F1 Baku

Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku
Ricciardo wins and Stroll makes it to the podium

Sunday, June 25, 2017: In a race which saw three safety car sessions, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo won the race four seconds ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas – but Bottas just beat Canadian rookie Lance Stroll home by a margin of a tenth of a second, Stroll taking up the third step on the podium.

This makes Stroll the youngest driver ever to make the podium – and this in his first F1 season. Only a few weeks ago I was one of those who was wondering if, given his poor results to date, he would survive as a Williams driver after the Monaco GP. Now, two races later and with a ninth- and second-place finish in that time, the picture is completely changed for the young rookie driver.                                                                                                                        

In contrast to Ricciardo’s first GP win of the season here, his teammate Max Verstappen suffered another engine failure and retired after only 11 laps, his fourth retirement in the last six races.

During a safety car period, Sebastian Vettel became angry with Lewis Hamilton and deliberately banged into his car twice. The stewards took a dim view of this behaviour and gave Vettel a 10-second stop-and-go penalty. It is hard to see how this punishment matches the crime. Had it been my decision to make, I would have parked Vettel then and there. And if the FIA rules do not allow more of a penalty than the wrist slap given out, this needs to be changed.

The next F1 race is the Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring on July 9.

IndyCar Road Amedrica podium

Verizon IndyCar Series Kohler Grand Prix at Road America
Dixon scores his first Road America win

Sunday, June 25, 2017: Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon won the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America by a margin of 0.6 seconds over Penske driver Josef Newgarden – stretching his points lead to 34 points ahead of Simon Pagenaud (379 points to 345) with Helio Castroneves just three points further back.

Dixon took the lead from Newgarden on lap 31 of the 55-lap race and led 24 of the final 25 laps to win the race. Penske team drivers finished second through fifth: Newgarden, Castroneves, Pagenaud, and Will Power.

The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is at Iowa Speedway on July 9.

MENCS Sonoma HarvickBurnout 062517

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway
Kevin Harvick scores a dominant win after Truex’ Toyota drops out

Sunday, June 25, 2017: Martin Truex looked like he had the car to beat early on when he won the first stage in the 110-lap race but he lost a cylinder and the car finally gave up, leaving him with a 37th-place finish. Meanwhile, Kevin Harvick came on strong, leading the final 22 laps of the race on his way to the win.

Kasey Kahne wrecked going into the first turn on the final lap, bringing out the yellow – and when the race finished its allotted 110 laps under caution, Harvick, the leader at the time was declared the winner. And didn’t you think that NASCAR had declared that they would never again finish a race under caution? By my count this is the second time this year that a race has finished under caution like this.

Harvick’s teammate Clint Bowyer was second, Brad Keselowski third, Denny Hamlin fourth and Kyle Busch fifth.

The next MENCS race is July 1 at the Daytona International Speedway.

NXS Iowa Byron Checkered 062417

NASCAR Xfinity Series American Ethanol 250 at Iowa Speedway
A first win for Xfinity rookie Byron in Iowa

Saturday, June 24, 2017: : Last Saturday, William Byron lost the Xfinity race at MIS to Denny Hamlin by a matter of a few centimetres. This week, at Iowa, he emerged from the pack to lead them home in the final laps, winning the race by a 1.1-second margin over Ryan Sieg. Tyler Reddick was third, Ross Chastain fourth and Dakoda Armstrong fifth.

Christopher Bell had dominated the first part of the race, leading for 152 of the race’s 250 laps. And he was still leading when, on lap 220 he was caught up in an accident caused by that well-known driver Quin Houff. Bell had to go the pits for repairs and he was never again a factor in the race. Houff finished 12th.

This yellow had come in the middle of a sequence of green-flag pit stops which saw Byron take over the lead ahead of a number of cars that had gained advantage by the interrupted sequence of pit stops – before and after this yellow flew. There was another caution before the end, but the order of the front three, as established after the lap 230 restart, was unchanged.

The next Xfinity race is at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, June 30.

 NCWTS Iowa 349730

NASCAR Camping World Trucks M&M’s 200 at Iowa Speedway
Nemechek makes it two in a row with a win here in Iowa

Friday, June 23, 2017: Last week, John Hunter Nemechek won at Gateway Motorsports Park – but the team was on the ropes financially. Somehow, they got their act together and they had a truck ready to come to Iowa this week. He may have led only the six laps in this race but they were the critical final six laps – making him a winner again, the second time in as many weeks. What a Cinderella story!

Christopher Bell, who is running for the championship in this series, led the most laps – 99 of the race’s 200 laps. Johnny Sauter led for 72 laps but it did not work out for either one of them. Bell grabbed the lead early and he held it until the second caution on lap 115 – and he held the lead through the end-of-stage-two caution period. This involved a long session under yellow and then red while the track crews tried to clean up a massive oil spill on the track. Bell must have been caught out by this spilled oil and he fell to 12th by the end of this yellow/red caution period.

After this long interruption, it looked like Sauter had the race win in his grasp but that all changed when the race’s final caution flew with 13 laps to go to the finish. Sauter’s crew chief opted to leave him out without pitting – while everyone else behind came in for fresh tires. After the restart it Nemechek was able to charge past him and into the lead in a couple of laps – and he never looked back, taking the checker by a 1.7-second margin over Sauter.

Brandon Jones finished in third place, Grant Enfinger fourth and Christopher Bell had to settle for a fifth.

The next Camping World Truck Series race is at Kentucky Speedway on July 6.

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NASCAR Pinty’s Series CRS Express 300 at Autodrome Chaudiere
Lapcevich wins in overtime

Friday, June 23, 2017: It took ten laps of overtime but Cayden Lapcevich held off Alex Labbe to win here at Autodrome Chaudiere by a six-tenths of a second margin. It was his first win of the 2017 season.

L.P Dumoulin, who ran one of his strongest race of the season, finished third. D.J Kennington brought his car home in fourth-place, while pole winner Donald Theetge, who looked unstoppable in the early portion of the 300-lap event, wound up fifth.

Kevin Lacroix rebounded from being two laps down to finish sixth, with Alex Tagliani following in seventh. J.F Dumoulin, Andrew Ranger and Larry Jackson rounded out the top ten.

The next Pinty’s Series race is at Circuit ICAR on July 8.

Photo Credits

F1: Mark Thompson/ Getty Images /Red Bull Content Pool
IndyCar: Matt Fraver/IndyCar
MENCS: Sean Gardner/Getty Images/NASCAR                                                                                                   
NXS: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images/NASCAR
NCWTS: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images/NASCAR
NASCAR Pinty’s: Matt Manor/NASCAR

Box Score Results                                                                                                                           

Results of F1 at Baku
Results of VICS at Road America
Results of MENCS at Sonoma
Results of NXS at Iowa
Results of NCWTS at Iowa
Results of NPS at Chaudiere