In this edition of Dave Mathers’ Motion Motorsport Report, Dave covers the NASCAR All-Star race and other action at Texas Motor Speedway, including the Truck Series win by Canadian Stewart Friesen. Dave also takes a look at F1 Spain, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series race at CTMP and previews the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame inductions this coming Saturday.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: NASCAR’s All-Star Race features the 20 most recent winners of Cup races getting automatic entry, where the winner collects one million dollars (about $4 million Canadian!!).
Two stage winners plus the overall race winner from the All Star Open advanced to the big show, along with a fan vote winner. Tyler Reddick had the pole for the 16 cars in The Open.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. won Stage 1 and advanced. In the second stage, Landon Cassell spun on lap 7 effectively eliminating any chance he had of winning. Chris Buescher won Stage 2 and he also advanced.
In the third stage, Tyler Reddick got slightly above the groove, spun and hit the wall sending him ‘to the house.’ He collected Harrison Burton, as well. Daniel Suarez won The Open and he, too, advanced to the main event.
The fan vote was won by Erik Jones driving the number 43 car made famous by Richard Petty, part owner of the team.
The All-Star Race is a non-points, no-holds-barred, winner take all ‘battle’ for the million bucks. The driver intros were epic, to say the least.
It’s the only time during the year where the drivers were able to bring their crew members out with them, and boy, those crew members are HUGE!!
NASCAR could probably put on a full-blown WWE wrestling show just using the pit crew guys!! Class clown and all-round bubbly guy A.J. Allmendinger almost dove into the crowd. Aric Almirola was the only one to hold the door open, letting his crew go out ahead of him. Very smart move.
Kyle Busch started from the pole and dominated Stage 1, getting the win. On lap 36, in the second stage, Kyle Larson blew a right-front tire and spanked the wall hard, taking him out of the race.
With three to go in Stage 2, Kyle Busch slowed on track with a flat tire and he got hit hard by Ross Chastain, who actually got air before sliding up to the wall.
Chase Elliott was also taken out by the sliding Chastain and was an innocent victim. The camera work showed just how scary the wreck really was. The race was red flagged for the clean-up.
Austin Cindric won Stage 2, while Ryan Blaney picked up the win in Stage 3.
Erik Jones spun on lap 105 bringing out the yellow. On what was supposed to be the last lap, Stenhouse got close to the wall coming out of 2 but did NOT stop. With Ryan Blaney coming to the checker, the yellow came out when he was about 50 feet from the line. WHAT????
I expect the heavy equipment will be showing up at NASCAR HQ on Volusia Ave. this week to add a bunch more handicapped parking spots because they definitely shot themselves in the foot on that call!!
The announcing team couldn’t believe it either, and they collectively had to bite their tongues. Hopefully, somebody will be shown the door for that call. The race had already gone way long.
Having said all that, Blaney, after reattaching his window net – no easy task – rightfully got the win ahead of Denny Hamlin and Austin Cindric. And Blaney got the $1 million dollar cheque. Well done.
Their next race, the Coca-Cola 600, takes pace at Charlotte Motor Speedway, next Sunday at 6 p.m. on TSN 1 and 5.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: At Texas, Noah Gragson grabbed the pole over Tyler Reddick and Austin Hill, all driving Chevs. Before the race, the track applied resin to the racing surface, an old drag racing trick used to increase traction.
Ryan Vargas hit the wall bringing out the first caution, creating a lot of smoke on lap 23. C.J. McLaughlin spun a few laps later and kept it off the wall. With three laps to go in the first stage, McLaughlin spun again, and Jeb Burton turned Ty Gibbs just as the yellow came out. Noah Gragson grabbed the stage win.
David Starr got all crossed up and saved it and, miraculously, NASCAR did NOT throw the caution!! The Stage 2 win went to Josh Berry, followed by Justin Allgaier and William Byron.
Josh Berry restarted from the inside pole but lost it going into 1. He managed to save it, then Ty Gibbs got caught up spinning out as well as Gragson. Gragson came back out on track and a few laps later he hit the wall hard, ending his day after leading 32 laps.
The hits just kept on coming and there were very few cars without damage at the finish. Alex Labbe got turned and a bunch of cars got collected.
Things actually ran quite smoothly over the closing laps and Tyler Reddick picked up the win over William Byron and Sam Mayer. Alex Labbe started 32nd and finished 33rd.
A.J. Allmendinger continues to lead the points after a ninth-place finish and leads Gragson by 44 and Ty Gibbs by 52.
Their next race, Charlotte, is Saturday, at 1 P.M. on TSN 2.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: John Hunter Nemechek won the pole at Texas but was sent to the rear for ‘unapproved adjustments.’
This moved Canadian Stewart Friesen up to the pole and he grabbed the lead right at the green. Friesen swapped the lead with Ryan Preece several times with Preece winning both Stage 1 & 2, while Friesen was second in both stages.
On lap 1 Zane Smith had a tank slapper and almost hit the wall. Chris Hacker lost it on lap 11, and also kept it off the wall. Corey Heim got spun coming out of his pit box, during a Stage 2 caution, but recovered and continued. Nemechek moved forward took the lead from Friesen on lap 74.
Carson Hocevar and Christian Eckes swapped the lead, back and forth, with Eckes leading on the white flag lap. Friesen made the move underneath and grabbed his first Truck checker since Phoenix 2019, finishing ahead of Eckes and Preece. Friesen led the most laps, 60, while Eckes lead 40.
Nemechek leads Ben Rhodes by 4, Chandler Smith by 18 and Friesen by 21 in a very tight points race.
Their next race, Charlotte, is Friday night, 8.30 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
THE CANADIAN MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME: With the pandemic cancelling live award ceremonies over the past two years, it will be great this Saturday night to finally be able to meet in person to honour the inductees from the Classes of 2020 and 2021.
I was extremely pleased to have nominated three of the inductees, Steve Robblee (from last year’s class), Clare Dear and Al de la Plante. As well, both Bill Zardo and Howie Scannell are long-time friends and were customers at my former dealership, Motion Lincoln-Mercury.
Watch for a full report and photos from the May 28 Induction Gala in an upcoming edition of Inside Track Motorsport News. And check out www.cmhf.ca in the coming days for info on a live-streaming link for the event.
FORMULA ONE: They were in Spain this past weekend. Charles Leclerc put his Ferrari on pole, with Max Verstappen second in his Red Bull and Carlos Sainz third in the other Ferrari.
Canadians Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi started 18th and 20th, respectively. Right after the start, Kevin Magnussen made contact with Lewis Hamilton sending Kevin into the gravel trap.
Lewis dropped to the back with a flat left-front tire. Magnussen followed Lewis into the pits, both cars showing damage.
Meanwhile two former world champions were having a ‘spirited’ battle – Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso – albeit for 13th place. Carlos Sainz, once again, ‘ran out of talent’ and spun off the track into the gravel trap. How many more times is Ferrari going to put up with these ‘little’ incidents from their number two driver?
And then, as if on cue, defending World Champion Max Verstappen also stuffs it into the gravel!! This brought George Russell up into the number two spot, behind Leclerc, although he lacked the speed to make a pass.
Max quickly got back up to speed with no apparent damage and only lost two spots on track. However, Max was becoming very, very frustrated with his ‘Drag Reduction System’ (DRS) as it was, to put it gently, NOT responding properly.
Max and George put on a great mid-race display of very close racing. Leclerc dropped out of the race, from the lead, letting Russell take over, out front.
Lance Stroll spun in a passing attempt on Pierre Gasly when, to my eyes, Gasly pushed Stroll wide.
Sergio Perez in the number two Red Bull got around Russell for the lead on lap 31. A second Ferrari engine expired (Zhou) causing major concerns in the Ferrari pits!! It didn’t take long for Max to get back up front and take the lead over teammate Perez.
The drone coverage was a great addition to the TV broadcast. Hopefully we will see much more of that in the future.
Max won with Red Bull teammate Perez second and Russell third. Stroll finished 15th with Latifi 16th.
Verstappen leads Leclerc by 6 points and Sainz by 25. Red Bull leads the Maufacturers Championship by 26 over Ferrari and by 75 atop Mercedes.
Their next race is Monaco, Sunday at 8.55 A.M. on TSN 4. That race takes ‘Jets in a gymnasium’ to an all-new level!!
NHRA: Their next race is Epping, New Hampshire, June 5.
INDYCAR: Qualifying is finally finished for the thirty-three cars that will start the Indy 500 this coming Sunday.
Most impressive was Jimmie Johnson, not for getting into the Fast 12, but for saving the car when it appeared to be doomed. Very impressive save.
Scott Dixon topped the Fast 6 and got the pole at an average speed of 234.046, the only car to top 234. Alex Palou will start beside Dixon, with Rinus VeeKay on the outside of the front row. Canadians Devlin DeFrancesco and Dalton Kellett will start 24th and 29th, respectively.
Their next race is the Indy 500, Sunday, at 11 A.M. on NBC and SN360.
IMSA: Their next race is at Detroit, Saturday, June 4.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: The NASCAR Canada Pinty’s dropped into the legendary Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport) on the weekend. L.P. Dumoulin started from the pole by virtue of being the quickest car in practice.
Qualifying was cancelled due to the weather that cut a wide swath through Southern Ontario on Saturday afternoon.
Treyten Lapcevich started second but the last photo I saw of that car after he hit the wall hard in practice did not look promising. Apparently, his crew did an all-nighter and had that car back on the grid. Great work!
Marc-Antoine Camirand started third. Twenty-five cars took the green for eBay Motors 200.
Kevin Lacroix won the race ahead of Alex Tagliani and Dexter Stacey. Lacroix put the bumper to Gary Klutt on the last corner of the double overtime, with Klutt ending up fourth after contact with the wall. Lapcevich finished sixth in his repaired car.
Their next race is Saturday, June 11 at Autodrome Chaudière.
APC SERIES: The APC tour kicked off its season Saturday night at Sunset Speedway, just south of Barrie, Ontario. Twenty-seven cars started the Dayco 100, a race that was won by Rick Spencer-Walt. Shae Gemmell finished second with Danny Benedict third.
Their next race is Saturday at Flamboro Speedway.
Until next week!!
– Dave Mathers