In this edition of Dave Mathers’ Monday Motormouth blog on InsideTrackNews.com, Dave touches on the passing of Sir Frank Williams and some upcoming racing events to watch, including F1 heading to Saudi Arabia this coming weekend.
SAD NEWS: The racing world is mourning the death of Sir Frank Williams, at age 79. Frank was, until recently, the team principal of the Williams F1 Racing Team.
He was involved in a horrendous car accident, in 1986, while driving back to an airport in France, after a testing session. The French hospital where he ended up, feeling that there was no hope, wanted to disconnect Frank’s medical support equipment.
But his wife Ginny would not let that happen. Bernie Ecclestone sent his personal jet to bring Frank back to England where he miraculously recovered and lived, albeit in a wheelchair.
Earlier this year, I read Ginny’s autobiography, ‘A Different Kind of Life,’ and gained a whole new appreciation for Frank. I highly recommend that book. The man overcame so much to stay in the sport and business that he loved. He will be missed.
FORMULA ONE: They race in Saudi Arabia (assuming the track is going to be ready) this weekend, and then Abu Dhabi December 12, the last race of the year. Lewis Hamilton has been closing the points gap on Max Verstappen the past few races and is within striking distance, in Saudi Arabia, if he continues to enjoy the performance advantage he’s had, of late.
IMSA: Returns with the ‘Roar Before the Rolex 24′ the weekend of January 21 – 23. The Rolex 24 Hour follows the next weekend January 27 – 30.
If you have not been to the Rolex, you MUST put it on your bucket list. I sat with Jack Roush on the pit wall at 3 in the morning in the 1995 race. We were both astounded that 70-year-old Paul Newman, driving car Jack’s Mustang #70, was running faster laps than Jack’s other drivers had during the race.
Paul climbed out of the car and said ‘Damn, that was fun!’ He did NOT look like he had just put in three hours!! AND the team won its class…. with a 70-year-old driver as a (big) part of the team!! Outstanding.
The entertainment in the infield is often greater than the on-track action. Talk about ‘Party Central.’ Huge bonfires, multiple drinking parties, old school buses with roof-viewing platforms, hundreds of scaffolding stands, million dollar motorhomes (they now have their own dedicated serviced spots beside the infield loop), people walking all around the edge of the track watching their favourite driver(s), virtually nobody in the grandstands, and lots and lots of bodies passed out on the grass having been ‘over served’!!
IndyCar: It appears that IndyCar will have more cars entered next year. And as a result, they are considering changing their qualifying format on their street and road course events. Expanding the ‘knock-out’ qualifying from two groups, to three groups, with the quickest three in each group advancing to the ‘Fast Nine’ as opposed to the existing Fast Six. A good way to ‘spice up’ qualifying.
NASCAR Cup Series: The next race for the Cup series is at, wait for it, the Los Angeles Coliseum. It will be the ‘Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum’, a non-points race on the tight little one quarter mile track.
The track could fit into the grassy area between the track and pit road at Daytona International Speedway!! The points racing will begin in earnest at Daytona on Sunday, February 20 at 2.30 P.M. I can hardly wait!!
NASCAR Xfinity Series: Their next race, the first for the 2022 season, will be at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 5 P.M.
NASCAR Camping World Trucks: The next race for the series is at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 18, 2022 at 7.30 P.M., the first race on next year’s schedule.
NHRA: They return to action on the weekend of February 20 for the Winternationals at Pomona.
Did You Know….
– Pirelli has acquired a ‘nifty’ little machine to test traction limits on racing surfaces. It has two back wheels and a slightly smaller single front wheel and pushing it measures how much resistance goes against that front tire.
Apparently, at Qatar, they were able to discover that traction actually improved 28% after two practice sessions. Talk about ‘rubbering up the track!’ The machine is apparently used at cold climate airports to determine how slippery landing strips are for incoming aircraft.
Presently, the front tire is just a standard tire, but they have plans to create new tires out of the various compounds that they offer at each race. Cool idea.
F1 is moving from its tiny 13-inch tires/wheels to 18-inch units next year. That should create a steep learning curve for everybody – crews, engineers, drivers and especially Pirelli.
– Speaking of tires/wheels, it seems that the new single nut units for the 2022 NASCAR Cup ‘Next Gen’ cars can’t really accomplish what was hoped for. The idea was to speed up pit stops but fuel filling is the stumbling block and that can’t be sped up without jeopardizing safety. The good news, you ask? No more ‘missing lug nut’ penalties!!
Until next week!!