“A Wild Weekend-Auto Racing”
You don’t have to be a beer drinking, gun toting fan from the Deep South to appreciate NASCAR. You don’t have to be old school to appreciate Indy car racing. You don’t have to drink Perrier Water to appreciate Formula 1.
But if you liked auto racing, you got your fill on Sunday, maybe collectively the greatest day in auto racing’s calendar.
Back home in Indiana, the leaders knocked themsekves out, or ran out of gas in the Indy 500. In an amazing finish, a young Californian, running his first ever 500, Alexander Rossi, won the race, as wrecks in pit row took out the lst and 2nd leaders, and then 4-cars were forced to pit for a spash of gas to try and chase down the rookie.
They got the gas, but never got the lead back as Rossi nursed his car, using the draft, to hold off the challengers over the final five laps. How close was it? Rossi ran out of fuel on his victory lap and had to be towed to Victory Lane.
A brutal finish to a dominant day for teammates Ryan Hunter Reay, a former winner, and Townsend Bell, a near winner. Bell coming out of the pits, clipped a car, and bounced into Reay, who was in the pit box infront of him. Both damaged cars sat to be repaired. When they finally came out, they were running 25th and 26th.
Under the lights at the Charlotte Coca Cola 600, no one has seen anything like it. And remember NASCAR has been running at Charlotte Motor Speedway since 1960, that was alot of green flags ago.
Martin Truex, struggling thru his own dry-spell, muscled his way to a record setting win. He just blew away the field, leading for 588 of the 600 miles. Do that math, he led for 392-of the 400 laps. Kevin Harvick-Jimmie Johnson chased him all day and could not catch him.
Infront of the rich people in Monaco, British star Lewis Hamilton, finally ended an 8-race drought, as the former F1-champion roared thru the rain, coming from behind to win the Grand Prix of Monaco. And much like the Indy race, what happened in the pits, impacted the end of the race.
In an era of constant communication from pit row to the drivers, no one can explain what happened to Team Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. He had an (:11) lead when rains came. He went to pit, and was shocked to find his high priced pit crew, had yet to put rain tires out for the stop. It turned out to be a (:13) stop, and in the process, Hamilton blew by for the win.
Three times, on the rain tires, Ricciardo tried to catch the Brit and pass him, but three times Hamilton made moves to block him.
It was an amazing weekend of emotions at all three tracks, some elation, some devastation, some anger, some in amazement.
What a way to get us to Memorial Day weekend. American sports fans, those who love the NFL, follow America’s past-time-baseball, cannot wait for NBA hoops or NHL puck, should spend some time watching what was on the menu on Sunday.
A wild weekend of speed-courage-strategy, good luck and bad endings . It’s what auto racing is all about and what Memorial Day weekend has become known for. .