Roger Diez: Place your bets on Jimmie Johnson at Dover this weekend

Last Saturday’s Western States Dwarf Regional race at Fernley 95A Speedway was canceled after rains through the day rendered the track a mud bog. Reno’s Joe Frock was the top local driver on Friday night, coming home second in the Pro division main behind Shawn Jones of San Jose. Kevin Bender of Rocklin won the Veterans division main. A different sort of mud bog is on tap for the track tonight, with mud bog races, a demolition derby, and chain racing all on the program.

...

Martin Truex Jr. dominated the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway last Saturday night, but a late pit stop problem put him well back in the field. Kyle Busch took the point on the final restart and scored his third win of the season, elevating him to the top of the Chase standings. Busch will keep the win, but will lose crew chief Adam Stevens this weekend. Stevens was fined $20,000 and suspended through May 18 for a lug nut infraction discovered in post-race inspection. The No. 18’s front tire changer was also suspended but no fine was levied. Both are on probation until December 31.

...

Heading to the Monster Mile at Dover this weekend, it’s hard to bet against Jimmie Johnson. The driver of the No. 48 is head and shoulders above all active drivers with 10 wins at the tough concrete mile. Ryan Newman is second in the number of trips to victory lane with three. However, the Joe Gibbs Racing cars have shown phenomenal speed at every track thus far in the season and “Concrete Carl” Edwards is particularly good on that type of racing surface. Among the Gibbs drivers Busch and Matt Kenseth have each won twice at Dover and Edwards once. Denny Hamlin has three Dover poles including at last spring’s race, but no wins thus far. One change has been made to the tight Dover pit lane. Due to NASCAR’s reduction of the field to a maximum of 40 cars, the track is able to reduce the number of pit stalls to 40, thereby making each one slightly larger.

...

It’s going to be a busy race weekend. In addition to the Sprint Cup series, the Xfinity series and Camping World trucks are also racing at Dover. Further north and west, the month of May officially begins at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the running of the Grand Prix of Indy on the infield road course tonight. Penske driver Simon Pagenaud won the race last year, and was coming off two wins (Long Beach and Alabama) with lots of momentum. Pagenaud ran second to Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in practice with Honda driver Graham Rahal third quickest. The Chevrolet-powered Indy cars seem to have an advantage on road courses despite Rahal’s gutsy drive to second in Alabama with Honda power two weeks ago. Next weekend the festivities in the heartland continue with qualifying for the 100th running of the Indy 500, the granddaddy of American racing events.

...

Mercedes and Ferrari alternated top spots in Friday’s second practice session for the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set fast time, followed by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen; Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton was third with Sebastian Vettel fourth in the other Ferrari. Young Max Verstappen set eighth fastest time in the session in his first outing with Red Bull, replacing Daniil Kvyat who was demoted to the Toro Rosso team (junior varsity for Red Bull). Kvyat was only able to manage 15th on the speed charts in the practice session. Qualifying was set for 5 a.m. today.

...

With the reliability issues the top teams have been having this season, I wonder how long it’s going to be until all the Ferraris and Mercedes melt down during a race and Red Bull, Williams, McLaren, or Haas takes a win. Pushing the envelope can sometimes have negative consequences.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment