The ‘Rumour of the Week’ has Liberty Media, the owners of Formula One, buying IndyCar to set it up as a feeder series for F1. Of course, IndyCar personnel immediately denied the rumour. However, I’m still waiting for Roger Penske to comment on it.
Kyle Busch won last Sunday’s race at ‘Dega and his car had a new sponsor on it, McLaren Custom Grills, a CANADIAN company from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Apparently, many, many people (too many?) Googled the company, and the following Instagram post came out almost at the same time that the checker flag fell!! Makes one feel proud of being Canadian and also makes one realize the power of the internet.
Posting to Instagram – while Busch was in Victory Lane, apparently – the company said, “Our website is currently down because of the overwhelming amount of interest. Don’t worry, we’re working on it, and it will be back up in no time.”
When I spotted McLaren on his car during the race, I automatically assumed it was McLaren Automotive, the F1 and IndyCar people (AND builders of some nasty street machines!!). Nope, just a slightly smaller company up here in God’s Country. This takes ‘targeted marketing’ to an all-new level as it is a well-known fact that race fans LOVE to barbecue!!
Check out their website – it features a large photo of Kyle’s Camaro along with several number 8 grilles. Ya gotta love it. Well done.
It appears that another Hendricks Motorsport driver has gone on the ‘injured reserve’ list. Alex Bowman flipped in a Sprint Car race and suffered a compression fracture of his back, requiring three to four weeks of recuperation.
I had the same thing happen when my snowmobile hit an unmarked drainage grate way back in 1971, and it ended my stock car driving career (which was probably really a mercy killing!!).
This, after Chase Elliott similarly got on the same list from a snowboarding accident. I’m sure Rick will have a LONG talk with his two other drivers!!
NASCAR CUP SERIES: One of the most popular topics of discussion at Dover Motor Speedway, on the weekend, was the haircut sported by ‘bete noir’ driver Noah Gragson. His ‘bowl-style do’ very fittingly resembles that of Moe from the Three Stooges!! ‘Nuff said.
Similar to the Xfinity race, Cup qualifying was rained out and the starting lineup was done ‘per the rule book’ and their convoluted ‘metric’ system. It was all the more ironic as the US is one of only two countries in the entire world that does NOT use the ‘metric system’!! LOL
As a result, fifth-place points driver Kyle Busch (Chev) got the pole, followed by points leader Christopher Bell (Toyota) and eighth-place points driver Ryan Blaney (Ford).
Qualifying got rained out and the race also got rained out, and was rescheduled for Monday.
The race started under overcast skies and there were a bunch of worried crew chiefs!! All the rain had washed the majority of the rubber off the track, and it would take a while to get rubber back down onto the concrete racing surface.
A competition caution came out at lap 20 to check tire wear. There were lots of close calls on the narrow pit road. Leader Busch was penalized for speeding on pit road and was sent to the rear of the pack. On lap 28 Noah ‘Moe’ Gragson got into the wall on the back stretch bringing out the first race caution. Nobody else got involved, luckily.
On lap 35, Daniel Suarez spun by himself and hit the outside wall. That collected Ty Dillon, B.J. McLeod and former leader Busch who got into Dillon.
On lap 81 Ross Chastain made another ‘friend’ when he bumped Brennan Poole up into the wall and Kyle Larson got into Poole.
Kyle’s car was damaged but he kept going while Poole’s car went on the hook. But 20 laps later Larson took his car to the garage. It was interesting to watch Denny Hamlin, who has a ‘thing’ with Chastain, get around Chastain for second place.
Chastain, wisely, went way high to allow the pass. William Byron won Stage 1. Kyle Larson has returned to the race!!
Ross Chastain won Stage 2. On lap 328 Harrison Burton spun at ‘pit in’ but got restarted, spun around and there was no caution.
At lap 385 Joey Logano appeared to blow a tire and crashed hard into the wall coming out of Turn 4. This would set up a sprint to the end. The ensuing pit action was interesting, to say the least. Leader Truex took only two tires while second-place runner Chastain took four.
The green came back out with seven laps to go. Chastain quickly moved from fourth to second. However, Truex held on for the win making it a clean sweep for ‘Brothers Truex’ at Dover!! Chastain finished second with Ryan Blaney third.
In the points, Chastain takes over the lead by one point on previous leader Christopher Bell and by 38 atop Kevin Harvick.
Their next race is Kansas, Sunday at 3 on TSN 1 & Fox.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Rain caused qualifying to be rained out for the race at Dover. As a result, the lineup was set ‘per the rulebook’!! What kind of ‘rulebook’ allows the 11th-place points car to start on the pole with the points leader starting sixth? ‘Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do’!! Curious minds want to know!!
So, as a result as this ‘clear as mud’ logic, Parker Kligerman (Chev) started from the pole with Cole Custer (Ford) second and Sheldon Creed (Chev) third. The weather was clear and, most importantly, dry for the race Saturday.
It didn’t take long for the laundry to fly as Jeremy Clements spun low from ninth place on lap 6 but didn’t hit anything. On lap 18 Ryan Ellis got sideways on corner entry but saved it… no yellow.
On lap 20 Anthony Alfredo appeared to have suffered a broken brake rotor and a subsequent flat tire, stopping at the top of the track for a yellow. The camera guys did a great job and showed the rotor piece on the track. The rotor looked huge.
Ryan Truex won Stage 1. On lap 64, polesitter Kligerman got tapped in the left rear by newbie Corey Heim causing him to spin into the inside wall for the third yellow.
Truex repeated by winning Stage 2.On lap 102 Creed was the meat in a three wide sandwich and spun without hitting anybody or the wall for the final yellow of the day.
Truex continued to dominate the race after his two stage wins, leading 124 of the 200 laps, winning his first ever Xfinity race over Josh Berry and Justin Allgaier at his home track.
Austin Hill continues to lead the points by four over John Hunter Nemechek and by 38 ahead of Chandler Smith.
Their next race is Darlington, Saturday, May 13.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS: Their next race is Kansas, Saturday on Fox Sports Racing at 8 P.M.
FORMULA ONE: During Friday’s qualifying, for Sunday’s race, Charles Leclerc put his Ferrari on pole followed by the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Canada’s Lance Stroll qualified ninth.
However, F1 continues to suffer from some brutal head-scratching ‘race direction’ decisions. A standing restart (have we learned nothing?) in Saturday’s Sprint Race at Baku resulted in several cars spinning going into Corner One due to their cold tires, and that brought out another red flag.
The very tight street course is just not conducive to anything out of the normal, such as cold tires. When will they start to get things right?
In that Sprint Race, Perez won over Leclerc and Verstappen, with Stroll eighth. The ‘rules’ created for the restarts will require teams to add an accountant and a lawyer to the crew just to figure things out. One of the ‘items’ allows lapped cars to go out and unlap themselves before the restart. Huh?
In Sunday’s ‘main’ race – which was run at a track that gives new meaning to the late Dick Trickle’s adage about ‘jet fighters in a gymnasium’ – things started out calmly with Leclerc leading the first four laps before being overtaken, nay, blown away, by Verstappen.
On lap 10, Nick de Vries spun his Alpha Tauri bringing out the safety car and sending his car to the garage.
From the point that the green came back out, until the checkers flew, there was little or no drama with the exception of almost every car hitting the wall somewhere on the course.
Let me correct that reference in the last sentence. On the last lap, for some VERY strange reason, the entrance to the pits was lined with a bunch of people – mostly photographers – causing some chaos.
Things got especially scary when Esteban Ocon – coming in for his mandatory tire change – entered the pits at full song (estimated at 160 km/h). Imagine his surprise seeing the huge gaggle of people almost completely blocking pit road?!
I’m not sure if they had miscounted the laps and thought the race was over, but the Race Director let it happen. The very same thing just happened in Australia! The FIA has indicated that it will ‘reconsider it’s ‘parc fermé’ procedures!! Let the discussions begin!!
Thanks to the safety car, Perez had gotten out of the pits ahead of teammate Verstappen, upsetting Max, who stayed in second until the checkered flag. Leclerc finished third after getting simply out-horsepowered by the Red Bulls. Stroll finished seventh.
I have to say the ‘closing rate’ of the Red Bulls was absolutely incredible. I doubt any other team has a chance this year.
In the Driver’s Championship, Max has a six-point lead on Perez and a 33-point lead over Alonso. Mercedes leads Aston Martin by 93 and Mercedes by 104 in the Constructor’s Championship.
Their next race is Miami, Sunday at 3.25 P.M. on TSN 1 & 4. Should be interesting!!
INDYCAR: Romain Grosjean grabbed the pole over Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward at Barber Motorsport Park, in Birmingham, Alabama. Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco started 18th out of 27.
We raced an All-Pro race at the Birmingham International Raceway about 30 years ago (a Google Earth Pro search reveals that it is gone) and we stopped in to see Barber on the way home. It looked like a luxury golf course tucked into the trees. Gorgeous facility.
The race ran flawlessly until lap 39 (of 90) when Sting Ray Robb (I did NOT make up that name!!) spun and brought out the only yellow of the race.
At the flag, it was Kiwi Scott McLaughlin winning by over two seconds on second-place finisher and polesitter Grosjean and Will Power. Devlin finished 23rd.
In the points, Marcus Ericsson saw his lead shrink to only 3 over O’Ward, and by 9 ahead of Palou.
Their next race is Indy Road Course, Saturday, May 13.
IMSA: Their next race is Laguna Seca, May 14.
24 HOURS OF LE MANS: This legendary event happens Saturday, June 10 & Sunday, June 11.
NHRA: I have to say, right up front, that I am NOT a fan of four-wide racing for the Pros. For the index classes, Stock/Super Stock and Bracket Racing… absolutely.
Brittany Force nailed the top spot in Top Fuel, Bob Tasca in Funny Car, Rickie Smith in Pro Mod, Matt Hartford in Pro Stock, Gaige Herrara in Pro Stock Bike and Lenny Lottig in Factory Stock.
When Factory Stock was introduced, times were in the low to mid 8s. Lottig qualified with a 7.625. I’m old enough to remember when a 7.6 would be quick time in Top Fuel!! Wow.
The final foursome in Top Fuel produced a close finish with Austin Prock topping Leah Pruett, Josh Hart and Steve Torrence. As soon as this round ended, the rains returned and caused an almost three-hour delay. There were only four upsets, but nine (of 14 pairs) ‘smokers.’
Funny Car produced a second win for Team Force with Robert Hight beating Alexis DeJoria, Ron Capps and John Force. Four upsets and six smokers.
In Pro Mod, it was OH CANADA!!! Mission, BC’s Justin Bond (qualified second) topped the foursome with his ‘69 Camaro, ahead of J.R. Gray, Rickie Smith and Jason Lee.
And talk about cutting it close… when this final was over, the announcer told everybody to get out of the grandstands as there was lightning in the area. Three upsets and only two smokers.
A first EVER in the history of NHRA drag racing occurred in qualifying when FOUR members of one family lined up, side-by-side.
Fernando Cuadra, Sr. of McAllen, Texas lined up with his three sons Fernando, Jr., Cristain and David, all driving Mustangs. I have watched this family with interest as the only Ford campaigners in the ‘Camaro Class’ and they have gotten better every race.
In fact, the team had a ‘number one’ qualified car, earlier this year. Deric Kramer won over Dallas Glenn, Matt Hartford and Cuadra, Jr. Seven upsets.
Number one Pro Stock Bike qualifier Gaige Herrara topped the ‘final four’ taking out Matt Smith, Jerry Savoie (I had Eddie Krawiec on my ladder not Jerry) and Steve Johnson. Two upsets.
Lenny Lottig won Factory Stock beating Aaron Stanfield, Mark Pawuk (yup, THAT Mark Pawuk) and Stephen Bell. Four upsets.
In Top Alcohol Dragster Tony Stewart was runner up to Mike Coughlin.
In Top Fuel points Steve Torrence leads Justin Ashley by 35 and Leah Pruett by 53.
Matt Hagan leads the floppers by 58 over DeJoria and Hight by 69.
In Pro Mod points Justin Bond leads JR Gray by 16 and Kris Thorne by 39.
Glenn leads Pro Stock by 81 over Hartford and Troy Coughlin, Jr. by 119.
In Pro Stock Bike Herrara leads Smith by 102 and Krawiec by 120.
Their next race is Route 66, Sunday, May 21.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, May 13 at Sunset Speedway.
APC LATE MODEL SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, May 20 at Sunset Speedway.
CANADA HEADS UP DRAG RACING SERIES: This series kicks off June 2-4 at Toronto Motorsports Park
ONTARIO SPORTSMAN SERIES: Their season starts Friday, May 19 at Delaware with the CASCAR Reunion 100.
CASC-OR ROAD RACING: Their season is underway.
CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK: Their season is now underway.
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 kicks off Saturday, May 13.
LAIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY: $4,000 to win Enduro race takes place June 23-24.
OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY: Their season starts Friday, May 19.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Their season starts Saturday.
GRAND BEND SPEEDWAY: Their season starts this coming Saturday.
GRAND BEND MOTORPLEX (DRAGWAY): Their season starts Saturday.
ST. THOMAS DRAGWAY: Their season starts Saturday.
TORONTO MOTORSPORT PARK: Their season has started.
SHANNONVILLE DRAGS: Their first race is June 17 & 18, Nostalgia Weekend.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO MODIFIED ASSOCIATION (SOMA):
SOUTHERN ONTARIO SPRINTS: Their next race is May 20 at Brighton Speedway
VARAC VINTAGE GRAND PRIX:
CAN AM STOCK/SUPER STOCK SERIES: Their season starts Saturday, June 3, Grand Bend.
Until next week…
- Dave Mathers