In this installment of Dave Mathers’ Motion Motorsport Report, Dave looks at the Indy 500, Coca-Cola 600, the Grand Prix of Monaco and several local racing events.
Further to the great NASCAR racing at North Wilkesboro, it appears that all the action was not just on the track. A couple of fans decided to get in a fight during the All-Star Race, with the result that one of the combatants was ‘shown the door.’
And immediately following the race, somebody hacked into the radio frequency of second-place finisher Bubba Wallace and told him to, “Go back to where you came from you a$$hole,” and “You’re not wanted in NASCAR.”
NASCAR is now reportedly investigating the incident.
Has anybody else noticed that this is the third year in a row where there have been no Formula One races held in Germany? The home of one of the most famous racetracks in the world – the ‘Ring’ (Nurburgring) – as well as several other legendary facilities such as Hockenheim. Why is that?
Ah, the Indy 500!! Long in history, tradition and fame. One of the top three races in the entire world. Purists would claim it is the top race.
The Sunday before the race was long in drama. Graham Rahal ended up in the 34th (and out) spot by the slimmest of margins. But someone else’s bad luck became good luck for Rahal.
Stefan Wilson was qualified for the race but he was involved in a wreck with Katherine Legge during a Monday practice session. Wilson’s injuries, a broken vertebra, prevented him from racing the 500 so Rahal was tagged to take his place.
Graham has run Hondas for his entire career but this move put him in a Chevrolet. My question is why would any team risk damaging their car by practicing on Monday? Strange.
I thought I was seeing things when watching practice, qualifying and the race at Monaco. In the ocean beside the ‘American Casino’ there were a bunch of new buildings that weren’t there last time we visited Monaco.
So, I went to Google Earth Pro and sure enough the Street View shots from 2010 showed no buildings there just open water. But the overhead shots show a bunch of huge high rises and smaller buildings. Amazing engineering. After all they had run out of space there years ago and every piece of land had buildings.
Sadly another ‘entertainer’ butchered the American National Anthem on the weekend. ‘Jewel,’ in front of 300,000 spectators at Indy, delivered a tortured version just before the start of the Indy 500. Sad.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: Rain caused the postponement of the race until Monday at Charlotte. So, with qualifying rained out NASCAR used their ‘concise and clear’ ‘qualifying metric’ system to establish the starting order.
That put fifth points guy William Byron on the pole followed by third points place Kevin Harvick and eighth place points guy Brad Keselowski. Points leader Ross Chastain started fourteenth!! Well, that makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Nothing to see here, move along!!
Unlike the Indy 500, NASCAR had a military member sing the National Anthem the way it is supposed to be sung. And she had a voice like a bird!! VERY well done.
Similar to the start of the Xfinity race, earlier, the weather for the Cup race was not promising, overcast and dark. The first yellow flew at lap 36 and it was the competition caution. On lap 75 Jimmie Johnson spun for a caution. Byron won Stage 1.
On lap 104 two of three Legacy cars, Erik Jones and Noah Gragson, hit the pits both suffering radiator damage and both end up in the garage. On lap 157 the rain returned!!
The rain delay lasted about half an hour but there was some entertainment in the pits when Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace were arguing and then Aric pushed Bubba!
Not long after the restart, Johnson spun again, apparently from a flat right front. On lap 176 Busch got tapped and spun into Keselowski for a yellow. He then backed down the inside of the track!! Not sure what that was all about.
On lap 186 Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott appear to get together on the back straight then really get together a half lap later taking both cars out. Lots of blame to go around there!! Chris Buescher won Stage 2.
On lap 232 Christopher Bell spun off 4, went through the infield without stopping but they still ‘put it out’!! Coming out of the pits, Busch pulled out to miss Chastain and hit Truex but all three kept going. On lap 275 Keselowski appeared to get loose and into Todd Gilliland causing Todd to spin for another yellow. Ryan Blaney won Stage 3.
On lap 343 Michael McDowell who just pitted lost a wheel in turn 2 for another yellow. I see fines and suspensions in that team’s future!!
On lap 357 Kevin Harvick slid off 4 up into Tyler Reddick spinning Kevin for a caution. Four laps later Ricky Stenhouse bumped A.J. Allmendinger who then slid up into Harrison Burton with the latter two spinning.
On lap 369 Austin Cindric got tapped from behind and went spinning down off the track missing everybody. On lap 375 Kyle Larson got loose in the middle of the pack and collected Logano, Gibbs and Bell.
At the flag it was Ryan Blaney (in a green/red racecar??) over Byron and Truex!! Ford, Chev, Toyota!! More parity. And another BIG weekend win for Roger Penske!! And it only took 4 hours 58 minutes and 49 seconds – that rounds to FIVE hours!!
Blaney, emulating his Penske teammate Josef Newgarden at Indy, dove into the crowd in the grandstands!! And the crowd went wild!!
Memo to Jimmie Johnson – fahgetaboutit!! You are destroying your ‘legacy’ at Legacy!!
In the points, Chastain has a slim one point lead on Blaney and four points on Byron.
Their next race is Gateway, Sunday on TSN 5 at 3.30 P.M.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Just like the Cup Series, rain caused the postponement of the race until Monday at Charlotte. Unlike Cup, the Xfinity cars were able to qualify resulting in Justin Allgaier (Chev) getting the pole ahead of John Hunter Nemechek and Ty Gibbs both in Toyotas.
Monday was Groundhog Day all over again as the rain returned after only 25 laps at about the same time as the previously scheduled Competition Caution to check tire wear on the green track. After about half an hour the green came back out. Ty Gibbs picked up the Stage One win.
The track dryers came out before the start of the Second Stage. On lap 48 the race was red flagged and postponed until Monday morning. Oops, that didn’t work so it got rescheduled to after the Cup race. At almost 10 P.M. the race finally resumed with Gibbs out front. Gibbs also won Stage Two.
Things went smoothly until lap 128 when Sam Mayer looped it in corner 2. On the subsequent pit stops Josh Berry and Sheldon Creed got together on pit road. Everything calmed down and they ran caution-free to the flag. Justin Allgaier got the victory over Nemechek and Cole Custer. The race took three hours over a three-day period!!
Their next race is Portland, Saturday on TSN 3 at 4.30 P.M.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS: Tanner Gray (Toyota) nabbed the pole for the race at Charlotte over Ty Majeski (Ford) and Corey Heim (Toyota). Canadian Stewart Friesen (Toyota) qualified fifth.
Heim won the caution free Stage One. Carson Hocevar won the similar caution free Stage Two. On lap 81 Armani Williams spun coming off corner four and hit the inside pit wall very hard.
On lap 91 Zane Smith appeared to get loose and spun across the track collecting Hailie Deegan. Both trucks were able to continue. The final yellow flew on lap 105 when Kris Wright got sideways and was hit by Tyler Ankrum.
At the flag it was Ben Rhodes for the win over Heim and Dean Thompson. Friesen finished 22nd. In the points Heim leads Majeski by 26 and Smith by 43.
Their next race is Gateway, Saturday on Fox Sports Racing at 1.30 P.M.
FORMULA ONE: Martin Brundle never fails to amaze me. Friday he was standing on the ACTIVE racetrack at the chicane not ten feet from the race cars at Monaco. And Croftie tried to say that he was behind the retaining wall? Uh, no, he wasn’t.
In qualifying it was Red Bulls bookending the field!! Max Verstappen pulled the gun out of the holster in the closing seconds of Q3 and just nipped Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin by less than a tenth and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari by just over a tenth.
Max’s teammate Perez spanked the wall in Q1 and started DFL. Lance Stroll qualified 14th. Max admitted to bouncing off a couple of walls on his pole run. I don’t think he was the only one!!
The start, surprisingly, was drama free and everybody got through the first corners with no ‘incidents.’ A few laps in, Stroll attempted a pass on Nico Hulkenberg but was not successful ending in a flat tire.
Several laps later Sainz tried a ‘Hail Mary’ pass coming down from the Casino Tunnel on Esteban Ocon that, similarly, failed and resulted in a damaged left front wing. He did not pit but carried on with his damaged car.
On lap 38 Stroll made contact with Kevin Magnussen causing a little damage to his Aston Martin. Things got busy when the rain arrived just before the 50-lap mark. Cars appeared to be running nose to tail as nobody wanted to try and pass on the wet surface!!
Magnussen slid into the wall on lap 58. Needless to say, chaos ensued with the track getting wetter and wetter! And the poor stewards had to assess so many ‘incidents’!! LOL
Stroll was the first car out on about lap 62. With ten to go it was basically just a parade on track as nobody wanted to attempt passes.
In the end it was Verstappen over Alonso and Ocon. Stroll ended up dead last. In the points Verstappen leads teammate Perez by 39 and Alonso by 51. Red Bull leads the Constructor’s Championship by 124 over Aston Martin and by 125 on Mercedes.
Their next race is Spain, Sunday at 8.55 A.M. on TSN 1 & 5
INDYCAR: The weeks of build up and hype for the ‘Biggest Spectacle in Motorsport’, aka the Indianapolis 500, finally ended with the race starting under Chamber of Commerce weather in front of the 300,000 + fans in attendance. Alex Palou continued his strong season by taking the pole ahead of Rinus VeeKay and Feliz Rosenqvist. Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco started 26th.
The drama for Graham Rahal continued. He had missed qualifying for the race by the smallest of margins but was called in to replace Stefan Wilson who was injured in the Monday practice session getting nailed by Katherine Legge. Rahal’s battery died on the parade laps and he lost two laps while the crew went back to their pit box to retrieve the spare battery.
On lap 80 Helio Castoneves had a ‘tank slapper’ but was able to save it. The race had been green up to that point. At lap 92 the first yellow came out for Sting Ray Robb (do they call him Sting or Ray??) who spanked the wall in 4. There had been some drama before the Robb incident when cars were pitting.
VeeKay came out of his pit box and accelerated too soon, spinning sideways and hitting pole sitter Palou. Both cars were able to finish albeit with Palou sporting a new nose piece. The ‘conga lines’ continued with the cars sometimes getting four-wide!!
On lap 150 Romain Grosjean brought out the yellow when he too spanked the wall in 4 possibly due to the ‘marble’ buildup in the corner.
The video of the ‘mosh pit’ was mind boggling. Thousands of people dancing in a fenced in area. At a car race? Really?
On lap 184 Felix Rosenqvist hit the wall in between 1 and 2. Unfortunately coming back down he collected Kyle Kirkwood with the latter getting upside down. An errant rear wheel from Kyle’s car jumped the wall and hit the hood of a white Cruz in the Corner 2 parking lot (it had to be towed). And in typical mass media mania the major ‘news networks’ only covered the flying wheel incident!! Both drivers were okay. This brought out the red flag.
The green came back out with eight laps to go. And the excitement ‘hit the chip’!! Third place Pato O’Ward tried to go under Ericsson and touched the grass causing him to spin out. This collected Augustin Canapino and Simon Pagenault and brought out the second red flag.
The green came out with four to go BUT the yellow came right back out as a wreck involving three cars at the back of the pack and a THIRD red flag came out. Instead of just letting them finish under yellow? Really? Involved in the melee were Pederson, Rahal and Carpenter.
With one lap to go, the green came out (what, no green/white/checker?) and Josef Newgarden pulled away winning for his car owner, track owner and series owner Roger Penske. Well done.
Marcus Ericsson finished second with Santino Ferrucci (A.J. Foyt’s driver with the wild hair!!) third giving A.J. his best Indy 500 finish in 23 years. Defrancesco finished a very respectable 13th. Newgarden actually did not pull a ‘Helio’ by climbing the fence but rather climbed through a hole in the catch fence and right up into the crowd of happy spectators!!
The points battle has tightened up with Palou leading Ericsson by 20 and O’Ward by 34.
Their next race is the street race at Detroit, Sunday at 3.30 P.M. on NBC.
IMSA: Their next race is Detroit, Saturday & Sunday, June 2 & 3 both on REV TV at 5 P.M.
24 HOURS OF LEMANS: Saturday, June 10 & Sunday, June 11.
NHRA: Their next race is New England, Sunday at 7 P.M. on Fox Sports Racing.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: Their next race is Saturday, June 10 at Autodrome Chaudière.
UNITED RACING SERIES: Two of their classes raced Saturday night at Flamboro Speedway. The OSCAAR Modifieds had 18 entries and the popular OSCAAR Hot Rod class had 21 show up. In the Mods, Heat 1 was won by the dominant car of Andy Kamrath, Heat 2 by Bryan Batty, Heat 3 by Kamrath and the 4th heat by TJ Edwards. The feature was won, nay, dominated by Kamrath followed by Jason Keen and A.J. Emms.
The Hot Rods had the usual collection of 50+ year old Mustangs, Camaros, Chevelles, Pontiacs, Novas, etc. and even a ‘56 (I think) Packard!!
I love the class. Heat 1 was won by Dalen Martin, Heat 2 by J.R. Fitzpatrick in one of the two ‘Bookmobiles’, Heat 3 by Rob Bromley and Heat 4 by Tyler Hawn. Cole Weber won the main followed by Martin and Steve Book in the other ‘Bookmobile’!!
The series next race is Flamboro, June 10.
ONTARIO SPORTSMAN SERIES: Their next race is Full Throttle, Saturday.
SUPERSTAR RACING EXPERIENCE (SRX): Their season starts Thursday, July 13 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
DELAWARE SPEEDWAY: The weather gods were much kinder Friday at Delaware. Once again, the crowd favourite Bone Stocks put on another great show. Colin Willems won Heat 1, Craig Cole won Heat 2 and Jay Cox won Heat 3. Kassy Howard won the Last Chance race and in the main Phil Givens won ahead of Jeremiah Rabideau and Cox.
Once again Jason Lovie had problems. Similar to two weeks ago he dropped out of both his heat and the LCQ. The last one sounded a lot like a blown motor going into corner one.
The V-8 Stock class continues to grow with ‘barn find’ stockers being brought back to life. One of the cars had last raced at Toledo in 2016. There were two main events for the class the first one the rain out from the prior week.
Steve Book, who was seen running around the pits looking for a piece of wire to replace the ignition wiring on his car prior to the race start, won the first race followed by Doug Stewart and Paul Fothergill. The second feature was won by Fothergill ahead of Book and Kyle Metzenberg.
The Late Model heats were won by Marc Jacobs and Ray Morneau who definitely fixed the problems experienced in his last race.
Interestingly there were three, count ’em, three cars sporting the #22 in the second heat.
The feature saw Brandon Vanderwel climb the front straight wall and flip over on his roof on lap 6. He climbed out uninjured and the safety crew were able to get the car back onto its wheels. At the flag it was Connor Pritiko followed by Kyle Steckly and Morneau.
In the Late Model points, Pritiko has an 8 point lead on Gary Adriaensen and 9 points on Morneau. In the Bone Stocks points Givens leads Rabideau by 3 and Matt Langford by 12. The V-8 Stock points show Fothergill 6 points up on Metzenberg and 8 points ahead of Stewart.
Their next race is the Late Model 75 lapper and the Super Stock 50 lapper this Friday.
FLAMBORO SPEEDWAY: Their next big race is the APC race Saturday, June 10.
OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY: Their next big race is the Renway Energy 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 (DRAGWAY): 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: 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 runs this weekend at Grand Bend Dragway.