Ah, the rumour mill is going into overdrive in the Formula One community. It seems that the powers that be had decided to shorten one of the DRS zones at Miami by 75 meters. Was this a result of one team complaining about another team’s incredible speed advantage in the longer zone? Hmm. Let’s face it, Red Bull has had a huge speed advantage over everybody else.
Lance Stroll continues to face criticism that he doesn’t deserve his ride, driving for his father’s team. I disagree and feel that he has done a very good job in F1. Is he a Verstappen or a Hamilton? No, not yet. But he could and probably will continue to improve going forward. Cut him some slack.
On a slightly different ‘horsepower’ topic, did you know that Florida Panthers owner Vince Viola had a horse entered in the Kentucky Derby, that grotesquely over-hyped two-minute race attended by all the mucky-mucks of the horse racing elite. As a result, Game 3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs/Florida Panthers round two playoff series was moved from Saturday night to Sunday, a game lost by the Leafs. And, in the ultimate irony, the horse named Forte was actually scratched from the race due to a bruised right foot.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: Even before the race started, there was drama in the Cup Series garage. For the second week in a row, the Toyota of Tyler Reddick failed pre-race tech inspection twice before the race at Darlington Raceway. The Toyota of Ty Gibbs also failed inspection twice. The reason for these failures were not released. Both cars passed the third time through the Tunnel of Death!! LOL.
Martin Truex Jr. got the pole, while Reddick’s teammate Bubba Wallace grabbed second, both in Toyotas. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. started third in a Chev.
The first caution came out on lap 38, for fluid on the track. Truex won Stage 1, while points leader Ross Chastain won Stage 2. On lap 186, Chastain appeared to bounce off the wall, resulting in a spin by Truex. Just after the restart, Erik Jones lost a right-rear wheel and spun in front of a bunch of cars. Taken out were Gibbs, Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell, Daniel Suarez and Todd Gilliland.
On lap 210, Stenhouse spun, possibly from a flat tire. On lap 277, Newman had a solo spin in turn four but didn’t hit anything. On the restart, it was The Big One!! Truex spun, after sliding up into Joey Logano, taking out Kevin Harvick, Reddick, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott.
With six to go, leader Chastain ran Kyle Larson high into the wall, spinning both cars. If memory serves, this is the third time that these two have made contact, with Watermelon Man usually the instigator. Larson then shoved Chastain sideways down the track. In an example of some awesome camera work, we saw a couple in the stands rooting for two different drivers. The woman was cheering for Chastain, while the man was supporting Larson. After the wreck, the woman joked ‘let’s leave’!!
At the flag, it was William Byron over Harvick and Elliott. Larson finished 20th, with Chastain 29th. In the points, Chastain has a 27-point lead over Christopher Bell and 29 points on Harvick. Their next race is North Wilkesboro, Sunday with the All-Star Open at 5:30 p.m. ET on TSN 5 and the All-Star Race at 8 p.m. ET, also on TSN 5.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: I have to say that Ryan Blaney wins ‘Geek of the Week’ with his ‘retro’ (NOT what I would call it!!) sweater in the announcer booth for the Xfinity race at Darlington. The pit reporters’ ‘retro’ shirts could NOT hold a candle to Blaney’s! LOL.
John Hunter Nemechek grabbed the pole over Ryan Truex, both in Toyotas, with Kyle Larson (Chev) third. It didn’t take long for a yellow flag, as Sammy Smith spun on lap 5. The caution flew again on lap 40, when Jeb Burton spun but didn’t hit anything. Larson won Stage 1.
On lap 54, Parker Retzlaff looped it after contact with Josh Berry. On lap 61, Sage Karam spanked the wall for another yellow, after contact with Stefan Parsons. Proving once again that cautions breed cautions, the green was out for just one lap before Sheldon Creed spun and collected ten other cars. On lap 81, Ryan Ellis stopped on track with, apparently, a flat tire. Nemechek won Stage 2.
On lap 126, the caution came out for debris on the track, not surprising considering the number of ‘wounded warriors’ out there on the track. On lap 137, Kyle Sieg spun between turns one and two for what turned out to be the final caution. Coming to the flag, Larson and Nemechek made contact after Larson bounced off the wall and down into Nemechek, who finished fifth.
At the checkers, it was Larson over Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer. In the points, Nemechek has a one-point lead over Austin Hill and 53 points on Allgaier. Their next race is Charlotte, Saturday, May 27 at 1 p.m. ET.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES: Corey Heim (Toyota) got the pole for the Truck race at Darlington. He was followed by Grant Enfinger and Nick Sanchez, both in Chevs. Canadian Stewart Friesen (Toyota) started sixth.
Christian Eckes won Stage 1, while William Byron got the win in Stage 2. Both stages were caution-free. On lap 101, a four-truck mix-up involved Colby Howard, Chase Purdy, Zane Smith and Matt Crafton. All but Purdy were able to continue. On lap 115, Carson Hocevar and Rajah Caruth got together in turn two but both continued. On lap 129, Lawless Allen spun on the front straight.
On lap 147, Timmy Hill spun out of turn four, possibly with a flat left-rear. On lap 152, Jake Garcia had a ‘moment’ on the backstretch. In overtime, Enfinger spun in turn four.
At the flag, it was Eckes over a VERY strong Friesen and Tanner Gray. In the points, Zane Smith leads Ty Majeski by 9 and Heim by 15. Their next race is North Wilkesboro, Saturday on Fox Sports Racing at 8 p.m. ET.
FORMULA 1: Their next race is Imola, Italy on Sunday, May 21.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES: Christian Lundgaard picked up the pole for the Road Course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, ahead of Felix Rosenqvist and Alex Palou. Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco started a very stout 15th (out of 27).
Things got REALLY tight on the initial start, entering the infield, but everybody came out the other end. On lap 2, Sting Ray Robb overcooked a corner and spun for a caution. Believe it or not, the race went green all the way to the checkered flag, with no more cautions. Well done. I must say that the in-car cameras provided awesome coverage of just how fast these bad boys really are. Good work.
At the flag, it was Palou with an almost 17-second advantage over second-place finisher Pato O’Ward, while Alexander Rossi was third. DeFrancesco ended up 17th. In the points, Palou leads O’Ward by 6 and Marcus Ericsson by 19. Their next race is Indy 500 on Sunday, May 28.
IMSA: First off, a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE thank you to IMSA for not inflicting the BRUTAL announce team from the last race on the viewers. The highly professional, uber-competent AND utterly enjoyable team for the race at Laguna Seca was greatly appreciated. Hopefully this team will continue with no relapse back to ‘Dumb and Dumber’!!
Thirty-five cars showed up to do battle in the Monterey hills. Qualifying for the race on the ‘new and improved’ circuit found the Campbell/Nasr Porsche out front in GTP, Kurtz/Hanley in LMP 2, the Canadian Pfaff Porsche of Bachler/Pilet in GTDPRO and the Udell/Andlauer Porsche in GTD. Gee, 3 out of 4 Porsches at the front of their classes? Well done.
There were, as always, some ‘close encounters of the worst kind’ but nothing terminal in the early laps. The Pfaff Porsche apparently ran a red light at pit out and was penalized.
With 1 hour and 22 minutes to go, the Nasr car made some serious contact with the wall in a run-off coming down the corkscrew. With less than an hour to go, the GTD Lexus of Aaron Telitz stopped against the wall with, apparently, tranny problems and possibly a damaged right-rear wheel/axle.
At the flag, it was the Cadillac car of Bourdais/Van der Zande winning GTP, followed by the Tandy/Jaminet Porsche and the Caddy of Derani/Sims. In LMP 2, it was Thomas/Jenkel over Keating/Chatin and Kurtz/Hanley. GTDPRO saw the win go to the Mercedes of Juncadella/Gounon, followed by the Lexus of Hawkesworth/Barnicoat and the Pfaff Porsche. GTD was won by the Metni/van Berlo Porsche, with the BMW of Auburlen/Hull second and the Porsche of Udell/Andlauer third.
Most interesting was the fact that the ‘slower’ GTD class winner finished 16th, while the supposedly ‘faster’ GTDPRO class winner finished 23rd!! Their next race is Detroit, Saturday & Sunday, June 2 & 3.
24 HOURS OF LE MANS: Saturday, June 10 & Sunday, June 11.
NHRA: Their next race is Route 66, Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports Racing.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: With new leadership in place for the Pinty’s Series, their season started at Sunset Speedway on Saturday. Twenty-one cars showed for the first race of the year, with Treyten Lapcevich winning the pole ahead of the ‘French Connection’ of Donald Theetge, Alex Guenette, Alex Tagliani and Kevin Lacroix.
I would love to tell you what happened during the race but, sadly, they used to have, similar to nascar.com, a running commentary along with their live timing but, apparently, not anymore. To watch for yourself, you can turn to TSN 5 this Sunday at 3.30 p.m. ET.
UPDATE: Here is some of the info from the post-race release:
Race one of the 2023 NASCAR Pinty’s season was dominated by one driver – Treyten Lapcevich. But his victory wasn’t without a challenge. After topping the leaderboards in practice and qualifying and leading the first 246 laps of the 250-lap race, Lapcevich seemed untouchable. It wasn’t until a late caution with eight to go, that it became anyone’s race to win.
Alex Guenette, who restarted the race from second on the final restart, took the lead with two to go. While victory was insight for Guenette, the driver of the No. 20 FBM/Delta Bingo Chevrolet was still close behind. In the final corner, Lapcevich got to Guenette’s inside, made contact, and drove through on his way to his third win of his NASCAR career, while the No. 3 ASSA ABLOY / Motos Illimitées Chevrolet finished second.
The only laps that Lapcevich did not lead were held by Guenette, who starts the season with his new team, Ed Hakonson Racing.
Kevin Lacroix, who was a close contender in the three-way battle for the lead on the final restart, finished the race in third, ahead of reigning champion Marc-Antoine Camirand, and Donald Theetge, who rounded out the top-five.
Their next race is Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
INTERNATIONAL SUPER MODIFIED ASSOCIATION: In the series opener at Jennerstown, Pennsylvania, London, Ontario’s Mark Sammut picked up the win in the rain delayed event. Ben Seitz was second, followed by Kyle Edwards, Johnny Benson Jr. and Trent Stephens.
We raced an ASA race at that track about thirty years ago (got up in the morning to see ice over the little pond on the site) and absolutely loved the town. From probably the best steak house on the planet to the ‘old school’ drug store, complete with soda fountain, to all the garages for the major brake companies. The hills surrounding the town are ideal for brake testing.
DELAWARE SPEEDWAY: The season opener saw nearly 90 cars in the pits and a strong crowd on the hill. In the popular Bone Stock class, Jay Cox won Heat 1, Nathan Rhea won Heat 2, Phil Givens won Heat 3, Jason Lovie won the consolation (after oil dry knocked a drive belt off his car while he was leading Heat 2) and Jeremiah Rabideau won the main over Givens and Matt Langford.
In the Super Stock class, Lane Zardo won Heat 1, Shawn Chenoweth won Heat 2 and Chenoweth won the main, with Zardo second, followed by Jay Doerr, Carson Nagy and Trevor Collver.
In the Late Models, Jesse Kennedy won Heat 1, Patrick Freel won Heat 2 and Jake Sheridan took the main over Kennedy, Josh Stade, Connor Pritiko and Freel. Their next big race is the Ontario Sportsman Series ‘CASCAR Reunion 100′ this Friday.
APC SERIES: Their season starts Saturday at Sunset Speedway.
ONTARIO SPORTSMAN SERIES: Their season starts Friday at Delaware Speedway, with the CASCAR Reunion 100.
SUPERSTAR RACING EXPERIENCE (SRX): Their season starts Thursday, July 13 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
FLAMBORO SPEEDWAY: Their next big race is the Bill Zardo Sr. Memorial on Saturday, May 27.
OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY: Their next big race is the APC Auto Parts Centers Season Opener this Friday.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Buxton): Their next big race is the Ken Schrader Night this Saturday.
GRAND BEND SPEEDWAY: Their next big race is the Victoria Day Season Opener this Saturday.
GRAND BEND DRAGWAY: Their next big race is the Richmond Gear Weekend Warrior Series this Sunday.
ST. THOMAS DRAGWAY: Their next big race is the ProStreet519 No Prep Race this Sunday.
TORONTO MOTORSPORT PARK: Their next big race is the Victoria Day Weekend Spectacular this weekend.
SHANNONVILLE DRAGS: First race is June 17 & 18, Nostalgia Weekend.
CAN-AM STOCK/SUPER STOCK SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, June 3 at Grand Bend.