Each week I will have some thoughts on some of the weekend’s racing events:
1. The IndyCar race in Toronto on Sunday featured some competitive racing and strategy, as rain played a factor early on in the event. Barber winner Josef Newgarden pulled away for his second win of the season and Luca Filippi completed a 1-2 for CFH Racing at the Exhibition Place circuit. The top six spots were taken by Chevrolet-powered cars.
The manufacturer has dominated this year, with eight wins to Honda’s two. The disparity is obviously a major concern for a series which has seen immense competition since the unveiling of the DW12 chassis three years ago. Here’s hoping that Honda can improve during the off weekend before Fontana, or at least by the end of the season.
2. After several rain delays, the Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan was called 63 laps short of the finish and Kurt Busch nabbed his second win of the season. Kudos to NASCAR and everyone at MIS for their work to get the race in despite the weather.
With an off week before heading to the road course at Sonoma, one thing that NASCAR should continue looking at is this year’s aero/engine package. This year, 125 horsepower has been removed from the cars via a tapered spacer on the engine and have reduced the size of the rear spoiler to reduce downforce.
However, there has been chatter about the lack of passing. From what many drivers and other observers have noted, perhaps it may best for NASCAR to take even more downforce out and bring the horsepower back up, forcing drivers to lift in the corners. Changes are rumored to be in play when the series goes to Kentucky on July 11, so there is hope that NASCAR can fix the problem.
3. For anyone that has watched Xfinity and/or Camping World Truck Series qualifying at some of the bigger tracks, you probably have noticed that drivers will often sit and wait on pit road until there is only enough time left for one lap.
Although this practice does add some drama and intensity to qualifying, it can get frustrating for the viewers, both on TV and in person. NASCAR ought to look into shortening the qualifying times for the rounds at these tracks.
Doing so would create a sense of urgency and take away the gamesmanship of qualifying while perhaps even adding more drama.
Although there could be issues with implementing this, it would be better than a qualifying session like Saturday morning where eventual race winner Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott had their times disallowed because they did not make it back to the line before time expired. Elliott would have had the pole with a track record time, but the two started 11th and 12th instead. A shorter session would force the drivers onto the track earlier and not run the risk of being unable to record a lap.
4. After seeing the dominant trucks of Erik Jones and Matt Crafton taken out of contention, Cole Custer took advantage of Tyler Reddick missing a shift on the final restart and went on to win the Truck Series event at Gateway. The two races in the series’ return to the Madison, Illinois venue have both produced some good racing. Perhaps it may be time to look into getting the Xfinity Series to return to the track as well.
5. After a five year winning streak by Audi, Porsche found its way to the top step of the podium for the first time since 1998 and finished 1-2, with the team of Nico Hulkenberg, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy taking the win. Chip Ganassi Racing also announced that they will enter the WEC and Tudor Series with Ford GT, nearly 50 years after the manufacturer’s win in the race with Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt. The success of Porsche and the addition of Ford should make the sports cars series exciting to watch in the future.
Have a great week everyone