FORMULA ONE: Max Verstappen, in his Red Bull, put on a clinic at the company-owned Red Bull Ring in Austria, winning the pole, setting fast lap and winning the race to continue his recent dominance of the sport.
Valtteri Bottas finished second in his Mercedes, while Lando Norris ended up third in a McLaren, impressing me with the improvements in Team McLaren.
Max leads Lewis Hamilton – who finished fourth – by 32 points in the Driver’s Championship while Red Bull is a stout 64 points ahead of Mercedes in the Manufacturer’s battle. Stroll finished 13th and Latifi was 15th.
NASCAR: It would appear that Chip Ganassi has decided to focus on his IndyCar and Sports Car programs as he is selling his team to Justin Marks and recording star ‘Pitbull’ Perez with the deal to close at the end of this season.
The team’s three current drivers, Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain will be ‘considered’ for next season. This, in my opinion, is a very smart move by Chip.
The Xfinity division raced at the LONG and legendary Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Kyle Busch beat Daniel Hemric and Michael Annett in a very exciting race.
Lots of spinouts and LOTS of damaged race cars. The camera work was amazing, especially the helicopter shots. Austin Cindric continues to lead the points over A.J. Allmendinger and Daniel Hemric. Canadian Alex Labbé finished 21st and sits 18th in points.
The Cup cars returned to Road America for the first time in – wait for it – 65 years. And what a race! Cars spinning, cars wrecking, teammates taking out teammates, something for everybody!!
It’s a good thing that NASCAR doesn’t ‘Track Limits’ at its road courses or everybody would have been penalized. LOL
Chase Elliott continued his road course expertise over Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch (brother Kurt Busch was fourth). Denny Hamlin has a slim three-point lead over Kyle Larson with the surprising William Byron in third.
NHRA: Next race at Denver on July 16 – 18; the start of their western swing.
IMSA: I stand corrected!! Reader Randy Lidkea, and a member of our weekly Thursday morning Bored Meeting, points out that IMSA is in fact being broadcast here in Canada on our wonderful hybrid channel, Discovery-Velocity, available on Rogers.
In the Six Hours (Weather Tech 240) at Watkins Glen, the duo of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani won in the Whelan Engineering Cadillac Prototype over van der Zande and Magnussen in Chip Ganassi’s Cadillac with Taylor and Albuquerque third in an Acura.
Olivier Pla got spun going into Turn 1 on the very first lap but recovered to finish sixth. There was a 45-minute delay for lightning. Keating and Jensen won LMP2, Garcia and Taylor won GTLM in a Corvette, while Telitz and Hawksworth took GTD in a Lexus. I loved that they used the ‘long course’ down through the valley.
INDYCAR: Josef Newgarden got the win at Mid-Ohio on Roger Penske’s 50th anniversary in the sport, with Marcus Ericsson breathing down his neck over the last few laps and Alex Palou finishing third thus retaining the points lead over O’Ward and Dixon.
SRX: Ernie Francis, Jr. (I hadn’t heard about him until this series) won the Main in Saturday night’s event at Lucas Oil Raceway (it’s still IRP to me!) over Bobby Labonte and Scott Speed. Upcoming SRX races: July 10 – Slinger and July 17 – Nashville Fairgrounds.
AVION MOTORSPORTS RS1 SERIES: They start their season with a double header this weekend, July 8 and 10, at the magnificent Area 27 course in Oliver, B.C.
DID YOU KNOW?: Norris McDonald had a little ‘rant’ in his Opinion Column in the Saturday Wheels section a week ago. And guess who he was ranting about? How about Rogers?!!
My experience with Rogers, where I am a 53 year customer, is fairly similar. I lobbied Rogers HARD to get Fox Sports Racing and they did!!
So last year, I clicked on FSR Channel 409 and got, like Norris, a ‘Dear John’ notification that I can no longer get this channel. TILT.
In several conversations it turns out that they dropped FSR from my programming, but I could get it back if a I paid an extra $5.79/month or something.
So, of course, I asked if I had $5.79 taken off my bill when it was dropped. Nope.
Anyway, after some ‘spirited’ negotiations, it was reinstated. I would not want to leave Rogers as our two Canadian sports networks, TSN and SportsNet, are FAR superior to anything in the US and Rogers offers FSR. There, I said it!! LOL
Did you also know that Eddie Gossage has retired as head of Texas Motor Speedway? Gossage was trained by the master promoter himself, Humpy Wheeler, at Charlotte. Wheeler also trained Roger Slack who now manages Eldora for Tony Stewart.
In 1988, my wife Linda and I won a Ford dealer contest and we attended the Super Bowl in San Diego. During the week, we drove up to Riverside Speedway which had announced it was closing.
‘Coach’ Les Richter, the president of Riverside, had told me (Lee Morse of Ford SVO had introduced us in the garage at Daytona) he would let me drive around the track if I ever got there.
He let us and we did drive around it. My son Rob and I went to a World of Outlaws race at Perris (CA) Auto Speedway in 1996 and we stopped at Pomona to see Frank Hawley at his driving school and then stopped at the old Riverside site. Strip malls and houses!! Sad.
The same day we also visited the under construction site of California Speedway at Fontana. And who do we see but ‘Coach’ Richter who was involved with the new track.
‘Mathers, we are locking up in fifteen minutes, so be fast or get locked in’
We drove around the unpaved oval, marvelled at the silo onsite and then back out the gate. Later that year on the same three-month holiday Linda and I, with the dogs, drove up to the gate at the construction site for Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Here again we were able to get in and drive around the unfinished track. An interesting aside is that the state of Texas actually widened I-35W to three lanes both ways and built a big new cloverleaf for the track at the intersection of I-35W and the Northwest Connector at THEIR expense. (Ask Alec Pinsonneault how that well worked out for him with his proposed track near Comber, Ontario!!).
And finally, if your local racetrack has a big race upcoming let me know and I will be happy to mention it in an upcoming blog. firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next week!!
- Dave Mathers