It’s Pole Day at Indianapolis, and the Victoria Day Weekend Speedfest is in full swing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (hey – 28 entries in the Trans-Am! Big Iron is back!).
So let’s get caught up before all hell breaks loose on Saturday.
– Talking about hell breaking loose, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner/driver Jennifer Joe Cobb (pictured) has accused her former Nationwide Series team manager Mike Harmon of stealing her nearly $300,000 transporter. Cobb is also involved in litigation with her former business partner, David Novak, over who really owns most of the equipment Cobb uses to race.
It is a tangled web.
– Meantime, Kyle Busch started the NASCAR All-Star Weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway off with a bang Friday night by winning the Camping World Truck Series’ North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (talk about a mouthful!).
Brendan Gaughan finished second and Max Gresham was third.
Three of the Camping World series regulars who visited CTMP recently for a one-truck test conducted by driver Nelson Piquet Jr. were in that race Friday night. Defending champion James Beushcher was sixth, Miguel Paludo – who led for a good stretch – finished seventh and Jeb Burton was 13th.
Burton, incidentally, is the son of retired NASCAR Cup star, and Daytona 500 winner, Ward Burton. Jeb started from pole Friday night – his third in five starts this season – but didn’t have the horses to stay there.
The Camping Wordl Truck series will be featured at Old Mosport on Labour Day weekend, with the Chevrolet Silverado 250 scheduled for Sun., Sept. 1.
– Carl Edwards won the pole at Charlotte for Saturday night’s All-Star Race. NASCAR relaxed all the rules for this session and qualifying consisted of three flying laps and a no-speed-limit-on-pit-lane stop for four tires. Total times for the laps and pit stop were added up to set the field.
Not wanting to appear terribly negative about this (ED NOTE: Ho, ho ho), the reason there is a speed limit in pit lanes in every major form of motorsport in the world is because drivers can sometimes lose control of race cars at speed and unprotected people – i.e. pit crew members changing tires on cars – can be hit and be hurt, as a result.
So although some marketing genius thought it would be a scream to put away the radar guns and let the boys "have at it" along pit road at 155 mph, it is just as easy to have a bad accident at an exhbition race like the All-Star as it is at a "regular" race and it is sincerely hoped that they don’t do anything stupid like this again because Edwards called his run "petrifying."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second-fastest but the tire stop was botched and he was penalized five seconds, dropping him to 15th. Kurt Busch, who qualified third, will go off second, as a result.
– Mensa membership candidate Kimi Raikkonen says the key to winning the Grand Prix of Monaco is to qualify well.
– Scott Dixon is scheduled to be the first driver to take time when qualifying for the 97th Indianapolis 500 gets under way on Saturday.
Actually, car No. 40 is supposed to go out first, but since no driver is currently in the car it’s expected that Dixon will be the first to take a crack at the pole.
Like many things in 2013, qualifying at Indianapolis is terribly complicated and gimmicky and I’m not going to waste my time trying to explain it. I much preferred the old way of doing it, which was the driver with the fastest time on the first day of qualifying won the pole. Straight up, simple and to the point and I’m like that about everything in life.
James Hinchcliffe of Oakville is scheduled to go off 14th Saturday and Alex Tagliani of Montreal, the other Canadian who’s a previous pole winner at Indy, is down in 37th position.
Hinchcliffe was fastest of 32 drivers who went out to practice on Tuesday and his teammates, E.J. Viso and Marco Andretti, were first and second fastest on what’s commonly called "Fast Friday."
Said Hinchcliffe: "I think the weird thing about Indy is we have 10 times more practice time than anywhere else, yet you always wish you had a little bit more to make it that little bit better.
"I think it's just a function of a bunch of drivers and a bunch of engineers who are perfectionists and are always striving to make it a little better. But I think we can be pretty pleased with how things have gone.
"Obviously, having team cars up there all but one day bodes well. Qualifying is definitely going to be tough. There's a lot of quick cars. Finding that right level of downforce that takes enough drag off but doesn't leave you sliding all over the place and scrubbing speed is going to be key, and it would have been nice to have a run or two more to really nail that down.
"As a team, I think we're confident and it's going be tough because, like I said, there's a lot of fast cars that are going to be going for that Fast Nine. Hopefully we can get there and get the GoDaddy car in a good position for the start of the race."
(About the importance of starting position versus the quality of the race car):
"It's Sunday that everybody cares about. Dario (Franchitti) proved last year that qualifying is not the be-and all-end – he qualified 17th (and won). He even got hit in pit lane and fell right to the back, but he had a good race car and got his way back up to the front. So it's definitely important to focus on the race car.
"What's so tricky about (IMS) is it's so sensitive to different weather conditions. So if you're working on your race car throughout the entire week and you actually see a variety of different conditions, that's good. Whatever comes around on Race Day, you'll at least have a little bit of an understanding of what the car and track might do."
– At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, practice and qualifying will take place Saturday for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Trans Am, Formula 1600, the Porsche GT3 Challenge Cup Canada and the Canadian Touring Car Championship, as well as the Supercars.
There will be a few races but the headline events are scheduled for Sunday.
If you haven’t been out to the new and improved Old Mosport in awhile, why not drop by? You won’t believe the improvements that have been made.
1961 it ain't.