In an effort to dispel the image that Formula One has the WORST race direction on the planet (it DOES) the FIA’s Garry Connelly called a meeting with all 20 teams on Thursday night before the Mexican Grand Prix to discuss the driver’s concerns.
Only 8 showed up indicating how disillusioned the teams are about the situation. The meeting was meant as “striving for transparency” on behalf of the FIA.
Since Charlie Whiting died the series has been in free fall from a total and complete lack of leadership and proper race direction.
The stewards program is, without a doubt, the worst way to run a race in all of motorsports. Until that failed program is dropped things will not get better. And, as if things weren’t brutal enough already, the FIA wants to increase penalties next year. Further proof that you just can’t ‘fix stupid.’
Apparently NHRA doesn’t want F1 to have all the fun with their head-scratching officiating decisions. Hearing that the sanctioning body was concerned about exhaust header ‘measurements’ Bob Tasca took all his headers to the tech officials at Vegas on Thursday prior to the race.
Saturday, after qualifying, NHRA decided to ‘check the width’ and deemed that Tasca’s headers had a ‘width discrepancy.’ Huh? Bob said it best, “It’s their [NHRA’s] basketball court and their basketball. We just play here!!”
NASCAR Pinty’s Series and APC Late Model Series hotshoe driver Kyle Steckly entered the All American 100 at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday night. He finished a very strong fifth (apparently fourth ‘after tech’) on the tough track. Dylan Fetcho, the local favourite, won the race and the 2023 Nashville Pro Late Model Championship by one point.
Uh, oh, trouble on the range in Las Vegas. 35,000 casino workers have threatened to go on strike this week. That would include the week leading up to the Formula One race in Sin City. Smart timing? With a bunch of high rollers in town and almost every hotel fully booked I’ll bet an agreement can be reached quickly. Stay tuned.
It seems that even NASCAR is looking at Electric Vehicles and the rumour mill has them testing an EV at their R&D Center. Hmm! Maybe they’ll get the batteries from the plant that’s being built just one kilometer from our home here in St. Thomas, Ontario!! LOL
NASCAR’s final weekend of the 2023 season determined the champions in all three series.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: Qualifying for Sunday’s Championship Cup race at Phoenix Raceway saw points contender William Byron (Chev) win the pole ahead of Martin Truex (Toyota) and Kevin Harvick (Ford). Qualifying for the other points contenders saw Kyle Larson (Chev) in fourth, Christopher Bell (Toyota) 13th and Ryan Blaney (Ford) 17th.
It was really cool to see the Championship Trophy riding around the track in a glass case on the back of the Toyota pickup.
Things ran smoothly for Stage 1 which was won by Byron. Ouch, lap 109 and points contender Bell hits the wall hard after his brakes failed on corner entry. He had been complaining about his brakes for a while. The replay showed a right front rotor exploding sending parts and pieces onto the track. Chris Buescher won Stage 2.
With about 50 to go Blaney was dueling with Ross Chastain for the lead. NOT smart. At lap 275 Kyle Busch had a solo spin from the top of the track down to the inside wall but didn’t hit anything bringing out a caution. On the restart it was Larson second, Blaney third and Byron fourth. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Blaney win the Cup Championship after finishing second in the race behind Ross Chastain. Larson was third, Byron fourth and Bell was 3sixth. GREAT racing over the final 50 laps and the best part you ask? No ‘debris on the backstretch’ caution near the end. Well done.
And the better part? Three championships, three Fords!! I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall at some closed-door meetings this week!!
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Sammy Smith (Toyota) won the pole for the championship race at Phoenix Speedway Saturday ahead of Austin Hill (Chev) and John Hunter Nemechek (Toyota) the top qualified points contender. For the other contenders Cole Custer (Ford) started seventh, Justin Allgaier (Chev) eighth and Sam Mayer (Chev) 16th.
Good start – a high school band played the anthem instead of some wannabe C&W singer messing it up with their cringe-worthy ‘interpretation.’
The start was pretty sloppy, but the starter still allowed it. On lap 3 Allgaier slid up into Nemechek and spun. Caution. Nemechek won Stage 1. I love the way NASCAR Live Timing highlighted the four contenders. Good job.
On the restart on lap 8 Kyle Sieg spun after a little contact and hit the wall for another caution. On lap 86 Derek Kraus had a flat right front tire and hit the wall.
Caution. BTW – I love the caution lights that look like a cactus – they really show up at night. Cole Custer won Stage 2.
Sammy Smith had a fire on pit road and his rear tire changer was actually on fire. He just said, ‘put it out’ and then went back to work changing the tire. WAY cool move. On lap 102 J.J. Yeley got a big push from behind by Chris Hacker and hit the wall resulting in a flat right front tire. Caution.
On the restart the contenders were all in the top eight. On lap 137 Myatt Snyder got some serious wheel hop going into the corner and spun out. Caution. To add insult to injury Snider’s car had a fire on pit road.
With 30 to go all four contenders are running top four. On lap 181 Connor Mosack stopped on track after hitting the wall and then did a Ross Chastain imitation run right up against the wall. Hopefully they will be able to finish under green.
Restart with 12 to go. Custer, Allgaier, Nemechek, Mayer. Let’s hope the cactus stays green!! LOL Nope. Anthony Alfredo spun after a little help from Dawson Cram with 5 to go. Caution. Green/white/checker – overtime.
Nemechek over cooked corner entry sliding up and Custer gets the lead and the win. Sheldon Creed was second and Allgaier was third. Mayer was fifth and Nemechek showed as 28th?? Not sure what happened there with Nemechek. I found it strange that Custer mentioned Gene Haas a couple of times but he made no mention of co-owner Tony Stewart who was there at the track and watched the race from Cole’s pit box.
Interesting tidbit – that’s TWO championships for Ford in TWO days!!
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS: Points contender Corey Heim (Toyota) nabbed the pole for Friday night’s Craftsman Truck race at Phoenix Raceway. Ty Majeski (Ford) was second with Nick Sanchez (Chev) third.
Of the other three points contenders Ben Rhodes (Ford) qualified sixth, Carson Hocevar (Chev) was 13th and Grant Enfinger (Chev) was 17th. Canadian Stewart Friesen (Toyota) qualified 20th.
Five laps in and Stewart Friesen got hit by Derek Kraus who had slid high causing Friesen to spin for the first yellow. Ty Majeski won Stage 1.
On lap 56 Marco Andretti got together in corner 3 with Chris Hacker resulting in Hacker hitting the wall hard. Another caution. On lap 77 Tyler Hill has a solo spin coming out of Corner 2 for another yellow.
After watching the trucks go sometimes five wide it was bound to happen. Connor Jones rear ended Jack Wood on corner 3 entry spinning both trucks. It appeared that the two trucks got stuck together. I guess the safety crew didn’t know about throwing the old ‘pail of water’ on them trick? LOL
On lap 129 points contender Hocevar got into the left rear of fellow points contender Corey Heim in Corner 2 spinning Heim up and into Friesen. Yellow!! Why race control didn’t send Hocevar to the back of the pack escapes me. Hocevar restarted second but immediately dropped back to the mid teens for some reason.
With 20 to go it was Rhodes in third, Enfinger in fourth, and Heim 12th. On lap 129 Stefan Parsons, Daniel Dye and Bayley Currey tangled big time in 3 resulting in a bunch of oil on the track. The oil brought out the red flag setting up a 20 lap sprint race/trophy dash, a really BIG trophy!!
With ten to go it was Enfinger third, Rhodes, fourth, Heim sixth and Hocevar 14th. Very close racing. With 3 to go Hocevar got wrecked after got back up to the top ten. It appeared that Heim ‘might’ have had something to do with it!!
They also collected Taylor Gray who had been running up front. Meanwhile Enfinger and Rhodes were still running 3 and 4. Green, white, checker/overtime.
Derek Kraus gets into the wall in 4 for another yellow. Rhodes was up to second while Enfinger was back to ninth.
On the restart Rhodes got into Zane Smith, who missed a shift, and Jack Wood spun behind them for another yellow. More overtime. Is this becoming the Three Hours of Phoenix? LOL
Third overtime with Rhodes sixth and Enfinger 18th. Stupidity reigns supreme again. Another yellow!!!! Majeski came down to block Jesse Love and it was game on.
FOURTH overtime with Rhodes fourth, Enfinger 13th and Heim now back on the board in 18th. The SMART move would be to have a single file restart!!
Race winner – Christian Eckes, followed by Jake Garcia and Chase Purdy.
Championship winner – Ben Rhodes, finished fifth with Enfinger right behind him in sixth.
Time of the race – 2 hours and 30 minutes!!
In my opinion, only I believe that NASCAR does NOT respect their ‘employees’ – team owners, drivers and crews – due to the abject stupidity of having FOUR ‘overtime/green/white/checkers’ probably costing the teams over a million dollars in damaged and wrecked trucks. Come on NASCAR, you are better than that!!!
FORMULA ONE: Qualifying on Friday was delayed for about fifteen minutes for ‘debris on the track’ following P1 for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Surprisingly the cleanup was done ‘Manually’ as there was no sign of a power sweeper. LOL
Friday qualifying was stopped 4:19 minutes early due to VERY dark clouds. Not surprisingly Max Verstappen got the pole in his Red Bull followed by Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and, in a VERY pleasant surprise, Canadian Lance Stroll third ahead of Aston Martin teammate Fernando Alonso in fourth.
For Saturday’s Sprint Race Lando Norris (McLaren) got the pole ahead of the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Stroll started 17th. Not surprising Max beat Norris into Corner one on the initial start. The race featured a lot of really entertaining passes but no cautions, always a good thing. At the flag it was Verstappen over Norris and Perez with Stroll finishing 12th.
The crazy season for Ferrari continued as Leclerc hit the wall on the formation lap!! His car appeared to put out some smoke just before he spun. Strangely the outside lane did not move up to fill the spot left by Leclerc so Max sat up front all by himself. And, once again, the ‘best drivers in the world. Can’t get through the first corner!!
Alexander Albon and Kevin Magnussen tangled at the end of the front straight bringing out a full course caution. Safety car. Then red flag. From there the race ran drama free right to the checker.
On the last lap Alonso battled back and got around Perez even though Checo tried very hard to block him. The finish saw Max Verstappen get the win over Norris and Alonso. Stroll finished a very stout fifth. I must admit the Aston Martins surprised me with their performance.
In the Drivers’ Championship Max has more than double the points of his teammate Perez and is 266 points ahead of him and 298 up on Hamilton.
In the Constructors’ Championship Red Bull leads Mercedes by 400 and Ferrari by 420.
Their next race is Las Vegas, Sunday, November 19.
NHRA Their next race is Pomona, Sunday at 4 on Fox Sports Racing.
Toronto Motorsports Park their event race is Test & Tune, this weekend.
Any comments can be sent to Dave Mathers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by Facebook Messenger.