Roger Diez: Busy weekend has 3 first-time winners

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

Last Sunday was one of the busiest of the season, with Formula 1 and IndyCar in their most famous races and NASCAR Cup in its longest. And each one had a first-time winner of the event.
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There was a deluge in Monaco on Sunday, causing a rare rain delay. There was also a red flag for yet another frightening Mick Schumacher crash that saw his car broken in half as he walked away uninjured.
Tire strategy proved to be critical, and the Red Bull team mastered the tricky conditions, putting their number 2 driver Sergio Perez into the lead on the notoriously hard to pass street circuit. Perez scored his third F1 win and first Monaco victory, hotly pursued by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, and pole sitter Charles Leclerc.
The race ended nine laps short of the scheduled 73 laps as the two-hour time limit expired on lap 64. In the aftermath, fans and some teams are calling for modifications to the course to allow for more passing. Some are even questioning whether Monaco should remain on the schedule given the size and speed of today’s cars. Formula one races next race in Baku, Azerbaijan on June 12.
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The 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 saw Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson win the classic event for the first time. Ericsson pocketed a cool $3.1 million for the win, his share of a record $16 million purse, the largest ever for the race. Due to the double points awarded for Indy, Ericsson also vaulted to the top of the point standings with 226, 13 points ahead of Indy 500 runner-up Pato O’Ward.
A red flag for Jimmie Johnson’s crash with five laps to go set up an exciting two-lap shootout at the end, with Ericsson holding off O’Ward, veteran Tony Kanaan, fellow Swede Felix Rosenqvist, and 2016 winner Alex Rossi for the win. Johnson won Rookie of the Year honors.
The series moves to Detroit this weekend to race on the Belle Isle street course. Qualifying is at 9:35 a.m. Saturday on Peacock with the race simulcast on the USA Network and Peacock at noon Sunday.
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The Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race, saw heavy attrition with 18 cautions and just over half of the 37 starters still running at the checker. There was also a red flag after Chris Buescher’s Cirque de Soleil-style automotive acrobatics that left his trashed car upside-down. He was uninjured. s
Multiple early contenders fell by the wayside including Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Austin Cindric, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, and Bubba Wallace. The race ran 13 laps over the scheduled 400 due to multiple overtimes with Denny Hamlin taking his first 600 win after 17 years as a Coke family driver. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell finished second and fifth respectively with Stewart-Haas Ford drivers Kevin Harvick and Chase Briscoe second and third.
This weekend the NASCAR Cup and Camping World Truck series are at the Worldwide Technology Raceway oval with Xfinity on the road course at Portland International Raceway. It will be the Cup series’ first visit to WWR, but several current Cup drivers have won there in other NASCAR series.
Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch have won in the Xfinity series while Bubba Wallace, Cole Custer, Bell, Justin Haley, and Ross Chastain have Camping World Truck victories. The truck race airs at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Xfinity at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, with the Cup cars at noon Sunday. All the coverage is on FS1.

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