Motor Sports

Roger Diez: NASCAR takes on ‘Track Too Tough to Tame’

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

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Things did not go according to the script in Miami last Sunday, as McLaren’s Lando Norris bested Red Bull’s Max Verstappen fair and square to win his first Formula 1 race.

Taking advantage of a safety car to pit for tires, Norris maintained his lead on the restart and steadily drove away from Verstappen to a 7.7-second margin of victory.

Up until the pit stops Verstappen had it his own way all weekend, qualifying on pole for to the sprint and the Grand Prix and winning Saturday’s sprint handily over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who finished Sunday’s race third. Leclerc opined that McLaren has caught his team on speed and capability.

Norris is now tied with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for fourth in the drivers’ championship points and McLaren is third in the constructors' title chase. F1 has two more races in May, the Italian Grand Prix at Imola next weekend and Monaco at the end of the month.


We saw history at Kansas Speedway last Sunday as Kyle Larson nipped Chris Buescher at the line in the closest NASCAR Cup finish ever. The high-speed camera system determined the winning margin to be .001 second, eclipsing the .003 second margin of victory set at Atlanta earlier in the season when Daniel Suarez beat Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch in a three-wide photo finish.

The Gen 7 car has definitely closed up the field, making for tight racing and close finishes. So how does NASCAR determine the winner in these close finishes? They use a high-tech multi-camera system, the same one used by IndyCar, the Olympics, the Kentucky Derby, and other sports that depend on split-second precision. Larson’s second win of the season was determined by this system and consolidated his position at the top of the points chart. Martin Truex Jr. sits second in points, followed by Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Tyler Reddick.


This weekend all three of NASCAR’s top series are at Darlington, a.k.a. the Lady in Black. Eight of the 36 drivers entered have posted wins at the Track Too Tough to Tame. Hamlin has the most wins there with four while Truex and Eric Jones have two apiece. Jones is back in the No. 43 Toyota after sitting out two races with a back injury. One-time winners are Kyle Larson, William Byron, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Busch.

Opening odds favor Larson at 4-1 with Hamlin 5-1, Truex 13-2, and Byron and. Reddick 15-2. Christopher Bell is 9-1, Ross Chastain 13-1, Elliott 14-1, and Busch 15-1.

FS1 will broadcast all the racing action with Cup qualifying at 8:20 a.m. Saturday followed by the Xfinity series’ Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200 at 10:30. Sunday’s Goodyear 400 will air at noon.


The NTT IndyCar series will race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course this weekend. The Penske organization has won 5 of 10 previous Indy Grand Prix races with Will Power taking three of the five. Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing is the defending winner, posting the second win for Ganassi on the Indy Road Course.

The Penske team will be missing some key players, as the organization has suspended President Tim Cindric, Managing Director Ron Ruzewski, and the No. 2 team’s race engineer and senior data engineer for both this weekend and the Indy 500. The suspensions are the team’s response to the cheating scandal involving the push to pass function discovered at Long Beach.


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