When you’re on assignment at one race (the American Le Mans Series race at Mosport, see post below), it’s a challenge trying to keep up with what’s going on elsewhere. But here goes.
Formula One: When I turned on my recording equipment Sunday night to watch the race, I wondered if I’d somehow (or it somehow) made a mistake. There were three guys on the podium, all right, but Sebastien Vettel wasn’t among them.
There was Lewis Hamilton, the winner, with Fernando Alonso second and Mark Webber third. I had to go back further to watch Vettel cross the line in fourth, with Felipe Massa fifth.
Good grief! That’s the first time Vettel hasn’t been on the podium in eons! And as I rolled the recording backwards even further, I actually saw him spin!
What is the world coming to?
I refuse to believe there are chinks in that guy’s armour. Maybe he didn’t like the chilly weather in Germany (unlike the sweltering heat at Mosport). Maybe he got out of bed on the wrong side.
Whichever, he will be back in form again soon and at the end of the season we’ll find out what was really going on this weekend (maybe his girlfriend dumped him, or Red Bull racing czar Helmut Marko didn't say good morning to him. Or something).
Anyway, a fast-forward review of the race showed Hamilton deserved to win and it was a fighting Alonso who managed to make it into second. The championship is over but those guys are showing that they’ll go down swinging.
Three things to chew on between now and the next race in Hungary next weekend . . .
– Although there is a contract to hold this race through 2016, the government has informed B. Ecclestone, et al, that this was the last German Grand Prix to receive a huge public subsidy. So add Germany to the growing list of countries where the government has said enough!
It won’t happen for a few years but every time there is one of these announcements, the closer F1 is to going on pay television. Trust me. It’s coming and it will happen sooner than anybody realizes. Regardless of what Bernie says.
– Timo Glock has signed a contract to race for Virgin F1 through the 2014 season. Is that nuts, or what? Glock finished 17th on Sunday, three laps behind the winner. Just the kind of guy you want to sign to a long-term contract, right?
– Although he sat out the German Grand Prix, Lotus insists it wants to sign Jarno Trulli to a contract for 2012. Is that nuts, or what? Trulli finished 23rd in the last race, the British GP. And his replacement for this weekend, Karun Chandhock, finished 20th, four laps behind, in Germany. Why would Lotus want to keep either one of those guys?
IZOD IndyCar Series: So after not calling any penalties for avoidable contact in Toronto two weeks ago, when there were a whole bunch of avoidable accidents, the IndyCar race officials were handing them out left, right and centre in Edmonton on Sunday.
Alex Tagliani, Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay received drive-throughs for plowing into people. E.J. Viso would have received one also but Race Control determined that since he lost a lap in his accident it was penalty enough.
Somebody else who would have qualified was Graham Rahal, who was knocked off the track on the first lap and proceeded to drive right back on and into the path of Canada’s own Paul Tracy. The ensuing collision put them both out - so no penalty.
Tracy would have had every right to be boiling over with anger at Rahal’s stupidity but since he did the same thing at San Jose a few years ago (and drove into the side of fellow Canadian Tagliani at the time) he probably figured what the hell: what goes around comes around.
In any event, Will Power won the race Sunday on the newly configured City Centre Airport circuit with last year’s winner Helio Castroneves second (what? He didn’t win last year? Oh, yeah – that’s right. They penalized him for blocking. The phantom block; maybe that’s why he was on his best behaviour this year . . .) and Dario Franchitti finished third.
Top Canadian was James Hinchcliffe, who finished 15th, while Tag was 17th and Tracy was officially 26th and last.
Top woman was . . . guess who? Danica Patrick in ninth.
Next race is in two weeks on a twin bill with the American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio.
Question: should the ALMS race in Toronto with the Indy cars or should the Indy cars race at Mosport with the ALMS?
They had a whopping big crowd at Mosport for the ALMS. I suggest records could be broken if the Indy cars returned to their natural road-course home. Put those two series together for a weekend and it would be like the grand old days of Formula One out there.
One last observation. I don’t recall race promoters ever getting as many pats on the back as Octane Motorsport Events has as the result of the Edmonton race. It strikes me as being a bit over the top when newspaper columnists as well as the sanctioning body positively gush over somebody doing their job.
Is there something going on? I mean, there have been rumours that Octane would like to take over promotion of the Toronto Indy. So is this part of the campaign?
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series: Scott Steckly of Milverton, Ont., driving a Canadian Tire-sponsored Dodge, won the NASCAR Canada race Saturday night at the Motoplex Speedway and Event Park in Vernon, B.C., a race he won a year ago. It was Steckly’s 10th career victory and his first since he won the season opener at Mosport Speedway in May.
Defending series champion D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas, who led a race-high 135 laps, finished a close second in his familiar Castrol Edge Dodge while Kerry Micks of Mt. Albert, Ont., was third in his Dickies/Beyond Digital Imaging Ford.
Ron Beauchamp Jr. of Windsor and Mark Dilley of Barrie completed the top five. Don Thomson Jr. of Hamilton was sixth with Pete Shepherd III of Brampton seventh and J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge eighth. Nathan Weenk of Lethbridge was ninth and Jim White of Kamloops completed the top 10.
The race was slowed 12 times by caution; the race lead exchanged hands eight times among three drivers. In the point standings, Steckly increased his lead over Kennington to 97 points. Fitzpatrick remains in third followed by Thomson and Micks.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will race at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon on Wednesday.
Other racing: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had the weekend off and drivers will next saddle up for the Brickyard 400 at Indy next weekend. The "400," by the way, represents the number of fans they’re expecting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. . .
Even the Sprint Cup guys like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick who own teams in the Nationwide and Camping World Trucks took the weekend off and put other drivers in their vehicles.
One guy who should have taken a weekend off was Kasey Kahne, who decided to do a little World of Outlaws sprint car racing and went flying right out of the ballpark at Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania.
Kahne won’t be running with them but the Outlaws will be at Ohsweken Speedway on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford on Wednesday night. From there, they go to Brockville Speedway and to race tracks in Quebec before heading back to the U.S.A.
Meantime, it was not the greatest of days for Canadians in the Grand Am Series races in New Jersey.
In the Rolex Sports Car race, the AIM Autosport of Woodbridge No. 61 Daytona Prototype normally wheeled by Mark Wilkins of Toronto and American Burt Frisselle was MIA from the race won by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.
In the Continental Tire race, Paul Dalla Lana of Toronto finished sixth in the race won by Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. Karl Thomson of Toronto, driving for his Compass 360 Racing team, finish 21st overall and 9th in the ST class. Scott Maxwell of Toronto was 46th overall and classified 20th in the GS class. Ashley McCalmont of Dundas was 49th overall and 23rd in GS.