In this week’s Motion Motorsport Report, Dave Mathers touches on F1, NASCAR in Sin City, IMSA at Road Atlanta, NHRA in the Lone Star State and more.
ODDS & ENDS: Apparently, Formula One ‘Godfather’ Bernie Ecclestone has been fined $820 million and sentenced to 17 months in jail, for tax evasion. But due to his advanced age (92) the jail time was suspended.
Canada’s very successful Pfaff Motorsports has announced that they are leaving Porsche to run factory-backed McLarens in next year’s IMSA GTD PRO class. And I thought this year was the last year for that class? They will, of course, do well.
The Formula One crowd is crowing about McLaren turning a 1.80 second pit stop. Then you realize it took TWENTY crew members to pull that off! Uh, about that ‘cost savings’ that the teams are working towards? I suggest leaving 75 per cent of the pit guys back at the shop. Yeah, the pit stops will be a little slower, but they’ll also be a LOT cheaper.
Bubba Wallace was complaining about the rules after last Sunday’s Charlotte Roval race. He blew the chicane and did NOT come to a complete stop, as the rules specify. His mistake, not NASCAR’s. If you don’t like the rules, don’t play the game.
It appears that Formula One doesn’t have a corner on the ‘track limits’ type of problem. NASCAR made a couple of calls at the Charlotte Roval race that were a little iffy. A couple of cars got bumped going into the chicanes and cut across without stopping, resulting in penalties and, of course, complaints. Easy fix – put a big honking Jersey Barrier in the middle of the chicane. Problem solved!!
NASCAR superstar Kyle Larson completed the Rookie Orientation Program last Thursday at Indy. He hit 219 mph on one of his 72 laps. He will be driving for Arrow McLaren in next year’s Indy 500 and then he will race in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. I’d say he has probably the best chance to win Indy of all the previous drivers to attempt ‘the double.’
Hmmmm – FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said last week that F1 teams have “no power” over Andretti joining and that it is a decision for the FIA and FOM. VERY interesting and hopefully good news!!
I hope and pray that the dreaded and universally detested Formula One ‘stewards’ were NOT watching the NASCAR races at Las Vegas, as they would have gone into FULL meltdown. Why? Most of the cars were violating their Mickey Mouse F1 ‘track limits’ by going below, WAY below, the line!! GOOD race car drivers CAN handle that!! LOL.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: Christopher Bell (Toyota) grabbed the pole for Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, ahead of Kyle Larson and William Byron, both in Chevs. Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez both had right-rear tire failures in practice, resulting in wrecks, and both had to start from the rear of the pack, in backup cars.
Things ran well until Lap 65, when Erik Jones had a right-rear flat tire bringing out a yellow. He didn’t hit anything. Larson won Stage 1. Uh, oh, – ‘restart under review’!! Hmm.
A.J. Allmendinger got a stop-and-go penalty for ‘laying back’ on the restart!!
On Lap 112, Carson Hocevar blew a right-rear tire and hit the wall for a yellow. On Lap 143, Larson got WAY up on the cushion and scraped the wall with the right-rear, coming out of Turn 2; no caution. Three laps later, Alex Bowman got into the Turn 4 wall, similar to Larson, but he stopped on the inside of the track and jumped out of the car; caution. It didn’t appear to be a tire problem. Apparently his steering broke when he hit the wall and he thought it might have been a tire going down. Scary. Larson won Stage 2, even after his tank slapper.
On Lap 210, caution emerged when Chase Briscoe spun out from a flat right-rear tire. On Lap 217, Ty Gibbs lost a wheel and tire, after banging the wall. The loose wheel and tire took quite a trip down the race track, great camera work. Caution.
Elliott was tagged with a ‘restart violation’ on the following restart, the same as Dinger’s penalty. On Lap 240, Gibbs returned to pit road with more right-front tire problems; no caution.
Wow, what a finish! Larson won, but Bell was catching him by a tenth a lap and was 0.082 back at the line. Kyle Busch finished third.
In the points, Larson has clinched a spot in the Championship 4. Byron, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. are currently above the cut-line.
I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall in the NASCAR/Goodyear post-race meeting this week!! Tire problem? Crew problem? Tire pressure problem? Chassis problem? Track problem? Their next race is Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday on TSN 1 and NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: Josh Berry (Chev) won the pole for Saturday’s race at Las Vegas, over Cole Custer (Ford) and Sammy Smith (Toyota). Parity!!
Oh, WOW, the American national anthem being played on a violin!! How cool was that? And, of course, the mandatory Vegas Show Girls had to accompany Tabatha Burton, co-founder of the Ward Burton Foundation, as she gave the command to start engines. Only in Vegas!!
On Lap 4, Patrick Emerling brought out the first caution, as he did his best Exxon Valdez impression, killing all the mosquitos in the area!! On Lap 13, Joe Graf Jr. hit the outside wall for another yellow. Custer won Stage 1.
Just after the restart, Kaz Grala blew an engine and a bunch of cars got into the oil and bounced off the wall. Riley Herbst won Stage 2.
Believe it or not, the final stage went caution-free. Herbst (Ford), a Las Vegas native, got the win over John Hunter Nemechek (Toyota), who started last, and Custer. A very emotional win for the young driver!! His first career Xfinity Series victory.
Nemechek, Justin Allgaier, Austin Hill and Custer are currently above the cut-line. With Herbst not in the playoffs, a Championship 4 spot has not yet been clinched in the series. Their next race is Homestead-Miami, Saturday on TSN 3 at 3 p.m. ET.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES: Their next race is Homestead-Miami, Saturday on Fox Sports Racing at 12 p.m. ET.
FORMULA ONE: Their next race is Circuit of the Americas (COTA), in Austin, TX, Sunday at 2:55 p.m. ET on TSN 5 and ABC.
IMSA: The first thing I noticed was that IMSA had, once again, foisted the BRUTAL B announce team on us for the Petit Le Mans, while the U.S. audience got the A Team. Sad. Ten hours of watching the race in MUTE mode!!
Fifty-four cars were entered, made up of 10 P cars, nine LMP2, eight LMP3, eight PRO cars and 19 GTD entries, although only 52 cars showed up on the Live Timing screen.
The Acura of Taylor/Albuquerque/Deletraz won the P pole, Keating/Chatin/Quinn nabbed the LMP2 pole, Andretti/Chaves/van Berlo got the LMP3 pole, the Lexus of Hawksworth/Barnicoat/Kirkwood won the PRO pole, while the Aston Martin of DeAngelis/Sorensen/James grabbed the GTD pole and it was one spot ahead of the PRO car in the qualifying order.
The Pfaff Motorsports Porsche of Bachler/Pilet/Estre started fourth in the PRO class.
Two cars spun on the formation lap, even before they got to the green flag. Three minutes into the race and one of the formation lap spinners spun again, hitting the wall hard and bringing out a full course caution that lasted over 10 minutes. Several more ‘offs’ in the first half hour made me wonder how many green flag laps they would actually get. And there were a lot of penalties issued. Shades of F1?
An hour and 15 minutes in, another yellow waved after at least four cars got involved, with three ending up in the sand trap.
One of the cars was a Penske Porsche P and Nick Tandy was trying to get the car pushed back on track. However, all the track workers were clearly doing nothing other than standing around talking!!! Another 20-minute caution period to clean up the mess.
I love the elevation changes at Road Atlanta, similar to the ones at Road America and COTA. We need more circuits like that. And it was really cool to see the ‘door cars’ running nose to tail, lap after lap. Good stuff.
At about the two-hour mark, the BMW GTD car driven by Corey Lewis got involved with a bit of a battle by a couple of P cars and got punted into the bridge, bringing another full course yellow. Another almost 20 minutes for cleanup and back to racing. And the ‘penalty box’ was full!! Ah, club racing at its finest!!!!
At about the three-hour mark, Jarett Andretti beached it for yet another full course caution. And another 20-minute caution period. Have there been more yellow laps than green laps? And we just heard the name ‘Jeremy’ for a nauseating 100th time!! PLEASE make it stop.
Just after the four-hour mark, the class leading PRO Lexus driven by Ben Barnicoat had a major off, going through the grass, hitting a drain and tearing off its front end. This brought out another full course yellow. After another lengthy cleanup period, racing resumed.
Just after the five-hour mark, the PRO Corvette pulled off the track with an apparent ‘loss of power’ issue. Sad because this was the last race in IMSA for the factory Vette. This brought out a full course caution to retrieve the car.
At about the seven-hour mark, the LMP3 car of Thienes spun for another full course caution. After another 15-minute cleanup, they went back to green. With about two-and-a-half hours to go, the GTD Aston Martin of Andy Lally got a ‘little’ help in the corner and spun off onto the grass for another ‘full courser’!!
With an hour-and-a-half to go, Katherine Legge stopped on track in her GTD Acura for another full course caution. With an hour to go, Filipe Albuquerque brought out another full course yellow, when he got off track. For some reason, it took almost half an hour to clean up after that caution. With about 15 minutes to go, the Christian Rasmussen LMP2 car stopped at the top of the track, in a very precarious position, for another full course caution, the 12th at my count.
The green came out with five minutes to go. Less than 30 seconds after the green, a fire erupted in the GTD Porsche of Jan Heylen for caution 13 AND he grabbed a corner worker’s fire extinguisher and put out his own fire!! Well done.
And, fittingly, the race ended behind the pace car, a commentary on the whole race. Good, fast racing, with lots of passing.
At the flag, it was Colin Braun winning GTP in his Acura, while Daniel Juncadella won PRO in his Mercedes, with the Pfaff Porsche in second. Loris Spinelli won GTD in his Lamborghini. Ben Hanley won LMP2. Garett Grist won LMP3. Championships went to Alexander Sims/Pipo Derani in GTP, Ben Keating/Paul-Loup Chatin in LMP2, Gar Robinson in LMP3, Ben Barnicoat/Jack Hawksworth in GTD Pro, and Bryan Sellers/Madison Snow in GTD.
NHRA: The good news at Texas you ask? Full fields in all the Pro classes. Steve Torrence was quickest in Top Fuel, with a 3.636. Bob Tasca was tops in Funny Car, with a 3.822, followed by John Force, with a 3.823. Greg Anderson continues to shine, with a 6.480 in Pro Stock. Gaige Herrera had almost a tenth on the field in Pro Stock Bike, with a 6.627 (NEW National Record). Lenny Lottig was number one in Factory Stock, with a 7.610.
First round was UGLY!! Six of eight first round Top Fuel pairings had ‘traction problems,’ while seven of eight Funny Cars also had the same problems. And even Pro Stock, with three of eight experiencing problems.
Meanwhile, in round two of Top Alcohol Dragster, somebody’s wish came true. Angelle Sampey took out Tony Stewart after Tony, apparently, got out of the groove and had to lift. Let the jokes begin!! She had stated her goal was to beat Tony. Mission accomplished!! LOL.
Lenny Lottig won Factory Stock, beating Doug Hamp in the final; both in Camaros. Six upsets. Gaige Herrera won Pro Stock Bike over Eddie Krawiec, two upsets.
Erica Enders won Pro Stock, topping Dallas Glenn in the final; both in Camaros. Four upsets, three ‘loss of traction.’
Matt Hagan won Funny Car over a tire-smoking John Force. Six upsets and 10, yes, 10 ‘loss of traction.’ Leah Pruett beat Steve Torrence to win the Top Fuel final on a hole shot. Six upsets and eight ‘loss of traction.’
Pruett now leads Doug Kalitta by four and Steve Torrence by 13 in the Top Fuel points. Hagan leads Tasca by 36 and Robert Hight by 69 in Funny Car. Enders leads Anderson by 85 and Glenn by 93 in Pro Stock. Herrera has a 154-point lead on Krawiec and 174 on Matt Smith in Pro Stock Bike. In Factory Stock, Aaron Standfield leads Stephen Bell by 131 and Lottig by 212. Their next race is Las Vegas on Sunday, October 29.
PETERBOROUGH SPEEDWAY: Following a partial rainout, the Autumn Colours Classic concluded on Saturday. In the headline Electric City 167, APC Series regular Danny Benedict took the victory over NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion Treyten Lapcevich. Gord Shepherd, Billy Zardo, and Bobby Cousineau rounded out the top-five.
FLAMBORO SPEEDWAY: Their next race is the Halloween Enduro 250 on Saturday.
ST. THOMAS DRAGWAY: Their next race is the Pro Street 519 No Prep Race on Saturday.
TORONTO MOTORSPORTS PARK: Their next 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.