In this week’s Motion Motorsport Report, Dave Mathers covers a busy weekend of racing in NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA, NHRA, as well as several local events around Ontario.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: In 1998, I went to the NHRA National event at Gateway. While there, I walked over to the 1.25-mile oval, right next door. I climbed to the top of the grandstands and thought, at the time, that the guy who designed Delaware Speedway also must have designed that oval, as the track is much wider at the north end (Turns 3 & 4) than the other.
And it has VERY long straightaways. I heard no mention of the odd track shape during the broadcast, but boy, was that an exciting race!!
Many new friends were made out on the track during the race and I’m sure there will be ‘spill overs’ (pay backs!!) next week at Sonoma. Stay tuned!!
Chase Briscoe (Ford) grabbed the pole for the Enjoy Illinois 300 with Austin Cindric (Ford) second and Christopher Bell (Toyota) third. There were a bunch of yellows as the drivers appeared to be overrunning their brakes getting into the corners after running so fast on the long straights. This made for lots of contact.
Cindric won Stage 1, while Kurt Busch won Stage 2. Things got rather ‘funny’ in the final stage when Chase Elliott got spun, and Bubba Wallace spun in order to miss Elliott.
As they came back through the pack, more contact ensued with Denny Hamlin taking exception to Ross Chastain’s treatment of Bubba, in a car co-owned by Denny. The chase was on!!
Kevin Harvick looked like he broke a right front brake rotor with about ten to go and he hit the wall hard.
Kyle Busch and Joey Logano swapped the lead back and forth over the last few laps with Logano getting the win over Kyle with Kurt Busch third.
Chastain ended up eighth while Hamlin ended up 34th. Allmendinger had absolutely no practice on the track due to running the Xfinity race at Portland on Saturday but still ended up 10th after starting 35th.
Elliott still leads the points by 9 over Kyle Busch and by 17 on Chastain. Their next race, Sears Point, is Sunday at 4 on TSN 5.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: OMG what a race at Portland, in the RAIN!! Fans got their money’s worth with this road course race at Portland International Raceway, Oregon.
The facility is right beside I-5 and includes the road course as well as a drag strip that used to hold an NHRA national event.
A.J. Allmendinger, the road racing KING, put on a clinic of how NOT to win a race!! He was off the track, at my count, at least four times yet managed to recover to pass every car at least three times and several big rigs out on I-5!! LOL
A.J. was doing the double header with this race and the Cup race, on Sunday, at Madison. The crew chiefs had to figure out which tires to pick and the results were ‘mixed’!!
Ty Gibbs grabbed the win in Stage 1 while Myatt Snider won Stage 2. Both stages were in the wet while the final stage was, for the most part, dry.
A restart with ten to go saw polesitter Gibbs get taken out by a car three laps down before the green even came out. The perpetrator, Jesse Iwuji, got parked for two laps for his transgression!
Having said all that, A.J. won the race over Snider and Austin Hill. Gibbs got back to seventh. Canadian Alex Labbe started 23rd and finished a very solid 10th even after getting off the track a couple of times. I truly feel sorry for the pit crews who have to put all those badly damaged cars back together.
Dinger leads the points by 43, more than win points for a full race, over Gibbs and 44 atop Noah Gragson (finished ninth) who had a race to forget when he spanked the wall hard in practice.
Their next race, Nashville Superspeedway, is Saturday, June 25 at 3.30 P.M.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: The trucks dropped into Gateway’s mile and a quarter oval on Saturday. Corey Heim (Toyota) grabbed the pole over Zane Smith (Ford) and Canadian Stewart Friesen (Toyota).
Smith won Stage 1 while Ben Rhodes won Stage 2. There were several incidents but the big one happened on the last lap when Carson Hocevar got spun by Derek Kraus and then get T-boned hard by Tyler Hill. Hocevar was taken to the hospital where it appears he had damage to his right leg.
Heim got the win over Christian Eckes and Chandler Smith, both in Toyotas. Friesen finished fourth. Rhodes leads Chandler Smith by 17 and Zane Smith by 21 in the points. Friesen sits fifth only 24 points out of the lead.
Their next race, Knoxville, is Saturday, June 18 at 9 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
FORMULA ONE: They’re back in action, this Sunday, in Azerbaijan.
NHRA: The Camping World Drag Racing Series dropped into New England Dragway on the weekend. About 30 years ago we raced an ACT race at Star Speedway just north of the dragstrip and I had to go over to the dragstrip. I was quite impressed as it is a very nice facility!!
Steve Torrence topped the 16 cars in qualifying for Top Fuel, ahead of Brittany Force and Mike Salinas. Unfortunately, he fell victim to the BRUTAL track prep and lost in Round 1. Salinas went on to win, topping Justin Ashley in the final. Seven of fifteen pairings had ‘traction issues’!!
Matt Hagan grabbed the #1 spot (of only 14) in Funny Car qualifying ahead of John Force and Robert Hight. Matt marched through the field and took out Hight in the final. There were eight of 14 pairings with similar traction problems.
Dallas Glenn picked up the pole in Pro Stock in front of Kyle Koretsky and Erica Enders. Erica dropped all comers defeating Aaron Stanfield in the final. There were only two incidents of ‘loss of traction’ in their division.
Brittany Force continues to lead the Top Fuel points over new second place Salinas by 30 and by 99 over Torrence. In Funny Car Hagan leads Hight by 41 and Capps by 163. Enders is 108 out in front of Stanfield and Koretsky by 187.
Their next race is Bristol, June 19.
INDYCAR: Running the last race on the beautiful Belle Isle street course IndyCar put on quite a show Sunday. Josef Newgarden started on the pole ahead of Takuma Sato and Simon Pagenaud.
Canadians Devlin DeFrancesco and Dalton Kellett started 21st and 26th. The race was, amazingly, almost caution free but DeFrancesco got into the wall on the last lap.
Newgarden led for the first 14 laps when he was passed by Will Power who lost the lead to Scott Dixon on lap 25. Alex Palou took over for lap 26 before Power returned to the top and led the rest of the way, finishing ahead of a ‘rejuvenated’ Alex Rossi and Dixon.
We will miss the ‘swim in the fountain’ when they move to downtown Detroit next year.
Power has a three-point lead over Marcus Ericsson and twelve points on Pato O’Ward.
Their next race is at Road America, Sunday.
IMSA: The smallest car count of the year, 16 cars including 5 DPis and 10 GTDs, showed up to Detroit’s Belle Isle street course for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic.
And, ironically, there was not a Chevrolet to be seen in the field!! This was the last race on the Belle Isle circuit as next year, the race will reportedly be joining IndyCar on the downtown Detroit course where both IndyCar and Formula One had raced in the past, F1 from 1982 to 1988 and IndyCar from 1989 to 2001.
I still remember the sound of the screaming F1 engines bouncing off the skyscrapers!!
Sebastian Bourdais grabbed the Prototype pole in his Cadillac while Kyle Kirkwood picked up the GTD pole in his Lexus. The race was scheduled for 100 minutes in length.
Apparently, the announcer is speaking to an audience of one, that person being named Jeremy, and we heard that name dozens and dozens of times ‘ad nauseam’ throughout the broadcast!! Please make it stop!!!
At the flag, Bourdais picked up the Prototype win ahead of Blomqvist (Acura) and Lynn (Cadillac). In GTD Kirkwood grabbed the win over DeAngelis (Aston Martin) and Snow (BMW).
Their next race is at Watkins Glen, Sunday, June 26.
THE 24 HOURS OF LEMANS: This legendary event goes Saturday at 10 A.M., ending Sunday at 10 A.M. And, GREAT news, we Canucks get to watch all 25 hours (½ hour pre- and post-race) on that wonderful hybrid Discovery/Velocity (on Rogers, not sure of the others).
And we get to see Hendrick Motorsports running a modified NASCAR Camaro out of the legendary and mythical Garage 56!
I’m having a hard time finding out the driver lineup although Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have been mentioned. Even my good friend Dr. Google doesn’t appear to know!
SUPERSTAR RACING EXPERIENCE (SRX): This exciting series, headed by Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham, returns again this year with CBS carrying the two hour broadcasts on six consecutive Saturday nights.
Their season opens June 18 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. Subsequent races will be at South Boston Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway, Nashville Fairgrounds, I-55 Raceway and Sharon Speedway.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Their next race is Saturday at Autodrome Chaudière.
APC SERIES: J.R. Fitzpatrick picked up the checker flag in the London Recreational 100 Late Model event at Flamboro Speedway on Saturday night. Top qualifier Kyle Steckly grabbed second with Andrew Gresel third over the 22-car field. Fitzpatrick leads the points by 3 over Gemmell and by six on Gresel.
In the Qwick Wick Super Stocks, third generation racer and number one qualifier Lane Zardo topped the field ahead of Gerrit Tiemersma and Roy Wilkie. As this was the first points race for the Super Stocks Zardo leads Tiemersma by 4 and Wilkie by 5.
Their next race is Friday, July 1 at Delaware Speedway.
ONTARIO SPORTSMAN SERIES: The series dropped into Sunset Speedway on the weekend for a 100-lap race. Todd Sheppard grabbed the pole over Mike Hryniuk Jr. and Delaware veteran Mark Patrick.
Fifteen laps in, the two leaders Sheppard and Hryniuk got together bringing out the yellow and sending both of them to the back. The dynamic duo worked their way through the pack over the 85 laps with Sheppard getting the win by two car lengths. Brendon Patrick grabbed third.
Their next race is Friday, June 17 at Delaware Speedway.
DELAWARE SPEEDWAY: I was shocked last week to learn how many local racers read my blog each week. And a bunch of them wondered if I could include Delaware in my coverage. Sure, why not!! When you are old, fat and retired almost anything is possible.
I got thinking about it and the last time I wrote anything about Delaware was 44 years ago when I was announcer and ‘track reporter’ for Bill Prince who held the lease on the track at that time, 1978.
I was impressed a week ago with the many improvements made to the track, as well as the quality of both the Late Models and the Super Stocks. This week I was blown away by, count ’em, 41 ‘Bone Stocks’, small compact J-bodies and imports. And they put on some great racing, like three- and four-wide, even in the corners!
Takes me back to the old days when some cars did not make the main because there were so many of them. Second generation Kris Lawrence driving a car with the number made famous by his late father dominated the feature.
There was a head scratching class named V/8 Stocks that had a ‘timed feature’ meaning that if you went quicker than the assigned lap time, you got black flagged. This made for some ‘doh’ moments where the two leaders came out of Turn 4 side-by-side… then both cars lifted!!
There were six cars including some Camaros, a ‘64 Chevelle and a ‘65 or so Chevy II. One of the cars was actually a dirt car from Buxton that kept trying to ‘get up on the cushion’!!
Seventeen Late Models did battle with the checker dropping over a VERY close photo finish with Jaden Chapman just nosing out a fast-closing Ray Morneau.
And just past the line, the two cars came together (one went high, one cut down or both?) with Morneau sustaining some damage and a cut left front.
Most of the Late Model racing was close and clean but it appeared that one racer ‘ran out of talent’ at least twice with the second incident taking him out of the race.
Watching the 03 car of Morneau brought back good memories of the late, great ‘Speedy’ Jack Monahan in an almost identical paint scheme. And, even fonder, I remember taking a BUNCH of $20 bills (only one at a time!) off late friend John Aarts, owner then of J-AAR.
We had originally bet on the Waters Brothers car driven by Mark Wilson and sponsored by John. He switched his sponsorship to Jack and told me he would now get all his money back as the 03 car would beat my son Paul’s 10 car!! Didn’t happen. Great fun. LOL
The new team at Delaware has come up with something so simple that I can’t believe nobody ever did it before. Instead of starting the lap count on the scoreboard at lap 1, they start at the total number of laps for the race and work back. As Luke Ramsey told me, people are always asking ‘how many laps’! Well now they don’t have to ask. Great move.
The Super Stocks will be back Friday along with the Bone Stocks and the V/8s.
GRAND BEND MOTORPLEX: Mark the weekend of June 17-19 in your planner as it is the wild 25th Stratford Spectacular. And two of the BADDEST Stratford cars will be there – the Pro Mods of Scott Wildgust and Spencer Hyde, Ford vs. Chev!! BE THERE!!
SIDEBAR: I received an interesting email this week from former Motion employee Paul Noakes. His daughter Brooklyn, 17, the third-generation racer in this family after grandfather Brian of Wheeler Dealer Willys fame and Paul with his Alcohol Funny Car (sponsored by Motion at one time), has stepped up from her successful Junior Dragster program into a Super Comp car. Paul enthused about her second time trial where she ran a 4.75 with a perfect .0000 light.
In the final, she went .001 red losing to an .068 light for the winner. (Noaksie neglected to tell me where!!) Paul lamented that Brook made him look bad and I countered that he made Brian look bad!! LOL
OOPS: The Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame – the photo of the four inductees in last week’s blog should have been credited to Delaware photographer Chris Culos Jr. Sorry about that.
Until next week!!
– Dave Mathers