Motor Sports

Roger Diez: Red Bull continues domination in F1

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

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Formula One’s first of three visits to the U.S. this year proved to be a continuation of Red Bull’s dominance. Five races, five 1-2 finishes for Red Bull, whose drivers seem to be alternating wins.

This time it was Max Verstappen’s turn, although he had to come from mid-pack at the start to overcome Sergio Perez’s pole position with a winning margin of 5.384 seconds. Fernando Alonso finished a distant third, 20.921 seconds adrift of Perez. It was Alonso’s fourth podium finish in five races.

The repaved circuit was more to all the drivers’ liking than last year although the high temperature and humidity were not. The pre-race hoopla nearly overpowered the race itself, but there were some interesting incidents. The most amusing thing to me was the altercation between a security guard and three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart. Stewart prevailed, to the surprise of no one who knows his reputation.

The next race is the Italian Grand Prix on May 21, followed by Monaco a week later.


The NASCAR Cup race at Kansas Speedway also was hot — both in temperature and in drivers’ tempers. Kyle Larson was the top lap leader with 85, but Denny Hamlin chased him down and took the win with a last-lap bump and run. Larson recovered from the hit to finish second ahead of teammate William Byron, Bubba Wallace, and Ross Chastain.

While he finished fifth in the race, Chastain was declared the winner of the post-race fisticuffs with Noah Gragson. No penalties were issued for the fight, but NASCAR will “continue to have some dialogue with those two organizations…” according to NASCAR official Eldon Sawyer.

With Hamlin’s win at Kansas there are now nine drivers who have qualified for the playoffs.


This weekend’s race at Darlington marks the halfway point in the regular season, so there’s still plenty of time to fill the playoff field with race winners. Darlington features throwback paint schemes, recalling famous and nostalgic teams, drivers, and eras.

Seven drivers in the 35-car field have won at Darlington, affectionately known as “The Lady in Black.” Kansas winner Hamlin has four victories there, most recently in 2021. Eric Jones, Martin Truex Jr., and Kevin Harvick have each won twice with Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch posting one win apiece.

Another interesting aspect of the race is the return of Ryan Newman to the series, driving the Rick Ware Racing No. 51 Ford.

Saturday’s schedule features Cup practice and qualifying at 7:30 a.m. on FS1 and the Xfinity series race on FOX at 10:30 a.m. Sunday’s Goodyear 400 airs on FS1 at noon.


Also on tap this weekend is the NTT IndyCar GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Events on the road circuit at Indy were pretty much a Team Penske benefit, with the Captain’s cars winning the first eight races. However since the name of the event was changed to the GMR Indy Grand Prix on July 4, 2020, no Penske car has won.

So far this season Team Penske has won two of the four races with Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport each winning one. No driver has won more than once yet this year. Will that change Saturday? Tune in to NBC at 12:30 p.m. today to find out.


Finally, I’m wholeheartedly in favor of NASCAR’s new transparency initiative. The sanctioning body recently decided to display the unapproved parts that were confiscated from the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Camaro at Martinsville resulting in an L1 penalty involving loss of points, a fine, and crew suspensions. I think the new policy will act as a cautionary tale for the other teams and will assure fans that NASCAR is enforcing the rules.


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