Motorsports News by David Vodden
Thunderhill will try something new this weekend with trucks and music on the big skid pad. Called “Corridos and Trokas”, the show targets the Mexican-American community and promises to be an education for all involved. Look for some major economic impacts starting Friday and ending Sunday afternoon. Not since the remarkably successful “Light Festivals” has Thunderhill been able to bring so many new tourists to the area to enjoy our town and the fun provided by the independent promoters. There is a $35 per person admission fee to get in. The rest of the park will host Porsche Club races on the three-mile track and a Reno Region SCCA event on the two-mile track. There is always something happening at Thunderhill Park which is easy to see if you go to www.thunderhill.com and check out the 365 day calendar.
No NASCAR last weekend but the Indy Car Race at Road America in Wisconsin was great entertainment. If you missed it you can go to your PEACOCK application and check it out or GOGGLE You Tube and look at the highlights. Alex Palou won the race in the closing laps over Californian Colton Herta. The second-generation kid dominated the race but fell victim to a late race strategy that left him short on fuel and power allowing Palou to zoom past to score his fourth win of the year and third a row. Palou is from Spain and is leading the American Indy Car point championship by a whopping 74 points. He drives for Chip Ganassi whose success in the series has improved greatly since he abandoned his NASCAR Cup program. Ganassi accepted an offer to buy his two-car NASCAR team that he could not refuse. That offer came from former Chico State student Justin Marks. Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden took second with Pato O’ Ward third and Scott Dixon fourth. Herta slipped all the way back to fifth and needed a paternal talking to following his team’s failure to call a winning strategy to end the eighth race of the 2023 Indy car season. The reason the race was so good was the intensity of the 26-car field bouncing along, side by side, on the fifteen turn, four-mile road track located next to Elkhart Lake in Plymouth Wisconsin. Lots of side by side racing produced good passing and several off-track adventures for the talented field of open wheel racers. No one was injured in any of the crashes with many drivers able to restart at the back of the field and try again.
It is worth noting that the Indy Car series produced a full field of competitive teams numbering 26 while NASCAR’s top series, CUP, is dwindling down to about the same number of competitive race entries plus about six cars that are best described as just filler. A few years ago, they would be called start and park entries but NASCAR wisely said no more of that. Look for the NASCAR fields in the CUP series to continue to drop. The Indy cars go to Mid-Ohio on the second of July weekend for a double header stint at what is another purpose-built road course in a beautiful American setting. Thunderhill Park here in Willows is a purpose-built road course in our beautiful northern California setting.
Californians had a great weekend across the land with Buddy Kofoid, Jake Swanson, Justin Grant, and Logan Seavy scoring impressive wins in USAC, All Stars, World of Outlaws and Silver Crown races. These contests occurring on dirt oval tracks provide the best of the best when it comes to real, you bet your life, auto racing. Carson Macedo was back in action following his spectacular fiery crash at the World of Outlaws races in Knoxville, IA. Not a single report listed any injuries for the California driver.
Corey Day is the hot new kid from California. He is burning up the local speedways with driving moves that are spectacular and reminiscent of drivers like Kyle Larsen, Brad Sweet and others who learned their craft in the Golden State. He won three of four recent NARC winged sprint car features in Oregon leading up to this weekend’s 51st annual Jim Raper Memorial three-night program at Skagit Speedway in the state of Washington. Day will be the driver to beat in the annual big money show that has seen weaker attendance by both fans and drivers in recent years. The event is a must for most California winged sprint car racers and will have all the NARC challengers inaction on the three-eighth mile dirt oval.
NASCAR is in Nashville this weekend at the Super Speedway there with all three divisions seeing action and with drivers seeking playoff berths and points. NASCAR is now on NBC which could mean NBC network, Peacock or USA. Good luck finding the listing and recording it if that is what you do. I do. I have my fingers crossed that Jeff Burton, who is a great interview and expert commentator but lousy play by play announcer, does not drive us all crazy with his painful tone, inaccurate speculations plus other features that should disqualify him from such a job. If NASCAR realized just how poor their television product has become and correlated that to the drops in ratings and at-track attendance they would hire good announcers who inform, educate and entertain rather than talk about themselves.
Good play-by-play announcing does exist in Formula One where Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonzo and Lewis Hamilton raced before a packed house even for practice days in Canada last weekend. This was the finishing order by the way, which I said I would not mention if Verstappen continued to win and win and win. He did and so did I. Maybe I will skip my F-1 report next time? Maybe not?