Roger Diez: A weekend of racing drama

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

Last weekend gave us a new racetrack and one of the oldest circuits; a three-time 2022 winner and a first-time 2022 winner; joyous celebrations and disgruntled competitors.
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The inaugural Miami Grand Prix for Formula 1 was more a spectacle than a sporting event and gave Las Vegas a benchmark to shoot for when it hosts Formula 1 in 2023. The event featured celebrities, eye-popping ticket prices, a fake marina, and a track that could stand some improvements.
Although the Ferraris dominated practice and qualifying, they were no match for Max Verstappen’s Red Bull in the race and had to settle for second and third. The main complaints from drivers were the very tight chicane under the freeway ramp and pavement that was not as smooth as they would like.
The race also featured what I consider a looming problem with the new car design. For the second race in a row we saw what the commentators called “DRS trains,” a lineup of cars close enough to enable the drag reduction system. This consists of opening up the rear wing, allowing higher speeds on the straights due to less drag. Unfortunately, when several cars in a row have this advantage, it’s basically no advantage, and becomes a high-speed parade. I’m not sure what the solution is, but it needs to be addressed. All in all, I give the event a B+. The next race for the series is the Spanish Grand Prix on May 22.
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Joey Logano took his Team Penske Mustang from the pole to the win in the Darlington NASCAR Cup race on Sunday, but not without controversy. It was Logano’s first win of the season and broke a 40-race winless streak for him. It came at the expense of William Byron, whose Hendrick Camaro became a victim of a bash and dash coming to the white flag.
Logano claimed it was fair retaliation for Byron squeezing him into the wall on the final restart, and Byron responded by calling Logano an idiot who can only win by dirty driving. Is there another feud in the making?
The win made Logano the 10th driver to qualify for the playoffs with a victory, but with two-thirds of the season yet to go, we could see more than 16 winners for the first time since the institution of the playoff format.
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This weekend NASCAR is at Kansas Speedway where eight current drivers have won. In the past 10 years, Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick have won three times, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. twice, and Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, and Chase Elliott once. Larson won at Kansas last fall and Busch last spring.
The race will air at noon Sunday with practice/qualifying at 2 p.m. Saturday. Camping World Truck practice/qualifying airs at 9 a.m. Saturday with the race at 5 p.m. FS1 will broadcast all of the action.
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NTT IndyCar series is back in action this weekend, with the GMR Grand Prix of Indy on the road course. This will be the ninth running of this race, and only four drivers have won it. For the first six years Simon Pagenaud and Will Power traded wins, but Scott Dixon won in 2020 and Rinus Veekay last year. Will this season’s winner be a young gun or one of the old guard? We will find out at noon Saturday when the race airs on NBC, and then the series will remain at Indianapolis for the next two weeks with practice and qualifying leading up to the Indy 500.

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