We’re BACK!! Once again we are pleased to present the weekly Motion Motorsport Report on InsideTrackNews.com. Why the name? In 1986 I bought Westmount Lincoln-Mercury, renaming it Motion Lincoln-Mercury.
Due to the lack of coverage of any motorsports in the local paper I decided to create and sponsor a weekly report known as the Motion Motorsport Report. Thus the name, as many racers still remember it and still talk about it as that was way before the internet and instant access to everything.
My friend, Clare Dear, did the heavy lifting on the report, relying on fax reports. I sold Motion 27 years ago, but many people still remember it.
So, what is this, now? I consider it to be the ‘Coles Notes’ version of all the weekend racing in many of the series, as well as listings for upcoming events. And, yes, thanks to the ‘magic’ of Rogers Ignite, I do watch all of the races that I report on. GREAT gig!!
If you have comments, suggestions, criticisms, etc. feel free to contact me at email@example.com. If you want your local track added we can probably do that as well.
IMSA: Good News and Bad News regarding the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, which took place over the weekend.
The good news – the track announced the largest crowd EVER for the race!! The car count was high, as well. The bad news – minimal TV coverage up here in God’s Country. We got one hour, at the start, from an NBC station in Seattle (NBC Detroit did NOT cover it) and an hour and a half at the finish, again on NBC.
In the past, we watched it on Fox Sports Racing and Discovery/Velocity. And I learned after the race that it was on REVTV, having been announced the day before the event. In the end, I guess most of us streamed it on the IMSA.TV website, meaning we got to hear, once again, “Jeremy… Jeremy… Jeremy,” ad nauseum during the race.
WHY??? Apparently, the uber-competent American broadcast team was unavailable? However, I did notice some other announcers early in the morning that I had not heard in the past.
Having said all that, the race did not disappoint. With 9 GTP cars, 10 in LMP2, 9 in LMP3, 10 In GTD PRO, and 23 in GTD, it was a very diverse field. Three, count ’em, three GTD cars (‘amateur’ drivers) actually out-qualified the GTD PRO (‘pro’ drivers) cars. Go figure.
The ‘new’ for this year GTP class features hybrid power and that had caused some concerns about durability and reliability. Time will tell.
Acura qualified first and third in the top class with the two new Penske Porsches in second and… wait for it… DFL!
Nick Tandy had a ‘moment’ in qualifying and ended up qualified dead last. The Cadillacs were fourth, fifth and sixth while the BMW M Team ended up seventh and eighth.
Successful Texas mega-car dealer Ben Keating continued to dominate LMP2 grabbing the top spot, while 18-year-old phenom Nico Pina topped LMP3. Maro Engel picked up the GTD PRO pole in the Weathertech Mercedes. Phil Ellis grabbed the GTD top spot in his Mercedes.
I felt sorry for fellow Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame member Chris Pfaff (we were both inducted six years ago) as Porsche pulled his three championship drivers from last year and put them in the Penske cars.
The start of the race was rather head-scratching as the pole car jumped the start way before the line and had about a five car lengths lead going into the infield. NASCAR would never allow that. The split start – prototypes first followed thirty seconds or so later by the GTs – is always exciting and this one was no different.
The race ran pretty drama free except for the occasional ‘rubbin is racin’ deals, with only three yellows in the first quarter of the race.
One of the two GTP BMWs ran into problems early on and dropped way back. About 8 ½ hours in, the ‘tire wall’ guys got put to work moving a bunch of relocated tire bundles, bringing out another full course yellow.
The ‘hockey stick’ taillights on the GTP Caddies looked really awesome during the night.
Overnight, several cars had problems, including a transmission swap in the Action Express Caddy.
Nick Tandy had an ‘off’ with his Penske Porsche, resulting in a long stop to replace damaged body panels.
The lone Corvette had a flat tire, losing two laps, but fought back and put the only domestic GT car in the race into the lead of GTD PRO with six hours to go.
In fact, with the exception of a couple of Lexuses (Lexi??) and two Acuras, the entire GT field was filled with European entries. No private Ford GT entries?
Interesting. Maybe because Barrett-Jackson is getting Ferrari 250 GTO money out of the Fords?
One of the Aston Martins dropped out at about the two thirds mark, with what appeared to be a broken left rear suspension component.
Full marks to IMSA for being able to level the GTP field, preventing one car from stinking up the show. There were many concerns about the hybrid addition to the GTPs in spite of the many pre-race testing miles.
The Penske Porsches both had problems and dropped back. The final quarter of the race saw the Acuras and Caddies doing battle at the front, with nobody being able to pull away.
The in-car camera in the Vette showed Jordan Taylor driving with only one hand on the wheel while up on the banking, just out for a Sunday drive (yeah, yeah, I know, it WAS Sunday!). Awesome!!
With a little less than three hours to go, one of the Penske Porsches, driven by Nick Tandy, appeared to blow an engine or a turbo coming off NASCAR Two.
With about an hour and a half to go, the ‘announce team’ violated the very first rule of race announcing – they were talking about something that was NOT shown on screen, an apparent fire on pit road.
I realize it was a hybrid broadcast of IMSA Radio and IMSA TV but nevertheless…..! And most interesting – the live stream was 30 seconds ahead of the TV. Noticed that when NBC finally came on board in the last hour.
And not long afterwards, the Ben Keating car, driven by Nicolas LaPierre, spun on the restart and had to wait for the entire field to go by before re-entering the track. This brought out another full course caution.
With less than an hour to go, an LMP3 car stopped on track bringing out yet another full course caution.
Wow, what a finish!! The pole-sitting Acura driven by Tom Blomqvist (I still remember his father, Stig, the rally driver), Colin Braun, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud picked up the win finishing just over four seconds ahead of the Acura of Taylor, Albuquerque, Deletraz and Hartley.
Cadillacs finished 3rd, 4th, and 5th. The BMWs finished 6th and 9th, in class, while the Penske Porsches were 7th and 8th.
LMP2 had the closest finish, with James Allen just getting by Ben Hanley by 0.016 seconds at the flag, after a slingshot pass coming off NASCAR 4.
Wayne Boyd won LMP3 by, wait for it, 12 laps over Joao Barbosa.
It was really good to see the WeatherTech Mercedes win the GTD PRO class after starting on the pole. Good because of the sponsor, a sponsor that really, really supports motorsports of all types. The Corvette finished a little less than four seconds back, with the Pfaff Porsche moving up to finish fifth.
The winner of the GTD class actually finished one spot ahead of the GTD PRO winner. Go figure! Those classes, in the past, have had a much wider separation so it looks like this year will see much closer racing between the two divisions.
That should make the job tougher for the announce team trying to explain why the ‘Amateur’ drivers are beating the ‘Pro’ drivers!
All in all, the race was very good with close class racing, very few major ‘moments’ and lots of excitement for the fans. I believe IMSA is seeing an influx of new fans due to the rising popularity of Formula One in the U.S., now with three races. Overall that it is great for the sport.
Their next race is the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 11 & 12.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: The season starts with the non-points Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum this Sunday, February 5, at 5 P.M. on TSN 2 and Fox.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Their next race starts Saturday, February 18 at Daytona.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: Their next race is Friday, February 17 at Daytona.
FORMULA ONE: Their season starts Sunday, March 5 in Bahrain.
INDYCAR: Their season starts Sunday, March 5 in St. Petersburg.
NHRA: Their season starts Sunday, March 12 in Gainesville, Florida, YUP, Gainesville and not Pomona!! I guess I missed the memo on that change!!
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.
OSHWEKEN SPEEDWAY: Their season starts Friday, May 19.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Buxton) – Their season starts Saturday, May 6.
GRAND BEND SPEEDWAY – their season starts Saturday, May 20.
GRAND BEND MOTORPLEX: Their season starts Saturday, May 6.
ST. THOMAS DRAGWAY: Their season starts Saturday, May 6.
TORONTO MOTORSPORT PARK: Their season starts April 22.
SHANNONVILLE DRAGS: Their first race is June 17 & 18, Nostalgia Weekend.
MOTORAMA CAR SHOW PRESENTED BY EBAY MOTORS: March 10, 11 & 12 at Toronto’s International Centre. The Fast Eddie Night of Champions – honouring road racing, drag racing and short track champs from 2022, takes place Saturday, March 11.
So far, the following tracks, series and sanctioning bodies have registered to be part of the show: British Auto Racing Club (BARC), Canada Heads-Up Drag Racing Series, Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs – Ontario Region (CASC-OR), Canadian Vintage Modifieds (CVM), Flamboro Speedway, Full Throttle Motor Speedway, Great Lakes Legends Series, NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Ohsweken Speedway, Ontario Sportsman Series (OSS), Peterborough Speedway, Sauble Speedway, Southern Ontario Modifieds Association (SOMA), Sunset Speedway, Toronto Motorsports Park (TMP) and the United Racing Series (including the APC Late Model Series, Qwick Wick Super Stocks, OSCAAR Modifieds and Hot Rods).
DRAGSTRIP MEMORIES: This great event takes place April 16 at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, on the grounds of Hamilton’s John C. Munro Airport.
CAN-AM STOCK/SUPER STOCK SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, June 3, Grand Bend.
MY VIEW: I must say, I absolutely LOVE the Rolex 24 Hours and the Sebring 12 Hours. If you have never been to either event, make sure to put one or both of them on your ‘bucket list.’ You will not regret it.
I go all the way back to the Continental 3 Hours over 60 years ago. I sat on the pit wall of the Jack Roush team with Paul Newman, in 1995, when Paul’s Mustang #70 (his AGE!!) won the GTS class.
He was advertising his movie, ‘Nobody’s Fool’ and a better description could never be found for him. The most down to earth and coolest superstar I ever met. A true racer.
A trip through the infield at 3 a.m. will be the most memorable experience of your life!! Parties going at full song, drunks passed out in the grass, campfires everywhere, tall scaffolding all over the place, a huge honking Ferris Wheel, big plywood platforms on top of ancient school buses with old couches and La-Z-Boys, along with lots and lots of lights everywhere.
And the campers range from tiny little pup tents all the way up to huge diesel pusher motorhomes, and everything in between. And of course, there’s the aroma of ‘naturally grown products’!! LOL! You have to see it to believe it!
Until next week!!
- Dave Mathers