In this edition of Dave Mathers’ Motion Motorsport Report, Dave reminisces about a road trip to Florida, before commenting on the weekend in NASCAR, IMSA, F1 and more.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: Boy, I do miss the traditional Firecracker 400 at Daytona that used to run every July 4th weekend.
In about 1984, we were spending a couple of weeks on Hilton Head Island and I realized the Firecracker was running so I said, ‘let’s go down.’ We got there the day before, walked up to the ticket booth and bought five tickets in the top row!! Try that today!
Then we went across the street to the Scotch Inn and got two rooms!! Try that today!!
They were advertising a ‘demonstration run’ by five superbikes at 10 p.m., so the boys and I went over. Oops, rain. So, we waited until finally at about 12.30 a.m., the track had dried enough that they were sending the bikes out for a couple of laps.
We went down to the garage afterwards and one of the riders was Canada’s own Rueben McMurter, who would go on to become a member of the Motion Racing Team, two years later.
You haven’t lived until you have seen five superbikes coming out of NASCAR 4 at FULL SONG with lights that could be used to land a 747!! That was before the awesome Musco lights were installed for night racing. Very memorable!!
On Sunday at Road America, Chase Elliott (Chev) grabbed the pole, ahead of Chase Briscoe (Ford) and Kyle Larson (Chev).
On lap 5, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch (who had to start at the back) got together and spun but no full course yellow came out. Briscoe won Stage 1. Ryan Blaney won Stage 2. The really hard to believe fact? There were only two full course cautions and they were for the stage ends. Who would have believed that after the Xfinity race?
Tyler Reddick won the race over Elliott and Larson, all in Chevs. Elliott leads Blaney by 33 and Ross Chastain by 35 in the points race.
Their next race, Atlanta, is Sunday at 3 P.M. on TSN 4 & 5.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Kyle Larson (Chev) grabbed the pole in a car featuring a tribute paint job to Rick Hendrick’s late son Rickie at Road America. Ty Gibbs (Toyota) was second with Riley Herbst (Ford) third. More parity!! Canadian Alex Labbe (Chev) started 18th.
Larson picked up the wins in both Stages 1 and 2. There were the usual ‘close encounters of the worst kind’ to be expected on a road course but the BIG ONE finally happened on lap 26 involving 13 cars, apparently by all reports caused by Noah Gragson.
Several cars were unable to continue. Meanwhile, up front, Larson and Gibbs were putting on the show of shows swapping the lead back and forth.
On a final restart – with two to go – Larson spun the tires allowing Gibbs to get past for the win. Josh Berry (Chev) finished third while Labbe ended up 15th.
AJ Allmendinger leads Gibbs by 9 and Justin Algaier by 34.
Their next race, Atlanta, is Saturday 5 P.M. on TSN 5.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: Their next race, Mid Ohio, is Saturday at 1.30 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
FORMULA ONE: So, Bernie Ecclestone would ‘take a bullet’ for Vladimir Putin? Really? I guess Bernie and Putin ‘manage’ the same way?
Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) grabbed the pole over Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari). Canadian Nicholas Latifi (Williams) had a stellar qualifying lap starting a best-ever tenth, while Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) started last after having problems.
It would appear that the ‘best drivers in the world’ couldn’t get through the first corner at Silverstone!! I say it’s time for F1 to get rid of their standing starts and go to rolling starts. How many first lap / first corner wrecks to do they need to figure that out?
Having said that, there was more drama on that start than ever before. George Russell (Mercedes), Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) and Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) got together with all three unable to continue.
Zhou’s car ended up rolling over, through the gravel trap into the catch fencing and onto its side. He was okay.
Sainz was playing ‘block-a-mole’ with Mad Max on the first couple of corners until the red came out. And, here again, the red flag apparently has a completely different meaning in F1 than all the other series. The cars did NOT stop but drove to pit road where they all seemed to be working on the cars. Huh?
On the restart, Hamilton who had started 5th and had gotten up to 3rd was relegated back to 5th on the restart even though he was shown as 3rd on the scoring monitor. More head scratching.
On lap 10, polesitter Carlos Sainz appeared to momentarily run out of talent going slightly ‘off track’ allowing points leader Verstappen to take over the lead.
Once again, the dreaded ‘the stewards are reviewing the incident(s)’ popped up!! They should just leave that on the screen as a ‘crawler’ as there were so many incidents all the way through the field.
The in-car camera work was incredible and made things look like a video game on steroids!! Meanwhile, Max had tire issues and some body damage dropping him from the lead back to 6th.
The two Ferraris took over the lead with Hamilton moving around Sainz into second. Mercedes seems to have fixed their ‘porpoising’ problems.
Lewis got around Sainz for the lead on lap 26 (halfway) and the British crowd ‘went wild’!! Meanwhile, Verstappen couldn’t stop whining on his radio about his (self inflicted?) problems and was running back in 8th.
Ferrari was struggling with the ‘team order’ conundrum as Leclerc seemed faster than Sainz. He was given the green light to pass if he could.
Hamilton pitted from the lead on lap 34, had a slow stop and came out behind the two Ferraris. After Ocon (Alpine) got cleanly around Max, he ran into transmission problems seemingly locked in 2nd. This brought out a full course yellow on lap 40.
Leclerc then emulated Sainz, running off course, giving the lead to Sainz. Leclerc and Sainz got into a battle going wide and Hamilton passed them both. But both got back around Lewis.
Sainz got his first F1 win over Perez and Hamilton. Max leads Perez by 34 and Leclerc by 43. Red Bull leads Ferrari by 63 and Mercedes by 124 in the Manufacturer’s race.
Their next race, Austria, is Sunday at 8.55 on TSN 5.
NHRA: Now here’s a little tidbit that will send shivers through your spine. Nitromethane, that ‘nectar of the gods,’ now costs $45/US a gallon!! AND they use about 15 gallons per pass! That is $675 a run! Ouch!
Their next race is Denver, Sunday, July 17, the start of the Western Swing.
INDYCAR: Once again, IndyCar cannot seem to be able to get a good start to a race!! The initial start was waved off Sunday at Mid Ohio and they had to have a ‘do over’!! It didn’t look much better on the second try.
Pato O’Ward nailed the pole over Scott McLaughlin and Colton Herta. Canadians Devlin DeFrancesco and Dalton Kellett qualified 20th and 23rd.
On lap 10, Felix Rosenqvist had engine / electronics problems and dropped out. Kyle Kirkwood was the next driver to exit. Meanwhile up front the lead was being swapped between Palou and McLaughlin with the latter leading at the halfway mark.
On lap 59, Rossi got into teammate Grosjean knocking him off track. THAT will make for an interesting Monday morning team meeting!!
Several other cars decided to go ‘off-roading’ as well. Five cars DNF’d. Scott McLaughlin won the race over Palou and Will Power.
Palou leads the points by 39 over O’Ward and by 56 on Scott Dixon.
Their next race is Toronto, 3 P.M. Sunday, July 17.
IMSA: Wick wins AGAIN! Robert Wickens, the Canadian driver injured in an IndyCar accident several years ago at Poconco, won again at CTMP (Mosport) with partner Mark Wilkins in their specially equipped Touring Car class Hyundai on Saturday.
This after driving back to Indianapolis where his wife had a baby this week!! Outstanding.
And I have to say it, how refreshing it was to have North American announcers calling the race on NBC. Thus, we wouldn’t have to be subjected to the endless, ad nauseum, ‘well Jeremy, what do you think’, etc. Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy. And, sadly, those guys were on the REV TV broadcast.
The DPi class had Cadillac, Acura, Acura, Cadillac and Cadillac qualify in that order. The Canadian Pfaff Porsche qualified 1st in the PRO class. There were 6 DPi cars, 6 LMP3 cars, 9 PRO cars and 6 GTD cars in the race.
Right off the start there were problems with several cars getting together. One car lost a right rear wheel and brought out the yellow as it drove around the track at slow speed returning to the pits. Ricky Taylor’s Acura DPi lost a tire bringing out another yellow.
Van der Zande won DPi in a Cadillac over Jarvis in an Acura and Derani in another Cadillac. Campbell in the Pfaff Porsche won PRO ahead of Garcia in a Corvette and Gunn in an Aston Martin. Martin in an Aston Martin won GTD beating Ellis in a Mercedes and Eversley in an Acura. Colin Braun won LMP3 ahead of Chaves and Grist.
Their next race is at Lime Rock, Sunday.
Superstar Racing Experience (SRX): I have to say this right up front, Willy T. Ribbs is NOT a good pick to have as colour commentator as his voice is not suitable.
Beautiful Stafford Springs Speedway was the venue for this week’s exciting two hours. ‘Money’ Matt Hirschman was the local hero for this race and, yes, that is a famous name in northeast racing.
Ryan Hunter-Reay won heat 1 over Hailie Deegan and Greg Biffle. And, of course, Paul Tracy made some new friends! LOL Bobby Labonte topped Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip in heat 2.
The main was relatively incident free with good close racing. With just over 20 to go, Paul Tracy spun Greg Biffle bringing out the yellow. Marco Andretti and Ryan Newman traded paint over the last ten laps with Newman getting around Marco for the lead with five to go and went on to win over Marco in second followed by Tracy, Stewart and Labonte.
Newman has an 11-point lead in the points over Stewart and by 12 atop a tied Labonte and Andretti.
Their next race is Saturday night at the legendary I-55 Speedway, in Pevely, Missouri. That track is owned by Kenny Schrader, and he will be joining in the fun!!
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Their next race is with the Honda Indy at Toronto on Friday, July 15.
APC SERIES: The APC Series dodged the weather Friday night at Delaware Speedway. With rain in the area, the decision was made to start half an hour early.
The green flag for the Qwick Wick Super Stock 50 lapper dropped at exactly seven o’clock, with Delaware regular Trevor Collver leading the 25 cars from the pole.
Pete Vanderwyst got turned into the fourth corner wall necessitating a visit to the pits. As the lap counter was not working, I’m not sure what lap that was. On a restart, local racer Jay Doerr was the victim of a three-wide entry into turn 1 and ten cars were collected in the wreck. Doerr was unable to continue.
Carson Nagy got a flat tire but was able to carry on. With five to go, another yellow came out setting up the run to the flag.
I have to complement the series for the awesome starts and restarts for this class as they did not go until the green came out, usually just before the line. The other two classes, not so much!!
Andrew Ferreira did a little ‘bump and run’ on Collver coming out of two on the last lap and picked up the win over Collver, Ryan Dyson, Chase Pinsonneault and Rick Verberne, all Delaware regulars.
I was really impressed with the OSCAAR Hot Rod class and might ask for one of them for my 80th birthday next January!! LOL
There were 23 cars ranging from Chevelles to Novas, Mustangs, Dusters, old Pontiacs, an El Camino and even an AMX sporting a vintage Roger Penske/Mark Donahue paint scheme. AND there were some ‘vintage’ racers as well including Bill Zardo, who got pushed high in turn 2 and did some damage to his Dodge Daytona, Tom Walters and Steve Book.
Local runner Jesse Kennedy had better luck this year and won the race unlike last year when the starter mistakenly put the white out one lap early and Jesse lifted after crossing the line on the next lap (the next flag after a white is normally the checker).
Saturday night arrived with Chamber of Commerce weather and a full house to watch the action. The drone was quite impressive filming for the TV show as it went around the track at speeds matching the cars. And action there was, LOTS of action.
Danny Benedict grabbed the pole for the 31 APC Late Models ahead of Jake Sheridan and Kyle Steckly. I was VERY impressed with the start as they were side by side at the green.
On lap 4 Billy Zardo broke a rear hub coming off turn 4 and brought out the yellow. Things ran smoothly and at the halfway mark 50 lap mark Sheridan had the lead over JR Fitzpatrick.
Sheridan got a scare a couple of laps later when exiting Corner 2 only to see a slowing car rolling down the track in front of him. JR was able to run right on Jake’s bumper for several laps before Jake began to pull away.
On lap 91, Dale Shaw spun in 3 bringing out the yellow and a final restart. Sheridan picked the outside on the restart and Fitzpatrick appeared to run him high out of 4 coming to the green.
Armageddon ensued!! Treyton Lapcevich touched Jake and the 1st, 3rd (Lapcevich) and 4th (Spencer-Walt) cars were taken out down the front straightaway.
Fitzpatrick picked up the win over Steckly, Shae Gemmell, Shaw and Benedict.
The OSCAAR Hot Rod class had an interesting ‘incident’ when Tom Walters on a restart tried dropping to the bottom groove and took out several cars, actually about half the field, including Kris Lawrence driving Jesse Kennedy’s winning car from Friday night. Walters was black flagged. Dalen Martin won the race over Nick Clarke and Bill Zardo.
Their next race is at Flamboro, Saturday July 16.
ONTARIO SPORTSMAN SERIES: Their next race is on the dirt at Southern Ontario Motor Speedway (South Buxton), this Saturday.
DELAWARE SPEEDWAY: This Friday, they will run the Late Models, the V/8 Stocks and the Bone Stocks.
I will be adding big events only for the three local drag strips as they run regular races each and every weekend.
GRAND BEND DRAGWAY: 22nd Annual Canadian Nationals, July 29 – 31.
ST. THOMAS DRAGWAY: Ontario Nostalgia Drag Racers this weekend.
TORONTO MOTORSPORT PARK: Canada Heads Up Shootout Series, July 16 & 17.
DID YOU KNOW: … that Joey Chestnut broke his own record at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island eating 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.
Think about THAT the next time you are sitting around the campfire at the racetrack – 76 hot dogs!!
Until next week!!
– Dave Mathers