While he’s looking ahead to this coming Sunday, Dave Mathers updates us on the action this past weekend, including NASCAR’s return to North Wilkesboro, Indy 500 qualifying, NASCAR Pinty’s Series at CTMP, APC Late Models at Sunset and more.
My FAVOURITE Sunday of the year, EVERY year!! Memorial Day Sunday has Formula One Monaco in the morning, the Indy 500 in the afternoon and the Coca-Cola (World) 600 at night!! Bring it!!
The rumour mill has it there is a little dissension in the ranks between NASCAR and the teams. One of the stumbling blocks appears to be the teams wanting their charters to become permanent as opposed to the current ‘renewable’ status. Should be an easy fix?
Tragic news for the Halmar Friesen Racing truck team of Stewart Friesen as team fabricator Jon Gurley, age 40, was killed in an ATV accident in Virginia. Friesen says they are dedicating the rest of the season to Gurley’s memory. Sad.
It was so great to see NASCAR’s return to North Wilkesboro. The track is just down Highway 421 from Junior Johnson’s old facility that I mentioned in my Carling Racing Team Looking Back column (Oct./Nov. 2022 issue).
The track was rejuvenated with a bunch of new stuff, but they also left some historical stuff like the old scoreboard and the faded name on the side of the building. A lifelong friend of mine, the late Grant ‘Buck’ Britton, used to show up a week before the races and help the Staleys get the track ready.
He did the same at New Smyrna, parking and staying in his trailer at both places. And he could walk into the Cup garage and get greeted by the majority of the drivers back then. When I put on the first Motion 200 in 1989 Buck, who was driving south for CanUSA (now APC), put up posters all the way down I-75 to Georgia. Good guy who actually has a street named after him in St. Thomas (Britton Drive).
And how cool was it for the widow of the late, great Benny Parsons to drive a replica of his #72 car around the track. Benny had lobbied for years to get the track reopened. I’m sure Benny ‘up there’ is thanking Speedway Motorsports and Bruton Smith for doing this. Good job.
NASCAR CUP SERIES NORTH WILKESBORO: Fans get TWO different races – the All Star Open and the All Star Race. AND there are two heats for the All Star Race the day before. And how did they qualify you ask? How about by a Pit Crew Challenge?
Yup, fastest pit stop gets the pole (for whichever race they are entered) and the rest sort in behind that. As a result, Ty Gibbs had the fastest time, so he started on the pole for the Open ahead of Josh Berry and Corey LaJoie.
Daniel Suarez got the pole in Heat One ahead of Chase Elliott and Joey Logano. Chris Buescher started from the top spot in Heat Two in front of Austin Dillon and William Byron.
Suarez (Chev) won Heat One from the pole to grab the pole for the All-Star Race ahead of Logano and Chase Briscoe both in Fords.
Buescher (Ford) won Heat Two, also from the pole, to start outside row one in the All-Star Race. Austin Dillon was 2nd with William Byron 3rd (both in Chevs).
Twenty cars were qualified for the big race with the winner and runner-up from the Open to be added as well as a Fan Vote winner. Nine Chevs, seven Fords and five Toyotas were in the race, at this point.
Sixteen cars took the green flag for the Open, in front of a packed grandstand. Watching the race, it was reminiscent of the pre-Jukasa days at Cayuga Speedway.
The competition caution came out at lap 41 of 100 with Gibbs still in the lead. Gibbs had a slight bobble on his pit stop and came out third for the restart. On lap 41 Noah Gragson got a slight tap from A.J. Allmendinger and he took out Ryan Newman and Todd Gilliland.
On lap 56 Gibbs, running 4th, bumped Michael McDowell who was 3rd and took out Justin Haley running 2nd. Gibbs kept going.
At the flag it was ‘Super Sub’ Josh Berry over Gibbs with both advancing to the All-Star Race. Noah Gragson won the Fan Vote to allow him to start dead last in the big race.
Sixteen laps into the race Ricky Stenhouse looped off the bumper of Erik Jones bringing out the first caution. Kyle Larson grabbed the lead on lap 55. Things ran smoothly until lap 100 when the competition caution came out to check the tire wear.
Larson held on for the win, his second in two days at the track, a track that closed when he was only four years old!! Finishing second was Bubba Wallace with Tyler Reddick third.
Their next race is Charlotte, Sunday on TSN 5 and Fox at 6. Note – there are FOUR stages for this race.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Their next race is Charlotte, Saturday at 1 P.M.
NASCAR Craftsman Trucks it was so good to see some ‘old school’ racing back at North Wilkesboro. Corey Heim (Toyota) nabbed the pole with Carson Hocevar (Chev) 2nd and Ty Majeski (Ford) 3rd. More parity!! Canadian Stewart Friesen (Toyota) had problems and started 33rd based on Owners Points.
Things went smoothly until lap 24 when Timmy Hill tried to drop down into the lower groove in Corner 4 but Johnny Sauter said ‘uh, NO’ resulting in Hill spinning for the first yellow!! On lap 57 Hailie Deegan got together with Sauter for the 2nd caution. On lap 65 Hill spun again. Heim grabbed the Stage 1 win.
On lap 134 Dean Thompson got tagged by Josh Williams in corner 2. On lap 183 two previous ‘victims’ Thompson and Deegan got together also in 2. Kyle Larson won Stage 2.
On lap 156 Williams looped it on the front stretch. On lap 183 Thompson and Deegan got together in corner 1. Ten laps later Ben Rhodes spun after getting tagged by Christian Eckes.
Seven laps after that Rajah Caruth got into the wall collecting Rhodes and Zane Smith. On lap 220 Connor Jones stopped on track. On lap 244 Eckes got squeezed down into the wall by Chase Purday.
At the flag, it was Kyle Larson ahead of Ty Majeski and Matty D (DiBenedetto). Friesen ended up 13th. In the points Heim leads Majeski by 7 and Zane Smith by 16. Friesen sits 9th.
Their next race is Charlotte, Friday on Fox at 7.30 P.M.
FORMULA ONE: Severe rains and flooding caused the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix race at Imola. I have been to the track and the Santerno river runs alongside more than half of the track so I can understand the flooding situation.
The call was actually made last Wednesday, a VERY smart move that other sanctioning bodies/race tracks should consider. After all the weather is readily available now online and it is very considerate for the racers, fans and staff. Unofficially it appears that the race will not be rescheduled.
Their next race is Monaco, Sunday at 8.55 on TSN 5
INDYCAR: The two days of qualifying on the weekend saw Alex Palou winning the pole at an average speed of 234.217 MPH!! Joining him on the front row will be Rinus VeeKay and Feliz Rosenqvist.
Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco starts 26th. In a bit of a shocker Graham Rahal did not qualify for the race. That reminds of 1995 when Roger Penske’s cars failed to qualify.
And I still remember the big billboard on I-94 by the Detroit Airport that we saw returning from the June MIS race that promised that the Penske cars would repeat their victory from the year before. And that was about three weeks after the Indy race!!
Their next race is the Indy 500, Sunday at 12.30 on TSN 5 and NBC.
IMSA: Their next race is Detroit, Saturday & Sunday, June 2 & 3.
24 HOURS OF LEMANS: Saturday, June 10 & Sunday, June 11.
NHRA CHICAGO: Linda and I were at Route 66 25 years ago and it was the first track that I had seen in person where the cars came out under the tower. I was very impressed with the facility especially the dirt track beside the drag strip. They were in the process of building the mile and a half Chicagoland Speedway just across from the strip.
In qualifying it was good to see 21 Top Fuelers and 18 Funny Cars. Mike Salinas topped the chart in Top Fuel, Robert Hight in Funny Car, Jason Lee in Pro Mod, Dallas Glenn in Pro Stock, Gaige Herrera in Pro Stock Bike and Joseph Welch in Factory Stock. I was pleased to see that they have settled on a 16 car Factory Stock field rather than the previous ‘all run.’ Good move.
Round 1 of Top Fuel was brutal. Six upsets and 6 smokers out of 8 pairings. All told there were 11 upsets and 10 smokers while good guy Clay Millican won over Josh Hart.
Funny Car fared much better with only 2 upsets and 6 smokers. Tim Wilkerson won over Ron Capps.
Pro Mod had 7 upsets and 5 smokers with Jose Gonzalez topping Kris Throne in the final.
Pro Stock had 4 upsets and 6 smokers. Dallas Glenn came out of the number one spot to take out number two Deric Kramer in the final.
Pro Stock Bike had only one upset and number one qualifier Gaige Herrara won again this time over #2 Chip Ellis.
Factory Stock had five upsets and number 2 qualifier Lenny Lottig took out Doug Hamp in the final.
In the points Steve Torrence leads Justin Ashley by 35 in Top Fuel, Matt Hagan leads Alexis Dejoria by 58 in Funny Car, Justin Bond leads JR Gray by 41 in Pro Mod, Dallas Glenn leads Matt Hartford by 81 in Pro Stock, Gaige Herrara leads Matt Smith by 102 in Pro Stock Bike and Aaron Stanfield leads Lenny Lottig by 67 in Factory Stock.
Their next race is New England, Sunday, June 2.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Saturday’s qualifying session was cancelled due to the wet weather at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. I know it’s Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, but I’m old school, really old school and it will always be Mosport to me.
After all, I was lucky enough to have seen Formula One, Can-Am, USAC Stock Cars and Champ cars waaaay back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
So the starting line up was ‘set by the rule book’. Hmm, using last year’s final points and not the points from this year? Interesting. This meant that last year’s champion Marc-Antoine Camirand started from the pole followed by Kevin Lacroix and D.J. Kennington.
Twenty-five cars took the green. Not sure what happened but my Race Center Live Timing went red at lap 11 and stayed there for over a long time. It was interesting to see a photo of winner Treyten Lapcevich in the Winner’s Circle on the Race Center page while the Live Timing still showed red at lap 11. Lapcevich came from 4th to win over Camirand and road race ace Gary Klutt.
In the points after two races (and two wins) Lapcevich leads Camirand by 12 and 3rd place Lacroix by 13.
Their next race is Saturday, June 10 at Autodrome Chaudière.
APC LATE MODEL SERIES: The APC Series was at Sunset Speedway this past weekend. Their scheduled Saturday race was bumped to Sunday by rain.
Hometrack star Danny Benedict won the 150-lap feature, one of the new extended event races that will see the competitors do more than the tour’s traditional 100 lappers.
Their next race is Flamboro, June 10.
ONTARIO SPORTSMAN SERIES: Rain shortened their race Friday night at Delaware for the CASCAR Reunion 100 lapper. Chad McGlynn started from the front row but lost the lead to Derek McCullough but then wrestled it back. At the flag, under misty conditions, it was McGlynn, a fast closing Sean Mangin and McCullough.
Their next race is Full Throttle, Saturday, June 3.
SUPERSTAR RACING EXPERIENCE (SRX): Their season starts Thursday, July 13 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
DELAWARE SPEEDWAY: See above for the OSS report. In regular Delaware action, the Super Stocks completed two heats with Ryan Dyson winning Heat 1 and Chase Pinsonneault winning Heat 2. The inclement weather caused the event to be cancelled after the Sportsman race.
Their next race is the King of the Hill, Late Models, V8 Stocks and Bone Stocks this Friday.
FLAMBORO SPEEDWAY: Their next big race is the Bill Zardo Sr. Memorial Saturday.
OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY: Their next big race is the Oakwood Transport Night this Friday.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Buxton): Their next race is regular racing this Saturday.
GRAND BEND SPEEDWAY: Their next race is regular racing this Saturday.
GRAND BEND MOTORPLEX: Their next race is the Canadian Sports Compact Series this Sunday.
ST. THOMAS DRAGWAY: Their next race is the ONDR and Can-Am Stock/Super Stock this weekend.
TORONTO MOTORSPORT PARK: The track hosted a Victoria Day event this past weekend. Their next big race is the Nitro Nationals July 2.
SHANNONVILLE DRAGS: Their first race is June 17 & 18, Nostalgia Weekend.
CAN AM STOCK/SUPER STOCK SERIES: Their season starts this weekend at St. Thomas Dragway.
Until next time…
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