Roger Diez: Records go down in Formula 1
Formula 1 saw two records set last Sunday. Lewis Hamilton’s Nurburgring win tied Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 F1 victories and Kimi Raikkonen made his 323rd F1 start, eclipsing Ruben Barrichello’s previous record of 322 outings. Hamilton has six more chances this season to set a new win record, and odds are he’ll do it handily. The Eifel Grand Prix was also remarkable for cancellation of Friday practice due to fog and four power unit failures in the race. Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes suffered the first power unit failure, which had to make Hamilton a bit nervous as both Mercedes run identical power units. But Lewis prevailed, extending his point lead to 230 over Bottas’ 161. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen sits third at 147 points. In the constructors’ standings Mercedes leads with 391 points, well ahead of Red Bull’s 211. The battle for third is close between Racing Point with 120 points and McLaren at 116. The next race is in Portugal October 25, the first F1 race in that country since 1996.
For the first time the NASCAR Cup series mounted rain tires to start a race. Sunday’s Cup event took place in drying conditions, unlike Saturday’s Xfinity race, which saw rain was heavy that the race had to be red flagged for standing water at one point. There were also rumors that Roger Penske was building an ark in the infield. A.J. Allmendinger proved himself to be the rainmeister, coming twice from deep in the pack to take the win. Noah Gragson was the first full-time Xfinity competitor, finishing in second place. I’m amazed that A.J. hasn’t landed a full-time ride in either series, but he seems to be having fun with his occasional Xfinity duties. Chase Elliott also came from behind late in the race to take his second Cup Roval win. Elliott now has five road course victories, tied for fifth with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. He still has a way to go before tying all-time road course king Jeff Gordon’s nine wins, but with six road courses on the 2021 schedule he just might do it.
This weekend all three NASCAR touring series are at Kansas. For the Cup teams it’s the first of three races in the Round of Eight, which will determine the four finalists who will compete for the championship at Phoenix. Denny Hamlin has won three times at Kansas including the last two races. Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson are also three-time Kansas winners, although Johnson is not a playoff contender. Other playoff drivers with Kansas victories are Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Martin Truex Jr. with two each and Elliott with a single win in 2018. The Gander Outdoor Truck series airs at 1 p.m. today on Fox with the Xfinity race on NBC Sports at 7 p.m. NASCAR Cup coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on NBC.
In other news, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and wife Amy welcomed their second daughter into the world last week. Nicole Lorraine Earnhardt joined her sister, 2-year-old Isla Rose, as the fourth member of the Earnhardt family. Congrats to all. And another silly season rumor has Eric Jones in talks with Richard Petty Motorsports for the no. 43 Chevrolet seat in 2021.
Finally, with just three races to go in their abbreviated 2020 season, this weekend’s
NHRA AAA Texas Fall Nationals has two tight points battles. In Top Fuel Steve Torrance leads Doug Kalitta by only two points. The same margin exists in Pro Stock with Jason Line ahead of Erica Enders. Matt Hagan leads Jack Beckman by 16 in Funny Car and Matt Smith is plus 16 to Scotty Pollacheck in Pro Stock Motorcycle.