It was humourous watching the bad-*ss Aston Martin SUV pace vehicle running at 10 tenths out front of the wet field while the cars were barely off their fast idle cams! LOL
Several laps were run under yellow hoping to get in the four minimum required laps (out of scheduled 11) to make the race official for points. On the first green flag lap (wisely from a rolling start) half the cars pitted for dry tires as they had been mandated to run wets behind the pace car.
On lap 3 Fernando Alonso stuffed his Aston Martin into the gravel trap taking him out of the race. On lap 7 the miserable year for Sergio Perez just got worse as he went off track thus dropping to the rear of the field. Then his crew instructed him to ‘box, box’ as they were retiring the car.
The stewards penalized Lewis Hamilton five seconds for contact with Perez earlier in the race. At the flag it was Max Verstappen over Oscar Piastri (McLaren) and Pierre Gasly (Alpine – who knew??).
For Sunday’s main race, Verstappen qualified ‘number 1’ but was handed a five-place grid penalty for using the team’s fifth gearbox of the year, a no-no. The limit is four. This moved Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) to the pole followed by Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).
On lap 2 Piastri, who had been hit by the dive-bombing Ferrari of Carlos Sainz in the first corner on the first lap, stopped on the side of the track for a brief local yellow. Rain began early in the race but apparently the drivers didn’t get the memo!! LOL They were still running at full song. Oops, on lap 21 Verstappen had a bit of a ‘tank slapper’ while leading but saved it. Track limit violation? Hmm.
At the flag it was Verstappen, Perez and Leclerc. In my opinion, a TRUE teammate would have allowed Perez to get the win. Lewis Hamilton pitted for softs in the closing laps and grabbed the fastest lap thus taking a point away from Max. A small victory perhaps?
In the Driver’s Championship, Max leads Perez by 125 and Fernando Alonso by 165!!
Red Bull leads the Constructor’s Championship by a mind-numbing 256 points over Mercedes and by 307 over Aston Martin.
Their next race is the Netherlands, Sunday, August 27 at 8.55 A.M. on TSN 5.
INDYCAR: Their next race is Nashville, Sunday at 12.30 on NBC.
IMSA: Their next race is at Road America, August 6.
NHRA: Once again, both Top Fuel and Funny Car had short fields, this time at Sears Point.
Austin Prock topped the 13 car Top Fuel field with a 3.704.
Bob Tasca III was number one in the 15 car Funny Car field with a 3.938 (and to show consistency he ran a 3.935 on his first round single!!). Interestingly Matt Hagan had the top speed in the floppers with a 333.49 MPH pass while Prock had the fastest Fueler time with ‘only’ a 331.36!! Hmmm. J.R. Todd won the ‘race within a race’ Funny Car Challenge beating Blake Alexander in the final.
Not surprisingly, Gaige Herrera was fastest in Pro Stock Bike with a stout 6.728. Herrara also won Saturday’s (first ever) Pro Stock Motorcycle All Star Callout taking out Angie Smith in the final round.
Justin Ashley won Top Fuel beating Antron Brown in the final. Five upsets and only two ‘smokers’. Good job on the track prep!!
J.R. Todd won Funny Car taking out Chad Green in the final. That made for two wins on the weekend. Six upsets and five ‘smokers’.
No surprise here but Gaige Herrera won Pro Stock Bike topping Matt Smith in the final when Matt couldn’t get his bike to fire. Only two upsets.
In Top Fuel points Ashley leads Steve Torrence (who had a HUGE blower explosion on his single in Round 2) by 32 and Brittany Force by 199.
Matt Hagan leads Ron Capps by 19 in Funny Car points and Chad Green by 116.
Gaige Herrera leads Hector Arana, Jr. by ‘only’ 359 points and Eddie Krawiec by 361.
Their next race is Topeka, Sunday, August 13.
SUPERSTAR RACING EXPERIENCE (SRX): Tony Stewart promised ‘exciting racing’ when he introduced this series a couple of years ago. Turns out he is a man of his word. Thursday night at Pulaski County Motorsports Park/Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. the fans and the viewers definitely got their money’s worth.
Using their tried and perfected format of two, 20-lap heats and a main event things went according to plan, sort of!!
Heat 1 was won by Marco Andretti followed by Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. Heat 2 started out under a cloud of smoke and I thought, oh, oh, Canada’s going to get blamed for this forest fire smoke.
Nope, fireworks had been let off on the adjacent drag strip. My question is why at the start of the second heat race? The smoke must have affected the drivers as there were a bunch of yellow flags. Clint Boyer won the race over Ryan Newman and Ken Schrader.
But the best came during the running of the main event. On lap 57 Busch spun Keselowski. On lap 81 Josef Newgarden got into Helio Castroneves sending him into Bobby Labonte who then hit Andretti.
On lap 89 Paul Tracy continued to make new friends by pulling into the high lane before clearing Newgarden and collecting Schrader in the aftermath. Schrader was REALLY upset and said he was done racing against Tracy. Tracy claimed that ‘he got hooked’. Uh, NO!! With three to go Andretti spun.
At the flag it was Busch over Bowyer, Stewart, Keselowski and Newman.
Newman continues to lead the points with a 21-point cushion on Andretti and 24 on Stewart. I have to comment that the camera work for this race was MUCH poorer than for the first two races. Summer interns perhaps?
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!! On Friday morning SRX Chief Executive Officer, Don Hawk announced an immediate suspension of Paul Tracy stating that, ‘We take issues regarding driver safety extremely seriously at SRX.’ Interesting. Johnny Benson will replace Tracy at Berlin, which is his home track.
Their next race is Thursday at Berlin Raceway, on RevTV at 9 P.M.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Treyten Lapcevich picked up the pole for the first of two Leland Industries 125s at the Sutherland Automotive Speedway in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan last Wednesday. Donald Theetge qualified 2nd with Alex Guenette 3rd. 18 cars took the green flag.
The first yellow came out on lap 15 for a spinning Thomas Nepveu. On lap 28 L.P. Dumoulin’s car started smoking and he went to the pits but there was no caution. At the flag in the very clean race, it was Lapcevich for his fourth win of the year over Theetge and Marc-Antoine Camirand.
The starting lineup for the second race was based on ‘fast time’ in the first race. Based on that criteria Theetge started from the pole for Race 2 followed by Lapcevich and Alex Tagliani.
Lapcevich came from the outside pole to take the lead on the first lap and except for a couple on incidents he drove home in first. Green to checkered with no cautions. 250 laps of racing and only one yellow. Good races. And the facility looks very professional!!
Lapcevich now has a 31-point lead on Camirand and 34 points on Kevin Lacroix.
Their next race is Sunday at Three Rivers.
APC LATE MODEL SERIES: Their next race is Sauble, Saturday.
ONTARIO SPORTSMAN SERIES: Third generation racer Brendan Patrick from Delaware picked up the win Saturday night at Peterborough Speedway. Second was Brad Robinson with Chad McGlynn third.
Their next race is Full Throttle, Saturday August 12.
DELAWARE SPEEDWAY: Their next race is Late Models, V/8 Stocks and Bone Stocks, Friday.
FLAMBORO SPEEDWAY: The track hosted the Gold Rush 123 on the weekend. Kyle Steckly struck treasure and headed to Victory Lane. Flamboro’s next race is the Kid’s Ride Night Saturday.
OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY: Their next big race is the Insta-Panels Night Friday.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Buxton):Their next race is Saturday.
GRAND BEND SPEEDWAY: Their next race is this Thursday and the Civic Long Weekend race Saturday.
GRAND BEND MOTORPLEX (Dragway): This coming weekend, the facility hosts its biggest race of the season, the 23rd Annual Canadian Nationals (August 4 – 6).
Over 350 race cars including: Nitro Dragsters, Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Pro Mod, Top Sportsman, Top Dragster. HELLFIRE – Jet Semi Transport Truck and Northern Warrior Jet Dragster, Alcohol Funnies, Quick 8 Heads up Dragbike series, and more!
It’s going to be quite a show!
ST. THOMAS DRAGWAY: Their next race is the Can-Am Stock/Super Stocks, ONDR and C/K Nat’ls this weekend.
EAST LONDON TIMING ASSOCIATION: ‘LittleBigGo’ – Friday, August 11, 10 – 5 at St. Thomas Dragway. BE THERE!!!
TORONTO MOTORSPORTS PARK: Their next race is the OSO No Prep Series this weekend.
SHANNONVILLE DRAGS: Their next race is August 26 & 27.
CAN AM STOCK/SUPER STOCK SERIES: Their next race is at St. Thomas Dragway, this weekend.
Any comments can be sent to Dave Mathers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by Facebook Messenger.