In this week’s Motion Motorsport Report for InsideTrackNews.com, Dave Mathers offers his take on Le Mans, NASCAR Sonoma, some rumour mill items and more.
Take a wild guess for which team was fifth-fastest in the Pit Stop Challenge at Le Mans last Tuesday? If you guessed the Hendrick Motorsports team, you would be correct. They are running the ‘Garage 56′ (for innovative entries) Camaro this year; they were quickest in their 16-car GTE class, despite using a manual jack as opposed to all the others using hydraulic jacks. And they were only three-tenths slower than the overall winner!!
Following the race at Gateway, Austin Dillon wanted Austin Cindric suspended one week for spinning him out. NASCAR reviewed the tapes and decided that no penalty was in order. I agree with the call; I’m guessing that Dillon felt that if Denny Hamlin could get Chase Elliott suspended for one race, then he could get Cindric similarly suspended. Apparently not!
So Red Bull’s Christian Horner says he’ll be having a word with Max Verstappen about Max ignoring ‘team orders’ when he went after and got fast lap of the race in the closing stages at Spain. Apparently the ‘stewards’ had counted Max violating ‘track limits’ three times and warned that a fourth incident would result in a five-second penalty. Uh, about that ‘team orders’ thing, I thought those were against the rules?
In a real head-scratcher, it appears that plans are afoot to move the Spanish Grand Prix from the wonderful Barcelona permanent circuit, where they raced a week ago, to a street circuit in Madrid. And the reason you ask? Sit down for this one. Spain is aiming for ‘Net Carbon Zero’ by 2030 and the move will allow fans to attend the race riding in electric buses. Really?
The rumour mill has NASCAR talking with the race promoters of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal about holding a Cup Series race there as soon as next year. The Xfinity Series cars ran there for several years with ‘mixed results.’ My opinion is that Mosport (CTMP) would be a better choice.
Red Bull (and maybe Mercedes) is upset with the ‘removal system’ utilized at Monaco. The cranes lifted the damaged cars high in the air, allowing photos to be taken of the ‘floors.’ I can recall when tarps were used to cover any car lifted in the air to eliminate the photos. Time for a return of that practice?
Is anybody NOT surprised that some equipment being used to build the street course for the Cup Series race in Chicago was stolen? After all, it is Chicago!! LOL.
Even before the green flag fell at Le Mans, there was controversy. The Toyota Gazoo (GREAT name!!) Europe’s Technical Director characterized the rules change, allowing lapped cars to be ‘waved by’ on restarts, thus picking up a lap, as ‘the Americanization of Le Mans’!! I agree with him as I have never liked the ‘wave by’ in any series.
NASCAR Cup Series: Denny Hamlin got the pole for the Cup race in wine country at Sonoma Raceway, with Tyler Reddick second, both in Toyotas, and Michael McDowell third, in a Ford.
Uh, about that command to start engines, it would appear that Adam Levine had consumed FAR too much Monster Energy!! LOL.
Similar to the Xfinity Series race on Saturday, the race ran very smoothly, with lots of passing and overtaking. I loved the ‘report from the pits (Larry Mac)’ where we heard that Daniel Suarez apparently missed a shift and his motor revved to 9,700 RPMs!! Aye chihuahua!!
Finally, a caution flag on lap 50, when Zane Smith’s tire rolled out of his pit stall, onto pit road, bringing out the yellow.
On lap 90, Hamlin appeared to have a toe link break right at the start/finish line and spun across the track, bringing out the laundry. And then he had to go all the way around the entire track to get back to the pits.
At the flag, it was Martin Truex Jr. over Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Toyota, Chev, Ford!!
Truex now leads the points by 13 over William Byron and by 24 over Ryan Blaney. Their next race is Nashville Superspeedway, Sunday, June
25 on TSN 5 and NBC at 7 p.m. They have this week off for Father’s Day.
NASCAR Xfinity Series: Not surprising, but Kyle Larson nabbed the pole for the race at Sonoma. He had almost a mile an hour on second-place starter Justin Allgaier and third-place Sheldon Creed, all in Chevs. Canadian Alex Labbe started a very strong 11th.
On lap 18, two of my ‘favourite’ drivers got close and personal – Ross Chastain dive bombed John Hunter Nemechek in corner 11. Both were able to continue.
Larson won Stage 1, while Josh Berry ended up stopped on track. Larson won that stage by just over four seconds but moved that needle to almost a 10-second lead in winning Stage 2 over A.J. Allmendinger. On lap 60, Jeffrey Earnhardt slipped off corner 10 and hit the wall for a yellow. On the restart, Aric Almirola grabbed the lead and held on for the win over Allmendinger and Larson. Labbe slipped back to 25th at the flag.
In the points, Nemechek leads Austin Hill by four and Allgaier by 25. Their next race is Nashville, Saturday, June 24 on TSN 3 at 3:30 p.m. They have this week off.
NASCAR Craftsman Trucks: Their next race is Nashville Superspeedway, Friday, June 23 on Fox Sports Racing at 8 p.m.
Formula One: Their next race is Canada, Sunday at 1:55 p.m. on TSN 4 & 5 and (gasp) CTV!!!!
IndyCar: Their next race is Road America, Sunday at 1 p.m.
IMSA: Their next race is Watkins Glen, Sunday, June 25.
24 Hours of Le Mans: In qualifying, Ferrari bagged the first two spots in the ‘Hypercar’ class, followed by two Toyotas, a Porsche, two Cadillacs, two Porsches and a Peugeot. In LMP2, it was Team JOTA, Cool Racing and Team WRT. In LMGTE Am, it was two Ferraris, a Corvette, an Aston Martin, then Ferrari, Aston, two Ferraris and two Porsches.
The Hendrick Motorsports/NASCAR ‘Garage 56′ entry actually out-qualified all of the ‘door cars’ and started 39th or 41st, depending on which website you went to for the data. What’s up with that? Sixty-two cars took the green.
In the first hour, rain came on parts of the track and one of the Caddys slid into the wall on the wet surface. In hour two, another of the Caddys had the lead. Hour three saw more rain out on course, while hour four had a Peugeot out front. By the one-third mark, a Penske Porsche and a Toyota were dead out on course, which usually means ‘turn out the lights.’ The Toyota had been in an accident and the driver bailed out of fear of an electrical fire. At the actual eighth hour, a Peugeot led a Ferrari and a Caddy. The anticipated dominance by Toyota had not yet materialized. About ten cars were out at the 1/3 mark of the race.
The GTE drivers just learned that they will be replaced next year by the new (and improved??) GT3 class. That seems to be why both the Mustang and Corvette GT3s were introduced this week! And they weren’t happy about the news, understandably.
I think it’s fair to say that my main focus during the race was the Hendrick Camaro. At one point during the night, the car was up to 27th and far ahead of all the GTE cars. However, typical of most new entries, it ran into some driveline problems.
At the flag, it was a Ferrari breaking the Toyota string of overall wins, with a Toyota second, then TWO Caddys (are you catching this FIA/Formula One?? Cadillac – the guys who want an entry to F1!!) then another Ferrari. The Penske Porsches, like the Hendrick Camaro, experienced ‘teething problems’ and finished 9th, 11th and 16th. This new ‘Hypercar’ class looks promising.
In the GTE division, General Motors has to be smiling because Corvettes finished first and second, ahead of two Porsches and a Ferrari.
In the Garage 56 stand-alone class, the Hendrick car started 39th (or was it 41st?) and finished 39th. Kenny Schrader would say that he raced all day and didn’t pass anybody with that result!!
There were 16 Hypercars, 24 LMP2 cars (the class will be dropped next year), 21 GTE cars (another class being dropped next year), plus the one Garage 56 (Live Timing called it a ‘CDNT’??) Hendrick Camaro. My question is how are they going to replace the 45 entries from those two classes? There can’t be that many GT3 cars out there being built.
Great race on a legendary course with awesome visuals.
NHRA Bristol turned out to be a double header as they attempted to run the three pro classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Mod) from the rained-out New England Nationals the previous weekend. However getting the results for those races proved to be ‘problematic’!!
For example there was a five and a half hour delay between the posting of round 2 for Top Fuel (3.17 P.M.) and Funny Car (20.43 P.M.)!! I believe it was due to the fact that the Epping elimination runs were also counted as qualifying runs for Bristol.
I covered the Epping qualifying in last week’s report so here are the results. Justin Ashley topped the 14 car Top Fuel field beating Tony Schumacher in the final. In Funny Car it was Bob Tasca taking the win in the 14 car field on his home track besting former teammate John Force. And in Pro Mod it was once again ‘OH CANADA’ as B.C.’s Justin Bond came out the 16th and last qualifying spot to defeat Tony Miller in the final. There were 18 Pro Mods!!
Moving over to the actual Bristol race results Leah Pruett took the top qualifying spot in Top Fuel. Robert Hight was number 1 in Funny Car, Tony Wilson in Pro Mod, Erica Enders in Pro Stock, Gaige Herrera in Pro Stock Bike and Lenny Lottig in Factory Stock.
As eliminations get started I am doing something I haven’t done in many, many years!! I had to create my own hand written ladder (I print out all the ladders for every race and follow the action filling in the ladders as they go) for Top Fuel. DragRaceCentral.com didn’t list one and the ladder on nhra.com takes about 4 pages to print. Brings back great memories!!
Top Fuel was won by Justin Ashley who beat Antron Brown in the final.
In Funny Car Ron Capps won again taking out Alexis DeJoria in the final.
Pro Mod was won by Kris Thorne who beat Mike Castellana.
The Pro Stock final saw Enders take out Deric Kramer.
Pro Stock Bike saw Steve Johnson grab the win over Herrara.
Aaron Stanfield won the Factory Stock final in his 2023 Camaro over Del Holbrook’s 2016 Mustang from the famous Michigan based Ford campaigners.
In the points Top Fuel shows Ashley 64 points up on Steve Torrence and 122 on Brittany Force.
Capps leads Funny Car by 42 over Matt Hagan and by 57 ahead of Hight.
Canadian Bond leads Pro Mod by 70 over Thorne and by 88 over JR Gray.
Dallas Glenn has a 139 lead over Kramer in Pro Stock and 193 ahead of Matt Hartford.
Pro Stock Bike shows Herrara in another area code as he leads Eddie Krawiec by 216 and Johnson by 224.
In Factory Stock Stanfield has a 5 point cushion on Lottig and 77 on David Davies.
Their next race is Norwalk, Sunday, June 25
NASCAR Pinty’s Series: The race on the oval at Autodrome Chaudière saw current series points leader Treyten Lapcevich grab the pole ahead of Andrew Ranger and L.P. Dumoulin.
At the flag, it was defending series champion Marc Antoine Camirand, who had started 11th, followed by Lapcevich and Dexter Stacey, who had started 9th and had Raphael Lessard jump in the car, as a relief driver, at halfway. Camirand turned the tables on Lapcevich in this one, returning the favour from the end of the CTMP race. This could be interesting going forward.
In the points, Lapcevich has a nine-point lead on Camirand and 17 points on Kevin Lacroix.
Their next race is Saturday, June 24 in Newfoundland. On that note, it was interesting to see two drivers from Newfoundland, Brandon McFarlane and Josh Collins, racing at Chaudière.
APC Series: Danny Benedict started from the pole for the Late Model race on Saturday at Flamboro Speedway, ahead of Rick Spencer-Walt and J.R. Fitzpatrick.
At the flag, it was Fitzpatrick ahead of Kyle Steckly and Benedict. In the Late Model points, Benedict has a five-point lead over Jo Lawrence and six points on Fitzpatrick. The series’ next race is Peterborough Speedway on Saturday.
Ontario Sportsman Series: Their next race is Sunset Speedway on Saturday.
Superstar Racing Experience (SRX): Their season starts on Thursday, July 13 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Maritime Pro Stock Tour: On Saturday at Antigtonish, Nova Scotia’s Riverside Speedway, the fans were on the edge of their seats for the final 35 laps of the RJ Poirier Heavy Equipment 150. Nicholas Naugle (Dartmouth, NS) was victorious when the checkers flew. The win did not come easy as Naugle had an intense battle with eventual second place finisher Craig Slaunwhite (Terence Bay, NS) throughout the final stage of the race.
Donald Chisholm (Antigonish, NS) was also in the mix and applied more pressure on the leaders but had to settle for the final spot on the podium. Mike Rodgers (Moncton, NB) kept within striking distance and managed to stay out of the fray to finish fourth. Russell Smith Jr (Lakeside, NS) had another solid performance coming home fifth.
Delaware Speedway: There were 48, count ‘em, 48 Bone Stocks in the pits Friday and 46 made it onto the track. Jason Lovie won Heat 1, Colin Willems won Heat 2 and Craig Cole won Heat 3. The B Main was won by, reportedly, Norm Roy, back out of retirement. Jay Cox won the Main over Kris Lawrence and Willems.
In the V/8 Stocks, Heat 1 was won by Mark McDonald (I scored Jordan Morris as winning?), Heat 2 saw Paul Fothergill get the win and he also won the feature over Doug Stewart and Morris.
Heat 1 in the Super Stocks went to Pete Vanderwyst, Jr., Heat 2 to Trevor Collver, who then went on to win the main over Lane Zardo and Carson Nagy.
In the Super Stock points, Jay Doerr leads Collver by three and Nagy by four. In Bone Stock, Cox leads Jeremiah Rabideau by three and Jordan Willms by 11. Paul Fothergill has a 17-point lead on Stewart in V/8 Stocks, with McDonald 19 back. Their next race is Late Models, V-8 Stocks and Bone Stocks on Friday.
Flamboro Speedway: Their next big race is the Don Biederman Memorial for Outlaw Late Models on Saturday.
Ohsweken Speedway: Their next big race is the Ackland Insurance Night this Friday.
Southern Ontario Motor Speedway (Buxton): Their next race is regular racing, plus SOS Sprints, this Saturday.
Grand Bend Speedway: Their next race is this Thursday (season opener) and Saturday (Fathers Day + Southern Ontario Modifieds).
Grand Bend Dragway: Their next race is the Summer Spectacular this weekend.
St. Thomas Dragway: Their next race is Mopar Day on Saturday.
Toronto Motorsport Park: Their next big race is the Nitro Nationals on July 2.
Shannonville Drags: Their first race is this weekend, the Nostalgia Weekend.
CAN AM Stock/Super Stock Series: Their next race is June 24 & 25 at Empire Dragway.