In this edition of the Motion Motorsport Report, Dave Mathers talks about the NASCAR action in Kansas City, F1 Miami and more.
It was announced that Legacy Motor Club (Jimmie Johnson and Maury Gallagher) will be switching to Toyota next year. Legacy is the former Richard Petty team and, if memory serves, Petty has raced Dodges, Plymouths, Fords, Buicks, Oldsmobiles and most recently Chevs, so why not Toyota?
I must admit I’m rather shocked that seven-time would walk away from his long-time relationship with GM. I guess this is just another case of money talks?
Going forward, with most of the tracks already open for the year, we will be listing only the bigger events for some of the local tracks, starting next week.
NASCAR Cup Series: William Byron got the pole at Kansas Speedway, with Kyle Larson second and Ross Chastain third, all in Chevs.
Five laps in and the five car (coincidence?) of Larson got tapped by Tyler Reddick and spun down off track for the first yellow. The early laps saw all four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas running in the top-seven. In fact, Denny Hamlin won Stage 1.
On lap 108, Austin Cindric blew a tire and got into the wall in turn one for the second caution. On the way to pit road, his right-front tire and wheel came off; the wheel appeared to have one side broken off. On lap 139, Aric Almirola got loose on corner exit and spun down off track, without hitting anything, but bringing out a third caution.
On lap 149, Josh Berry got together with fellow rookie Ty Gibbs, spinning out in the process for a yellow. Erik Jones also spun with a flat tire. On lap 158, Christopher Bell spun after slight contact with Chastain, possibly cutting a tire, and came down track, hitting the inside wall hard for the fourth race caution. On the restart, the cars went four-wide, resulting in Kyle Busch getting bumped and hitting the inside wall. Joey Logano won Stage 2.
On lap 178, Ty Gibbs had the air taken off his car and he got into a tank slapper, hitting the inside wall. He had both front tires flat and some other damage. On lap 191, Harrison Burton had to lock up his brakes for Chris Buescher suddenly slowing in front of him and thus spun, bringing out yet another yellow. On lap 206, Noah Gragson spun, possibly due to a flat tire, for another yellow. On lap 215, Jones looped it trying to pass Almirola. With 15 to go, leader Larson touched the wall slightly, allowing second-place Hamlin to close the gap.
Oh, baby, what a last lap. Hamlin caught Larson and appeared to take the air off his car, causing Larson to slide up into the wall but he kept going. At the flag, it was Hamlin, Larson and Byron. In the winner’s circle, Hamlin admitted that he did in fact touch Larson.
In the points, Chastain leads Bell by 31 and Martin Truex Jr. by 36. Their next race is Darlington Raceway, Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on TSN 5.
NASCAR Xfinity Series their next race is Darlington, Saturday on TSN 5 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
NASCAR Craftsman Trucks: Christian Eckes grabbed the pole at Kansas Speedway over Kyle Busch and Chase Purdy, all in Chevs. Canadian Stewart Friesen (Toyota) started 14th.
Things went smoothly until lap 20, when Nick Leitz had a solo spin, resulting in a very long caution. Not sure what that was all about. Busch won Stage 1.
On lap 49, Kris Wright spun on corner exit for another yellow. Ty Majeski won Stage 2.
On lap 62, Ben Rhodes tangled with Busch for another caution. On lap 72, Rajah Caruth tried blocking Majeski, sending Caruth to the house. The big one happened on lap 78, when Matty D. (DiBenedetto) tried blocking Eckes, taking out both trucks, as well as Dean Thompson, Carson Hocevar and Purdy. On lap 92, Wright had a solo spin down onto the grass.
At the flag, it was Grant Enfinger over Corey Heim and Zane Smith – Chev, Toyota, Ford!! Friesen finished a strong fourth.
In the points, Smith is tied with Majeski, while Rhodes is third, 41 points down. Their next race is Darlington, Friday on Fox Sports Racing at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Formula One: The run of bad luck this year for Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc continued in Miami. In Free Practice 2, he stuffed it into the safety barriers in corner seven, damaging the nose. Then to try and top that, he did it again in Q3, with less than two minutes to go, causing both Max Verstappen and Valteri Bottas to not get a final timed run, making them start ninth and tenth. This gave the pole to ‘Checo’ Perez (Red Bull) over Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari). Leclerc ended up starting seventh. Lance Stroll had problems and started 18th.
It was interesting to watch Max pass, seemingly at will, three cars in the first six laps on the, reportedly, hard to pass track. By lap 10, he was up to fourth. By lap 16, he was second. That should put an end to the snide remarks about Miami being a track with no passing possible!! Verstappen had the lead by lap 21!! At the halfway mark of the race. it was Max, Checo and Alonso.
Perez and Verstappen swapped the lead, with Max regaining the top spot with ten to go. In the closing laps, Lewis Hamilton appeared to be on a mission. He had moved up from his 13th-place starting spot and actually picked up three more spots, up to sixth, with two to go.
At the flag, it was Verstappen over five seconds ahead of Perez, with Alonso third. Stroll got up to 12th. In the Driver’s Points, it’s Verstappen ahead of Perez by 14 and up by 44 on Alonso. In the Constructor’s Championship, Red Bull has a 122-point lead on Aston Martin and 128 on Mercedes.
The European ‘purists’ claim that Miami (and Vegas) are not good circuits, yet it didn’t appear that there were any incidents of cars hitting the wall(s), as at Baku.
I personally feel that the race was great thanks to Max putting on a ‘clinic’!! And the venue is awesome! Their next race is Italy on Sunday, May 21.
IndyCar Indy Road Course is up next, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on TSN+ and NBC. After that, the Indy 500 is on Sunday, May 28.
IMSA: Their next race is Laguna Seca, Sunday on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.
24 Hours of Le Mans: Saturday, June 10 & Sunday, June 11.
NHRA their next race is Route 66 on Sunday, May 21.
NASCAR Pinty’s Series: Their season starts Saturday at Sunset Speedway. Just days prior to the race, Doug Gonder was announced as the new series director of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. He previously served as assistant series director under Cherie Putnam, who retired at the end of last season.
Gonder, a London, Ontario native, first joined NASCAR as an official in 2012 focusing on technical inspection, including pit road, templates, car and engine. He was promoted to assistant series director in 2022. Prior to joining NASCAR, Gonder worked as an official in the ARCA Menards Series and at Delaware Speedway, where he started his career as a race official in 2005.
APC Series: Their season starts Saturday, May 20 at Sunset Speedway.
Ontario Sportsman Series: Their season starts Friday, May 19 at Delaware Speedway, with the CASCAR Reunion 100.
Superstar Racing Experience (SRX): Their season starts Thursday, July 13 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Delaware Speedway: Their season starts Friday.
Flamboro Speedway: Their season starts Saturday.
Ohsweken Speedway: Their season starts Friday, May 19.
Southern Ontario Motor Speedway (Buxton): Their season starts Saturday.
Grand Bend Speedway their season has started.
Grand Bend Dragway: Their season has started.
St. Thomas Dragway: Their season has started.
Toronto Motorsport Park: Their season has started.
Shannonville Drags: Their first race is June 17 & 18, Nostalgia Weekend.
CAN AM Stock/Super Stock Series their season starts Saturday, June 3 at Grand Bend.
Until next week…
- Dave Mathers