The NASCAR Pinty’s Series kicked off at Sunset Speedway Saturday night. In Dave Mathers’ weekly Motion Motorsport Report for Inside Track Motorsport News, he covers this, NASCAR at Kansas, IndyCar at Indy and more.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: They opened the season at Sunset Speedway Saturday night. Series newcomer Brandon Watson, from nearby Stayner, ON, qualified #1 ahead of Treyton Lapcevich and three-time and defending champion L.P. Dumoulin.
For much of the race, Marc-Antoine Camirand was the class of the field, but Raphael Lessard was able to stick close to him on restarts and managed to get past him following a late-race caution. Heading into turn 1, on the last lap, Camirand got into the side of Lessard, pushing both of them high up on the banking.
Treyten Lapcevich was running third at the time and used the opportunity to slide underneath the two Quebec racers and emerged from turn 2 with the lead and led the rest of the way to his first NASCAR Pinty’s Series checkered flag.
He came home ahead of Lessard and Watson, who recovered to third after a mid-race spin. Twenty cars took part in the race at the fast, one-third-mile oval south of Barrie, Ontario.
Their next race is Sunday on the road course at Mosport, oops, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: Christopher Bell (Toyota) grabbed the pole at Kansas ahead of Tyler Reddick and Kyle Larson, both in Chevs. Austin Cindric was the top starting Ford in fourth. Five cars got sent to the back for ‘unapproved adjustments’ (Hamlin, Gilliland and Stenhouse) and for backup cars (Logano and Buescher).
On lap 35, B.J. McLeod had a flat tire and spun. And then something happened that I have never seen before – the roof access flap actually ripped off!
Chris Buescher was running car #17 with Castrol sponsorship. It kind of reminds me of the #17 Castrol car of D.J. Kennington in the Pinty’s Series. Daniel Suarez, running fourth at the time, spun on lap 62 with a flat tire.
Speculation had it that teams were running the tires with lower pressures than recommended. Justin Haley was pushed to the garage during the same caution.
Kyle Busch won Stage 1 followed by Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott.
William Byron got a flat tire while leading on lap 115. On a subsequent pit stop the crew of the #43 car of Erik Jones had to get out the torches to try and get the right-rear wheel nut off!!
Then a HUGE breaker bar, then a sawzall, then a BIG honkin’ airgun, then a big sledge hammer, then a die grinder!!
EVERY team was watching ‘with interest’!! They eventually cut away part of the wheel itself and were finally successful, but he was seven laps down as a result.
Tire problems for several drivers continued especially on the left rears.
Kurt Busch won Stage 2 just ahead of brother Kyle and Ryan Blaney. On the pit stop, Kyle Busch’s crew had problems and then he got caught speeding on pit out.
Chase Elliott lost a left-rear tire casing on lap 197 and spun to the bottom and off the track. As it had rained in the morning the grass was very wet and the tow truck actually got stuck trying to push Chase. At lap 230, the yellow came out for ‘fluid on the racetrack’!
At the checker, Kurt Busch got the first victory for owners Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin after getting around Kyle Larson in the closing laps, followed by his brother Kyle.
Chase Elliott continues to lead the points by 52 over Ryan Blaney and by 58 on Kyle Busch.
Their next race, The All-Star Race at Texas, is Sunday, at 6 P.M. on TSN 5.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Their next race, Texas, is Saturday, at 1.30 P.M. on TSN 5.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: Zane Smith (Ford) won, no, dominated the Heart of America 200 Saturday at Kansas Speedway leading 108 of the 134 laps.
Ty Majeski (Toyota) was second while Grant Enfinger (Chev) finished third. How’s THAT for parity? Polesitter John Hunter Nemechek ended up sixth. There were only two single truck cautions (plus the two stage ends).
Ben Rhodes leads Nemechek by 20 points and Smith by 21.
Their next race, Texas, is Friday night, 8.30 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
FORMULA ONE: I was remiss last week by not listing the points standings. Charles Leclerc leads Max Verstappen by 19 points and Carlos Perez by 38. Ferrari leads the Manufacturers Points by only 6 over Red Bull and by 62 atop Mercedes.
Their next race is in Spain, Sunday at 8.55 A.M. on TSN 5.
NHRA: BRUTAL!!! That is the most appropriate word to describe the track conditions at the Virginia NHRA Nationals. There were 26 pairs (out of 45) that suffered ‘traction problems’ including 13 of 15 Top Fuel, 7 of 15 Funny Car and 6 of 15 Pro Mods.
That number (26) tops the previous high of 19 at Gainesville and 17 at Houston. Interestingly all four Pro classes had only 15 entries. The price of gas maybe?
Brittany Force qualified number one in Top Fuel and marched through the field taking out Steve Torrence in the final.
In the floppers Robert Hight qualified 10th and took out Tim Wilkerson, Ron Capps and Bob Tasca before beating low qualifier Matt Hagan in the final.
Tylor Miller came out of the number 3 spot to best Rickie Smith in the final of Pro Mod. Matt Smith defeated Steve Johnson in Pro Stock Bike. Bill Skillman won Factory Stock Showdown topping Dan Condon in the final. Brittany Force leads Steve Torrence by 81 and Mike Salinas by 84 in Top Fuel.
Matt Hagan is 15 points ahead of Robert Hight and by 112 over Ron Capps in Funny Car. Steve Johnson has a 50-point lead over Karen Stoffer and by 114 over Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Kris Thorne leads Pro Mod by 89 over Rickie Smith and by 127 atop Miller. Bill Skillman has the points lead in Factory Stock by 64 ahead of David Barton and 65 over Lenny Lottig.
Their next race is Epping, New Hampshire, June 5.
INDYCAR: Due to a lot of rain the start was deemed to be a ‘wet start’ and rain tires were on all the cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
The first lap was exciting with cars running both on and off the racing surface. Will Power started from the pole, followed by Alex Palou and Josef Newgarden, but was back to fourth by the end of the first lap.
Several cars quickly switched from wets to slicks on the second lap. Pato O’Ward got the lead at the start of lap 2 but he too stopped for slicks. Colton Herta did a little ‘drifting’ on his new slicks but saved it.
Alex Palou spun onto the grass but somehow, he got moving slowly only to stop sideways on the track bringing out the yellow.
On the lap 10 restart, it was ‘tank slapper’ Herta out front followed by O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.
Newgarden suffered two flat tires after some contact and, unfortunately, his car was towed to the garage. It did return after repairs.
The front three held sway until lap 34 when second pit stops occurred. Dalton Kellett went off course on lap 36 after starting 26th bringing out the fourth caution.
Just before the halfway point, the rain returned but it wasn’t heavy rain. On the restart on lap 42 carnage ensued coming out of one taking out several cars.
Jimmie Johnson spun on lap 57 bringing out yet another caution. On the subsequent pit stops everybody stayed with slicks and then rain returned. What to do, what to do.
Two laps later everybody pitted for rain tires. Scott McLaughlin spun out of the lead coming to the green and the green was waved off. Fun, fun, fun!
Due to all the cautions the race switched to a ‘timed event’ and with thirteen minutes to go McLaughlin spun again but the track stayed green. The in-car cameras showed how badly it was raining but they kept on going.
With less than two minutes to go Juan Pablo Montoya came to stop with damage to both left side wheels. The race thus ended under caution (see NASCAR it CAN be done – no green / white / checker, repeat, repeat!!) with Colton Herta leading the most laps, putting on several displays of serious car control and getting the win over Simon Pagenaud and Power.
Will Power leads Alex Palou by 14 points and Scott McLaughlin by 18.
Their next race is the Indy 500, Sunday, May 29 at 11 A.M.
IMSA: Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist in a DPi Acura won the Lexus Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Circuit. Pipo Derani and Tristan Nunez in a Cadillac were 2nd with Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque 3rd in another Acura.
The GTD PRO class was not contested at this race. Robert Megennis and Jeff Westphal in a Lamborghini won GTD followed by Robby Foley and Bill Auberlen in a BMW and Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz in a Lexus.
Their next race is at Detroit, Saturday, June 4.
APC SERIES: Ontario’s pre-eminent Late Model touring series takes it first green flag of the season, at Sunset Speedway.
Until next week!!
– Dave Mathers