This Week in Motorsports - September 30

This Week in Motorsports - September 30

by David Vodden

They were replete with accolades to their governmental staffs and elected officials who saw the value in having the event at the local track and all the economic benefits that would accrue to business, the City of Portland and the State.

I enjoyed listening all the while thinking that someone from Willows or Glenn County would hear what they said and how easy it is to create revenue for an area by using a racetrack. Portland International Raceway is smaller than Thunderhill.

The recent hubbub about a street drag race that was reported to offer an economic impact for the area was deemed to be too risky by the Glenn County planning offices and the local police. Thunderhill was not involved in this program other than to offer help to the County if needed. Thunderhill will continue to draw tourists to Glenn County and Willows with the impact of these visit helpful to all.

Watch the NASCAR races this weekend on TV from Talladega and notice how small the crowd is for the Xfinity race on Saturday. This Saturday NASCAR is at Talladega with a two-for-one show featuring the trucks and Xfinity cars on track on Saturday and the Cup cars set to go on Sunday.

The Indy car series ended last week at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey. Alex Palou is the 2021 champion. The Spaniard was in his first year in the program and won the title for car owner Chip Ganassi who regularly wins the Indy car title, but not the Indy 500. Roger Penske usually wins that legendary race as the car owner. Ganassi will abandon NASCAR. Palou finished second behind perennial winner of the event, Colton Herta, and ahead of hard chargers Romin Grosjean, Graham Rahal and Pato O’Ward. Notice the changing of the guard in Indy Car!

NASCAR was at Las Vegas last weekend, clearly the most boring racetrack on the circuit. With only a few yellow flags and not much real racing, Denny Hamlin secured his place in the next round of the playoffs by winning the race over Chase Elliott and the rest of the Toyota gang in Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Busch. Ryan Blaney continues to be the best Ford with a fifth-place finish.

On Saturday night Josh Berry took his “fill-in role” for Michael Annett to victory circle in a better race but not by much. Justin Allgaier made it a race also driving a Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet with a third Jr. Chevy next in Noah Gragson. Austin Cindric was next with another poor racer-driver, Daniel Hemric in for fifth. I say Cindric and Hemric are not good racers because Hemric has never won in any NASCAR class and Cindric falls back whenever he is in a real race with an equal car and driver.

The best of the Las Vegas race offerings was the truck show where Christian Eckes won for the first time in his career in a bit of a cliff-hanger where Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Todd Gilliland followed. Gilliland had been the class of the field but faded in the end to fifth.

NHRA starts a ten day meet this weekend in Texas where everything is bigger. It will end the following weekend when the Nitro cars and others will compete for series championship points. Steve Torrence won again last weekend and Matt Hagan won in Top Fuel Funny Cars while Erica Enders took the Pro Stock final.

Lewis Hamilton took the Formula One race in Russia in a drive substantially impacted by a late-race rain. Max Verstappen took second after starting last. It was a good race!

The month of October will be highlighted at Thunderhill, on the 23rd and 24th with the On-Grid charitable fundraising event supporting the Teen Car Clinics that are run at Thunderhill for kids of all ages who get behind the wheel. Every year 5000 or more young kids, just starting life, make a fatal mistake or are the victim of another’s fatal error, and die.

The program conducted by the Friends of Thunderhill, a 501 C-3 charitable Foundation, actually saves young lives by providing experiences and the necessary corrections while the kids are driving their personal streetcar. It works, so the folks at On Grid decided to help. You can too by attending the event and enjoying the games, live music with national recording stars, entertainment and camping over night if desired. Call the raceway for the latest ticket information. 530-934-5588 E 101. Ask for David Vodden.