In case you weren’t jealous enough, last week, when Dave Mathers filed his weekly Motion Motorsport Report from way down south, he’s done it again.
Once again, this blog comes from the lush rainforests of Costa Rica!! We have rented a house just outside of Jaco this week – 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a pool and access to the Pacific!! Fun, fun, fun.
It appears that NASCAR has outdone itself! A hundred grand for five cars for ‘hood louvers?’ Found in a volunteer inspection? Really? A ‘bit’ of overreach, perhaps, considering the part was ‘single sourced.’
As for Denny Hamlin? Do dumb things, say dumb things, get dumb prizes. But I truly believe the sport needs more ‘characters,’ as after all, it is NOT racing, but rather, entertainment that is being sold.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: For the first time in recent memory eight, count ‘em, eight Fords started at the front of the pack for a Cup race. It was Joey Logano, Austin Cindric and Ryan Blaney.
Everything started smoothly until lap 10 when, to quote the inimitable Ken Schrader, Bubba Wallace ‘ran out of talent’ and spun out by himself hitting the wall in the process. Everything went smooth after that with Logano winning Stage 1 and Cindric just nipping Logano to win Stage 2.
On lap 190 Ross Chastain, continuing to make ‘new friends’ on-track, taking the air off Kevin Harvick’s car causing him to spin collecting Ty Gibbs, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Josh Berry, Chris Buescher, Harrison Burton, Bubba Wallace, BJ McLeod and William Byron.
Wow, five of the ten accident cars with the drivers’ last names that start with the letter B!! A little karma ensued as Chastain got bumped onto the grass off pit road!!
It appears that history CAN repeat itself as, like last week, Aric Almirola lost a wheel on lap 209. Will they have ANY crew members for this week at Richmond?? I counted 3 yellows other than the two Stage flags.
At the flag, Logano got around Brad Keselowski for the win followed by Bell.
In the points, Logano leads Christopher Bell and Ross Chastain by ONE point. VERY close.
Their next race is Richmond, Sunday at 3.30 on TSN 5 and Fox.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Sammy Smith got the pole using the matrix system followed by John Hunter Nemechek (both in Toyotas) and Austin Hill (Chev).
After the relatively calm Truck race earlier in the afternoon this one sure changed the script. Action started almost immediately with Caesar Bacarella taking out Joey Gase on lap 2. Ten laps later a three car pile up with Jeffrey Earnhardt, Garrett Smithley and Kaz Grala. Kyle Weatherman got into the wall on lap 27 followed by Josh Williams being told to park his car on lap 35.
And park it he did, right on the start/finish line, getting out and walking to his pits!! Reports indicate that he spent the next 3 ½ hours in the NASCAR trailer!! Ya gotta love it. THAT move will be costly. I’m sure he will get that age old message – ‘you need US more than WE need you!!’
Sheldon Creed won Stage 1. On lap 56 Patrick Emerling and Ross Chastain (there’s THAT name again!!) got together for another yellow. Chastain also lost a wheel. Not to be outdone six laps later Parker Retzlaff also lost a wheel for another flag.
Seven laps later Daniel Hemric and Connor Mosack got together for another yellow. On lap 78 Justin Allgaier got turned by Josh Berry. On lap 117 Patrick Emerling and Ryan Sieg got together in 2. Parker Kligerman won Stage 2. Retzlaff spun by himself in 4 on lap 155.
The win went to Austin Hill, followed by Daniel Hemric and Ryan Truex. I counted 10 cautions.
Hill has more than a one full race lead in the points, 46 ahead of Nemechek and Riley Herbst who are tied for second.
Their next race is Richmond, Saturday at 1.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS: Zane Smith got the pole followed by Ty Majeski and Ben Rhodes all in Fords. On lap 23 Zane Smith got together with Colby Howard for the first caution. Then Layne Riggs got turned by Tanner Gray. Christian Eckes picked up the win for Stage 1.
On lap 40 Zane Smith hit a chunk of ballast on the track bringing out another yellow. Matt Crafton won Stage 2. Akinori Ogata spin by himself on lap 78. On the restart Nick Sanchez was slow to get going and got bumped from behind.
Dean Thompson had a solo spin on lap 97. On lap 114 Nemechek spun from the lead. Lap 123 saw Carson Hocevar hit the wall followed by him doing the same thing at lap 131. At the flag it was Eckes over Sanchez and Nemechek.
In the points Eckes leads Crafton by 5 and Majeski by 8.
Their next race is Texas, Saturday on Fox Sports Racing at 4.30 P.M.
FORMULA ONE: The series returned to the desert in Saudi Arabia and the reconfigured track. Sergio Perez nabbed the pole in his Red Bull after teammate Max Verstappen broke a drive shaft in Q2 and had to start 15th.
The ‘Rennaisance Man’ Fernando Alonso grabbed second in his Aston Martin with George Russell 3rd in his Mercedes. Lance Stroll continues to impress with his 5th place start.
On the start Alonso reached into his bag of tricks and beat Perez into the first corner. Perez, however, got the lead back on lap 4 and never looked back. Charles LeClerc was able to get his Ferrari around Russell on lap 9.
Lance Stroll dropped out on lap 18 with what appeared to me to be problems with the ‘energy recovery’ system. Safety workers were shown spraying water on the front brakes which generate power. The strange thing is that Stroll had pulled the car off into a safe area, yet a caution was thrown nevertheless. I’m guessing F1 did NOT want to have the world see a video of an F1 car burning?
The race went green all the way to the end from there with Perez ahead of a fast-closing Verstappen and Alonso in third. STOP THE PRESSES!! The constantly and rightly criticized ‘stewards’ have done it AGAIN!!
They deemed that Alonso’s team touched the jack to his car milliseconds before his five second penalty for starting outside his box had been served dropping him to 4th and moving Russell up to third.
But after the race, the result was flipped again and Alonso was returned to third in the final results.
In the points Max leads Perez by 1 due to him setting the fastest lap during the race and getting that important one point. Alonso is 3rd. Stroll still sits in 7th even with his bad luck in this race. Red Bull leads Mercedes by 46 and Aston Martin, yes Aston Martin by 52. Ferrari sits 9 points adrift from Aston Martin.
Their next race is Australia, Sunday.
INDYCAR: Their next race is Texas Sunday. BAD fast track.
IMSA: Ay chihuahua, WHERE to start!! Sebring is proud of the fact that it is the roughest track on the circuit and Saturday did nothing to dispel that claim!!
I was really interested in only the GTP cars and the GTDPROs. The start for the top class was Cadillac, Cadillac and Acura. The GTs were Corvette, Lexus and AMG. The Canadian Pfaff Porsche had an unfortunate ‘off’ in practice and started near the back, 7th in class.
At about the 2-hour mark Derani in one of the Cads got hit by an LMP3 car and smoked badly going to the pits, blowing a left front tire enroute damaging the fender. The Pfaff car was up to 4th in class.
Near the five-hour mark, the LMP2 car of Josh Pierson spun hard into the inside tire wall at the start of the front straight. With 3 hours to go the leading Caddy caught fire and retired.
With an hour and a half to go the Acura GTP car stopped on-track. And it took a VERY long time to get the car off the track. Not sure why. Fifteen minutes later the LMP2 car co-driven by Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco had a MAJOR off and it, too, took a long time.
With 19 minutes to go, all hell broke loose. As the much faster GTP cars were trying to pass a bunch of the slower cars it appeared that the number 1 & 2 cars got together and the number 3 car ‘joined the party.’
Penske Porsches were 1 & 3. The lead one, driven by Mathieu Jaminet, driver of the class champion Pfaff Porche last year had built up enough of a lead, that even though the car was destroyed, it still finished 3rd behind the winning Caddy of Derani, Sims and Aitken and the 2nd place BMW of de Phillippi, Yelloly and Van Der Linda.
Meanwhile, the Pfaff Porsche put on another clinic in GTDPRO with the trio of Bachler, Pilet and Vanthoor finishing ahead of the Lexus of Hawksworth, Barnicoat and Kirkwood and the third place Weathertech Mercedes AMG of Juncadella, Gounon and Engel.
LMP2 was won by the team of Farano, McLaughlin and Simpson. LMP3 saw Robinson, Fraga and Burdon grab the trophy. GTD was won by the BMW of Sellers, Snow and Lewis.
Their next race is Long Beach, April 15.
WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Their 1,000 Mile race was run at Sebring on Friday as part of the 12 Hours of Sebring weekend. 36 cars were entered and at the flag it was the Toyota Gazzo Racing team (GREAT name) finishing first and second ahead of the third place Ferrari Af Corse. GOOD race and I’m very happy they come to North America.
Their net race is Portimao, Portugal,April 16.
NHRA: Their next race is Pomona, Sunday.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, May 13 at Sunset Speedway.
APC 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.
OHSWEKEN 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 DRAGWAY: 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.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO SPRINTS: Their first race is Saturday, April 22 at Merrittville.
DRAGSTRIP MEMORIES: April 16, Hamilton Airport.
CAN-AM STOCK/SUPER STOCK SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, June 3, Grand Bend.
MY ‘VIEW’: Kurt Busch in an NHRA Pro Stock? My son Paul told me he heard that Busch tested at Gainesville. Following Tony Stewart into the straight-line stuff? Hmm.
Another sold out motorsport event – Sebring. The future of our sport looks awesome.
Until next week!!
– Dave Mathers