FIRST THING: This past weekend probably had more crashes – at the various races – than any weekend I can remember in the past. VERY expensive wrecks for a lot of teams. But, hey, that’s racing!!
24 HOURS OF LEMANS: Thanks to the wonderful hybrid Discovery/Velocity (Rogers 534), we were able to see ALL 24 hours of the legendary race.
It appeared, at the start, that they should have been racing Arks! Heavy, heavy rains caused the field to run two extra parade laps behind the pace car. But when the green flag did come out, carnage immediately ensued.
I have to say right up front that I was not impressed with the new broadcast format. Listing only the car number and not the driver/car make was not helpful to the viewers.
As well, it seemed to me that there were far more ‘offs’ than usual. It looked like the loaders were busy removing cars the entire race.
The #98 Aston Martin really hammered the tire barriers about four hours in but the driver, Marcos Gomes, was okay. The car, not so much.
Finally, after years of frustration, Toyota (Gazoo Racing – great name!) avoided their previous problems and finished first and second in the big race.
Once again it appears that the sanctioning body wants to confuse the fans. LMP1 is now Hypercar! Wow. There is still, after all, an LMP2 class!! And in the full bodied classes, the titles are getting longer – LMGTE PRO and LMGTE AM!!
An Oreca won LMP2, an Oreca won ‘Innovative,’ a Porsche finished ahead of the Corvette in LMGTE PRO and a Ferrari won LMGTE AM. Having said that, I really enjoyed the race. The in-car cameras were amazing, the lighting throughout the night really made the cars easier to see and the overall race was well presented.
NASCAR CUP SERIES: They were at Michigan International Speedway yesterday. But sadly, the usual LARGE contingent of Canadians was not there. And, in a touch of sadness, they sang the Canadian national anthem in the introductions!!
Wow, where to start? What a race THAT was. People complain that oval races are boring. Not this one. Five-wide? You’ve got it.
Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott led the most laps but Ryan Blaney held everybody off after the last restart and won by the closest margin since electronic timing was instituted at MIS – .077 seconds over William Byron with Kyle Larson just a hair behind in third.
Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski got together at the end of Stage 2 just past start/finish with Dillon hitting the wall hard putting him on the trailer.
Larson leads Denny Hamlin by 28 points and Kyle Busch by 166. Those points will reset after this weekend’s race at Daytona as the Chase starts at Darlington’s night race on September 5.
I think it’s the first time that the pace car could actually run with the field – a C8 Corvette! Kudos to NASCAR for NOT ‘putting it out’ when Tyler Reddick spun with seven laps to go but was able to restart and continue. I smiled when the announcers called the stuff that had been sprayed in the top groove ‘resin.’ That was good old drag racing GLUE!!
XFINITY SERIES: They were also at Michigan International Speedway. MIS is fast, BAD fast. I realized this in October ‘68 when Linda and I attended the first race there, a USAC (IndyCar) race. I was there again in June 1969 when Fred Harris (Grand Bend co-owner), the Lackey brothers and I went to the first NASCAR race where Leroy Yarbrough hit the wall in Turn 1 on the last lap and drove all the way around against the fence to the start/finish line.
The crowd loved it. When the cars came across in front of us on the initial green, Freddy jumped at least a foot in the air right beside me. We still joke about that.
The track is wide enough that they can run three, four even five-wide. That contributes to some great racing, and Saturday was no exception, great racing throughout and several wrecks.
The restart for Stage 2 collected some of the top runners. Points leader Austin Cindric got caught up in the accident and finished 37th after starting from the pole.
AJ Allmendinger, on a huge roll right now, won the race over Brandon Jones and Noah Gragson. Austin Cindric continues to lead the points by 35 over Allmendinger and 150 over Justin Allgaier. Alex Labbé started 13th, got involved in one of the accidents and finished 31st.
CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: The Trucks dropped into World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, in St. Louis, on Friday night at part of a doubleheader with IndyCar.
Sheldon Creed absolutely dominated the race leading 142 out of 163 laps. He was, at times, a full straightaway ahead of the pack. That type of dominance is quite rare these days.
Matt Crafton finished second with Ben Rhodes third. Stewart Friesen was fourth. John Hunter Nemechek leads the playoff points, which restarted with this race, with Creed now only two points back, Rhodes 3 back and Crafton 22 behind. Friesen is a strong fifth just 24 points out of the lead.
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES: They will run on the ICAR Circuit at the old Mirabel Airport north of Montreal this Saturday.
NHRA: The tour dropped into beautiful Brainerd International Raceway, in Minnesota (there’s a lake just east of the track!). Sadly, the entry numbers were low in the Pro categories probably due to COVID and distance.
I hadn’t realized before what a stronghold Minnesota was for Stock and Super Stock cars. 31 of the 60 Stockers came from the state and 25 of the 45 Super Stockers were locals, as well.
In Top Fuel – with only 11 entries – Steve Torrence continued to dominate besting Clay Millican in the final. Funny Car saw Matt Hagan win again, this time over veteran Cruz Pedregon.
Pro Mod only had 7 entries (where was Mike Janis who posted he was testing at Martin on his way to Brainerd?). Jose Gonzalez beat Brandon Snider in the final.
The Mountain Motor boys made an appearance where JR Carr defeated John DeFlorian, Jr. in the final. Steve Torrance leads Brittany Force by 383 points in Top Fuel but that will change after the Indy Nationals in two weeks when the regular season points are erased.
The Countdown starts at Reading September 9-12. Matt Hagan leads Funny Car by 15 points over both Bob Tasca and JR Todd with John Force 1 back of those two. Next race will be the Indy Nationals, September 1 – 5. I wish I could BE THERE!!
FORMULA ONE: After a few weeks off, they’re back at it, at Spa, this weekend.
IMSA: They’re off until September 12 at Laguna Seca, California.
INDYCAR: The IndyCars visited World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in St. Louis Saturday night. The 1.25-mile track has put on some great racing over the years and this race did not disappoint.
Here, again, the carnage was heavy. Points leader Alex Palou got collected in a wreck on lap 64 and lost the points lead to Pato O’Ward, who finished second to race winner Josef Newgarden.
Polesitter Will Power ended up third. One head scratcher during the race occurred when the starter waved the green flag on a restart while the yellow track lights stayed flashing. The spotters were in full panic mode!! And the ‘conga lines’ going down the straightaways were very entertaining. LOL.
Dalton Kellett started 24th and finished a very strong 12th, a fact commented on several times by the announcers. James Hinchcliffe started 19th and finished 15th.
ST. THOMAS DRAGWAY: The Sparta track hosted the Big Rig Nationals on the weekend and had a ‘sold out’ crowd with hundreds of trucks in the park. Great show!
GRAND BEND MOTORPLEX: They also had a great weekend with their BIG buck bracket race. Both tracks had a problem with ‘moisture’ on Sunday.
DID YOU KNOW?
– It has been 45 years since Pinecrest Speedway closed. Sure doesn’t feel that long, does it?
– Sixty years ago, Mosport began operations. I still remember hearing and watching the USAC stockers thundering up the back straight and getting air at the top of the hill in the Kawartha 250s. Plus F1 races, Can-Am (ground pounders!!), CASCAR and IMSA doing battle there. Awesome legacy!
– It appears that Michael Andretti is taking a hard look at buying a Formula One team!! His first choice was Haas F1 but that hasn’t gone very far. Now he is talking with two teams owned by investment companies, Alfa Romeo Sauber and Williams. Two teams that have great histories but have not been able to run with the big boys these days. Stay tuned.
– How about Miguel Cabrera hitting his 500th home run for Detroit in Toronto!!? The crowd loved it!
Until next week!!