Formula One: Hamilton triumphant at the British Grand Prix
Despite its origins on a flat disused former-WWII aerodrome, the Silverstone circuit, home of the British Grand Prix has to be one of the best places to hold a proper Formula One race in this era of sterile new circuit layouts, many in distant lands with no tradition of Grand Prix racing. And the British race fans rewarded the race promoters by filling the many grandstands around the circuit. If you want to go to a Grand Prix when you can feel the surge of enthusiasm of a crowd who really appreciate the glorious history of Grand Prix racing, this may be your best bet.
At Silverstone, the Hamilton-Rosberg feud continued. Hamilton dominated the weekend, taking the pole and leading throughout the race with Rosberg coming home in second place just 7 seconds behind. Perhaps feeling a bit battered by recent events in Britain, the crowd enthusiastically cheered the winner. Not so happy was the rumble of booing they gave to Hamilton's arch rival, Rosberg.
After the race, when they were in the debriefing room inside the control building, there has never been such cold body language exchanged between the two Mercedes rivals – so distant were that that no one could believe that their on-track fighting has ended. But, on the podium, Hamilton was gracious, even trying to get his rabid fans to not boo his teammate.
Late in the race, Rosberg was closing the gap to Hamilton but, with six laps to go , he was informed that he had a gearbox problem and that he should not use seventh gear. He asked back, "What should do?" and he was told, "Just shift through it (to eighth gear) quickly". He was able nurse his car home but he failed to catch Hamilton. But worse, the stewards deemed that this exhange constituted coaching over the radio, something which is now forbidden, so he was assessed a ten-second penalty. Given that Max Verstappen (Red Bull) had finished in third, 1.3 seconds behind Rosberg, this penalty elevated Verstappen into second ahead of Rosberg.
As a result, Hamilton now trails Rosberg in the championship points standing by a single point.
There was a fairly heavy rainfall just before the start of the race so the race was flagged off behind the safety car with all the cars mandated to be running on full wet tires. As soon as the safely car pulled off, the cars started to dive into the pits for "intermediates" and as the track continued to dry, the rain having stopped, they changed over to "dry" tires.
While the track was still pretty wet, Verstappen was able to take advantage of a bauble by Rosberg and move up into second place. On lap 38 of the 52-lap race, Rosberg was able to regain second place but he was never able to challenge Hamilton for the lead.
Verstappen's more-experienced teammate (and who isn't more experienced than this amazing youngster?) Daniel Ricciardo ran in fourth much of the race but Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) eventually passed him and demoted the Australian to a fifth-place finish.
This was Hamilton's 47th Formula One win and his third in a row here at Silverstone, the first since Jim Clark did it back in the sixties.
Verizon IndyCar: Newgarten dominates at the Iowa Speedway
The Iowa Speedway is a tiny 7/8th-mile bullring of a track near Des Moines. Indycar has run on other short tracks like this before; Milwaukee and Nazareth come to mind, but the ultra short lap times do make for a different kind of racing with the leader lapping cars within a few laps of the start.
Last year Josef Newgarten ran a strong race but a botched final pit stop cost him his shot at the win. This year, he started from second on the grid and immediately took the lead and held it in dominant fashion right to the checkered flag. By lap 84 of the 300-lap race, only Simon Pagenauld, who had started on the pole, was still on the lead lap with Newgarten – everyone else was at least one lap down.
The first caution came out a few laps later and, under IndyCar's rules, the lap down cars were given a wave-around putting nine of them back on the lead lap. It seems like a strange rule but it did make the rest of the race more interesting.
So Newgarten had to start all over again but two more yellows kept him from running away from the field like that again. Pagenauld held onto second place until he was passed by a charging Scott Dixon on lap 232. After the third caution Will Power came charging up through the field, passing Pagenauld and then Dixon for second place and that's the way the race finished.
This was Newgarten's second race since his big crash at Texas Motor Speedway a month ago when he sustained fractures to his clavicle and to his hand. Despite the fact that he was still recovering from these injuries which were expected to make his race on this tight circuit difficult, Newgarten surmounted this supposed handicap.
Oakville's own James Hinchcliffe had to start the race dead last but during the race he worked his way up to ninth, a lap down, at the finish.
Despite this track's limited capacity to accommodate many race fans it remains popular with the IndyCar series. This week they announced that this venue will remain on their schedule through 2018.
IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship: Corvette DPs dominate at CTMP; Ford GT scores an "upset" class win
After the six-hour grind at Watkins Glen the previous week, IMSA's headliner series came to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for a 160-minute sprint. And the results was more or less the same. The Daytona Prototype "Corvettes" came home in the top spots – this time 1-2-3-4, while the Mazdas, which showed promise, failed to deliver in the race. The best-placed Mazda, the No. 70 Joel Miller/Tom Long car was fifth still on the lead lap.
At the Glen, the No. 5 Joāo Barbosa/Christian Fittipaldi Corvette won over the Dane Cameron/Eric Curran sister car. Here at CTMP, the order was reversed with the Cameron/Curran cars taking the honours over the other car. The Jordan and Ricky Taylor Corvette was third while the Ryan Dalziel/Marc Goossens Corvette was fourth. The race finished under a full-course caution.
Things had been looking bright for the Mazda contingent before the race. The No. 55 Tristan Nunez/Jonathan Bomarito P2 car had won the pole over the Taylor brothers' Corvette DP with the No. 70 Mazda third fastest.
The race started well for the Mazdas, with the No. 55 car leading over the Taylor DP car. But when they made their first pit stop about 45 minutes into the race, there seemed to be a problem with their air jack and they had trouble changing the tires making for a long pit stop. About 20 minutes later the car pulled off the course, with what looked like a broken axle problem and their challenge to win this race was ended.
Given that the new Ford GT is being built right here in the Toronto area by Multimatic and that all the early work on the project was done locally and using their development driver Scott Maxwell – and the proximity of the major Canadian General Motors assembly plant, there was considerable interest in the GTLM class. At Le Mans in June, the Ford GT won its class 1-3-4 over the Risi Ferrari while the Corvettes were not really competitive. Then, last week at Watkins Glen, the Ford GTs scored a 1-2 win over Bill Auberlin's BMW with the best Corvette fourth – and just before that the Ford GT had won its class at Montery. The consensus seemed to be that the Fords had a BOP ("Balance of Performance") advantage over the Corvettes and that needed to be adjusted to equalize the competition. In the week between the Glen and the CTMP race, IMSA invoked an extraordinary provision of their rules to change the BOP with less than the two-weeks notice normally required. The Fords were given more weight and more turbo restrictions while the Corvettes had the reverse.
So it was no big surprise when one of the Corvettes, driven by Antonio Garcia, set the fastest lap in qualifying, but the two Ford GTs had almost as quick times, less than a tenth of a second slower.
Come Sunday's race and the BOP adjustments seemed to be doing their job. Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette held the lead over Richard Westbrook in the No. 66 Ford GT with the No. 25 Bill Auberlin/Dirk Werner BMW M6 running in third. After the first round of pit stops Briscoe took over the Ford GT and was running in third behind the Corvette and the BMW, about 9 seconds out of the lead.
It looked like that was the way it was going to play out under the current BOP restrictions but then something strange happened. On the final pit stop the Ford took only fuel and this gave them a lead of more than ten seconds over the No. 4 Tommy Milner/Olivier Gavin Corvette. As expected, the Corvette was able to close up on the Ford but he was still over six seconds behind when Andy Lally crashed in Turn One and the race ended under yellow. If the Watkins Glen win by the Ford GT was helped by a favourable BOP over the others, this week's result had to be seen as a triumph of race strategy over the BOP advantage of the others.
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge: Multimatic Mustang holds of the Porsches at CTMP
IMSA's undercard, the Continental Tire series, came to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend and the local team – the Ford Mustang Shelby run by Multimatic – took home the honours.
A week earlier at Watkins Glen, despite starting on the pole, the Mustang could not match the pace of the Porsche Cayman GT4 and ended up in fourth behind three of them. And this was at a track that was supposed to favour the heavier but more-powerful Mustangs. In the intervening week IMSA invoked an extraordinary rule to change the "Balance of Performance" (BOP) limits they impose on different makes of car in hopes of making them equally competitive. In this case, they gave the Porsches an additional 100 pounds (45 kg).
At CTMP, only four cars showed up to compete in the featured CS class, two Mustangs and two Porsches. Local driver Scott Maxwell put the Multimatic Mustang on the pole but, remembering how he could not hold off the Porsches at the Glen, he was still pessimistic about his chances here.
However, in the 150-minute race, he built a solid lead over the other Mustang (Paul Holton/Pierre Kleinubing) and the Daniel Burkett/Marc Miller Porsche. Near the halfway point the cars came into the pits for driver changes. Danny Johnson took over the Multimatic car from Maxwell while Miller took over in the Porsche.
When a caution came a few minutes later, Miller in the Porsche moved up into second place for the restart. Johnson, thinking of his loss the previous week, thought it might dega vu all over again but he held onto the lead through a final pit stop for fuel only and when that pit stop sequence ended he still had the lead – by six seconds over the other Mustang and then the Porsche. Despite Johnson's worries, he maintained his lead even when the Porsche got past the Kleinubing Mustang for second – and he brought the car home with an 11-second margin over the Porsche.
You have to ask yourself, was this win due to the superiority of the Mustang and its drivers or was it a product of IMSA's tinkering with the BOP? The Mustang duo are pessimistic about their chances in the remaining races which they feel favour the lighter, more nimble Porsches.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Keselowski, running on fumes, scores his forth win of the season at Kentucky
Brad Keselowski won the 400-mile (267-lap) race at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday Lazurus-style. The race came down to a fuel economy run after the final caution came on lap 195. His car quit, apparently out of gas, with a lap to go, but it miraculously came back to life and he was able to hold off Carl Edwards for the win.
In that final long green-flag run, as the laps ticked down to the finish, car after car peeled off into the pits for a quick splash of fuel, giving up their hopes of winning the race. Keselowski, who had been running near the front for most of the race, had made a charge from the third row on final restart and he took the lead before that first lap was completed. But he was by no means assured of having enough fuel to go to the end. He hung on to the lead while others thought to have more fuel than him gave up and made quick pit stops.
Then, with one lap to go, he called in that he was out of fuel and he slowed on the track. It looked terminal. Carl Edwards was able to get up alongside momentarily but then it seemed like Keselowski had found some small extra reserve of fuel and he was able to refire the car and hold off Edwards to claim the win, his fourth win of the season. Keselowski's car made it back around on the cool-off lap but he was completely out of fuel before he could think of doing any burnouts – a tow truck pushed him into victory circle.
Edwards finished second, 0.175 seconds behind, ahead of Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart.
NASCAR Xfinity Series: Another win for Kyle Busch at Kentucky
Kyle Busch once again underlined his dominance as a race car driver and the dominance of the Joe Gibbs Toyotas, taking home the win in Friday night's Xfinity race at the Kentucky Speedway.
At the start, the three JGR entries lined up 1-2-3, Busch, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones – and, once underway Busch dominated the race with his two teammates running right behind most of the way. Just before the fourth caution came on lap 176 of the 201-lap race, Jones, who had been in contention all the race, slipped past Busch to take the lead. Unfortunately, as the cars then lined up behind the pace car, Jones was shutting his engine off to save fuel and he dropped back off the pace momentarily. When the same thing happened to Bubba Wallace last week they penalized him by making him start back in the lineup in the position he had dropped to. That time Wallace incurred a $15000 fine for calling the NASCAR officials "muppets". Now Jones, instead of taking the green as the race leader, had to start back in the third row – and, in the final few laps, he was never able to get back up to challenge for the lead – the best he could do was a fourth-place finish.
So on the restart it was Busch back in the lead, trailed by his other teammate, Suarez. The fifth and final caution came on lap 196, sending the race finish into "overtime". The two JGR teammates, Busch and Suarez, lined up on the front row but on the restart Austin Dillon was able to pass Suarez and challenge Busch for the lead, but Busch held on with Dillon finishing second and the other two JGR drivers, finishing third and fourth.
Tire degradation on the freshly repaved Kentucky Speedway was an issue in this race, notably the right rear tire which tended to blister, forcing many to pit early for fresh tires and some to go into the wall.
NASCAR Camping World Trucks: Byron scores his fourth win of the year at Kentucky
William Byron, the 18-year-old rookie driving a Kyle Busch Racing Toyota, held off John Hunter Nemechek (NEMCO) and Daniel Hemric (Brad Keselowski Racing), to win Thursday's race at Kentucky Speedway. This was the fourth win this year for the young KBR driver, making him odds-on favourite to win the series championship this year. Last year Erik Jones, another KBR rookie won the truck series championship as a 19-year-old.
There can be no doubt that Kyle Busch Racing has become the powerhouse team in the NASCAR truck series. Busch, the team owner who has 45 wins in this series, had four entries in Thursday's race at Kentucky Speedway: Byron, Christopher Bell, Daniel Suarez, and Busch himself.
Despite a strong start, Suarez faded back during the race, finishing in 25th place. He started on the pole but he never held the lead again after lap 61 of the 150 lap race. Busch's race went sour on the first round of pit stops when he was penalized for having too many crew members servicing his truck. This put him back with the slower trucks and a collision with Spencer Gallagher knocked him out of the race after just 56 laps.
Christopher Bell, the 21-year-old KBR driver, finished fourth while Johnny Sauter (Gallagher Motorsports) came home in fifth place. Young Cameron Hayley from Calgary finished in sixth.
Daimler AG, IndyCar (Chris Jones), IMSA, General Motors, NASCAR/Getty