Last corner drama at Watkins Glen

Weekend Racing Wrap

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NASCAR’s annual visit to former F1 venue Watkins Glen reached a dramatic conclusion when the race leader ran out of fuel approaching the final corner.

Petter Solberg failed to reach the final of a World Rallycross round for the first time since the championship was created last year. The reigning champion crashed in the semi-final during the Canadian round.


Round 22: Watkins Glen

Joey Logano scored his first victory since the opening round of the NASCAR season in dramatic style after Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel as he approached the final corner. Harvick fell to third at the flag behind Kyle Busch as NASCAR made its second and final visit to a road course this year.

Next race: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn (16th August)

World Rallycross Championship

Round 7: Circuit Trois-Rivières, Canada

Davy Jeanney won his second World Rallycross event of the season, but the major talking point was the absence of reigning Champion Petter Solberg from the final, the first time such an event has occurred since the Championship began last year.

In the first semi-final Timmy Hansen started on pole alongside Solberg, but the two made contact heading to turn one, with Hansen hitting the wall and breaking his suspension. On the exit the pair made contact again, with Solberg spinning into the wall. Hansen continued with broken suspension but landed badly from a jump and took himself and Reinis Nitiss into a wall and out of the race. Solberg recovered to fourth, but it wasn’t enough to make the final.

Despite this he retains his Championship lead, as the podium was completed by Toomas Heikkinen and Tanner Foust.

Next race: Norway (22nd-23rd August)

British Touring Car Championship

Round 6: Snetterton

The qualifying session on Saturday saw a rare occurrence, as three of the four Team BMR Volkswagens locked out the top three spots on the grid, headed by reigning Champion Colin Turkington. The three remained in the same order through the opening race, as Turkington won from Aron Smith and Jason Plato.

Fastest lap in race one gave Turkington pole for race two, and once more he drove into the distance to a comfortable win by BTCC standards ahead of a hard-fought second for Adam Morgan with Andy Priaulx third. The action happened behind however, as the series managed a weekend’s worth of drama in the opening three laps. Honda duo Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden tangled, Aron Smith and Dave Newsham also limped back to the pits, and a late lunge from Martin Depper eliminated himself and Warren Scott, and sent team mate Jeff Smith pit-ward too.

Number six was picked from the reverse grid fishbowl and promoted Jack Goff to pole position, and he seized the opportunity to grab his maiden victory. Despite having a fast-starting rear wheel drive BMW alongside, Goff nailed his start and had opened up a comfortable gap by the end of the first lap. Jason Plato was soon through into second but couldn’t reel Goff in, though the leader nearly threw victory away at the penultimate corner.

Plato now leads the championship from Turkington while Shedden – who had been leading by ten points before the weekend – left in third, 32 points adrift.

Race highlights are not yet available

Next race: Knockhill (23rd August)

Guest series: Australian F3

Round 6: Snetterton

Another national Formula Three championship is under threat in Australia. The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport will switch its support from F3 to the FIA’s Formula Four category next year.

Last weekend’s Australian F3 triple-header at Queensland saw Jon Collins take his tenth win out of fifteen races so far, although his consistent rival Ricky Capo is just 14 points behind in the championship.

Over to you

What other motor racing action did you take in over the weekend? And what are you looking forward to next weekend? Let us know in the comments.

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24 comments on “Last corner drama at Watkins Glen”

  1. Round 10 of 18 in Moto GP, which took place at Indianapolis.

    Marquez won from Lorenzo, whilst Rossi salvaged a 3rd place ahead of Pedrosa.
    Rossi still leads the Championship, 9 Pts. ahead of Loranzo & 56 ahead of Marquez.

    Next race is at Brno Circuit next weekend.

    1. Let’s hope Marquez goes on another killing spree.

    2. Oh wow, Rossi on the lead? What happened to Marquez, Honda not that good or just something clicked?

  2. Just a note for those interested. CAMS who runs most motorsport events in Australia has slowly amalgated the Formula Ford and Formula 3 championships into the new F4 format. Formula Ford vaished this year and F3, it was known from within was to follow. This is to bring the championship under the same rules/regulations as FIA’s Formula Renault 3.5 championship in europe, which will hopefully see a more natural progression for single seater hopefuls in Australia to the British series.
    In the past, Australian drivers have had to gain success in Formula Ford for a season, then go over to England and hope to get a decent drive to show their talent in the British Formula Ford championship, now that Formula Renault 3.5 is all the rage, CAMS is trying to bridge that gap. Unfortunately, I think there are some talents that will have fallen through the cracks, Jack Le Brock, one of the most hopeful single seat drivers we’ve ever seen, has gone the way of tin top racing and is in the feeder series for the V8 supercars.

    1. Early days but the restructure is looking pretty schlick. Jelly of all the children racing the F4 cars, they look proper good.

  3. I really enjoyed watching round 4 of the Japanese Super GT championship at Fuji. (NISMO TV broadcast the race with English commentary from Radio Le Mans.) I watched it because Heikki Kovalainen is racing there this season but the action was really good, too. There were 44 cars on the track, divided in two classes, so something was happening all the time. There was a nice battle for the lead in the main class between a Nissan (Ronnie Quintarelli) and a Lexus (Hiroaki Ishiura) and then both were caught and passed by another Nissan (Daiki Sasaki)! There was also a pass for 3rd on the final lap when de Oliveira (Nissan) got by Quintarelli. All of that did not feel artificial even though the series uses success ballast, which is not the best way to improve the quality of racing imho.


      Here’s the highlights from the race. The next round is the Suzuka 1000km, the biggest race on the schedule on 30 August (same weekend as the 6h of Nurb).

      Regarding success ballast… it doesn’t stop you from enjoying BTCC and Blancpain GT, does it? And would you rather have DRS?

      1. @rjoconnell Thanks for the link! I do not watch BTCC and Blancpain GT so you probably know better how the success ballast works there.

        It might be better than DRS or reverse grids. The good thing is that it gives the poorer teams a chance to win a race or at least score a podium.

        There are several things that I do not like about the handicap weight though. Basically, it just feels wrong to punish someone for doing a better job than the others. I would rather read in a race preview that “team X should be strong here because the circuit suits their cars” than “team Y is unlikely to win here because they were very good in the last races and now they need to carry extra weight”.

        As it is the case with all gimmicks, the well-thought system can go wrong easily. For instance, imagine if Alonso had to carry more success ballast than Vettel after the first half of 2012. Would it really be fair and good for the championship? Or take a look at DTM this season: there have been five events and both races have been won by the same manufacturer in every one of them.

        As I said, I really enjoyed the Super GT race on Sunday but I do not want to see the success ballast in my favourite series, F1 and WEC.

      2. FlyingLobster27
        10th August 2015, 16:11

        I saw the race and I noticed that the ballast doesn’t pin the laden cars nearly as badly as in the DTM. Matsuda/Quintarelli were on high ballast, yet Matsuda got a fantastic start, and Quintarelli caught up with race leader Ishiura. In the end, the charge may have worn Quinta’s tyres down and that cost him third vs. JPDO. Point is, when you’re on high ballast in the DTM, you can just forget about finishing as high as fourth like Matsuda/Quintarelli did. I hope the DTM adopts Super GT’s ballast system in their convergence, as it is a bit fairer based on how many points each car has, rather than whose turn it is to wipe the floor.

    2. @girts Of all the crazy things governing bodies can come up with succes ballast is one of the least noticable and fair to all if you ask me. It works for those series but I also agree it would not in WEC or F1. Looking forward to 6H of Nurburgring though.

      1. I don’t mind success ballast, but would prefer it if it were based on championship position and not on the results of the last race / last weekend.

  4. Nascar’s circuit racing always looks unnatural. Like a horse swimming. It’s just awkward.

    1. @prof-kirk Yeah, they look as slow in the corners as a Formula E car does on the straights. Love Watkins Glen, though, IndyCar had some good races there (on the full-length track).

      1. NASCAR is looking to run the boot section of the track. A repaving project is currently underway which will take the bumps out giving them the option to run the full circuit. I hope they do it.

    2. @prof-kirk I disagree, yes they’re big and heavy and unwieldy under-tyred, under-braked, 4-speed old-tech cars, but with big powerful V8s they’re fast down the straights so the rest of the stuff means long braking zones and difficult to control cars through the corners. The result is fantastic racing where the driver really makes a huge difference. They may not be the most elegant things on a road course but I think they’re far from unnatural and I wish they did it more often.

      1. Completely agree. This year’s last lap pass was down to fuel mileage, but 2012’s was not and that was probably even better last lap racing.

        (NASCAR is just spoiled with last lap passes for the lead even on road courses. They are doing something right, it’s not just the closeness of oval racing.)

  5. Meanwhile in Xfinity Series

      1. Reading comments and fan reaction to what happened there makes me feel very sad because of the direction humanity seems to be taking…

        1. As expected from “NASCAR” fans.

    1. It was not a straightforward accident at all. Ty’s move was extremely late, Smith did not leave him room at all, though. Modern-day race car driving etiquette says you always have to leave enough space.

      However, Smith was already two-wide and since the guy on the outside cannot sensibly expect someone to go three-wide that late, and thus forced Smith to the inside entirely justifiably, this one is on Ty.

      He even apologised later on.

      1. Luckily we didn’t see that at Spa last year..

  6. This is a little bit of a long one, but bear with me please.

    I’ve been a diehard F1 fan since the day I was born (in 1996), but NASCAR has become a breath of fresh air for me. Beginning with a little personal history: I used to dislike oval racing. I was never really a hater, I just couldn’t enjoy it. Things began to change when I began oval racing in sims (iRacing particularly), where I have really enjoyed the close racing and gained an appreciation of the different style of racing that I simply didn’t understand before. Last year I committed to the whole IndyCar championship (rather than just the occasional road race that I enjoyed previously), and I found I was really enjoying the ovals. This year I made the decision to watch NASCAR – having previously never been able to sit through a whole race. And what do you know, I’ve been loving it. If you’d told me that I was becoming a NASCAR fan 3 years ago I would’ve laughed in your face – again, not because I “hated” on it, but simply because at the time I could barely sit through 10 laps.

    The thing that has really got me interested in NASCAR is the back-to-basics nature of it. The relatively simple old tech cars mean that it’s something relatively easy to understand, and the playing field is relatively more even. Yes, the big giants like Penske, Gibbs, Stewart-Haas, Hendricks and the like win the most, but the equivalents of Sauber and Force India still win every now and then, and even the likes of Manor have at least some chance (and, of course, having those 4 organisations fielding 14 cars for all 3 manufacturers is still better than F1 by miles). This closeness of competition also means that the idea of the chase, which is sometimes hated on, kinda works. It never will in F1, but with so many drivers being able to win in a NASCAR season it does mean that added emphasis on winning is worth having.

    The close competition also means that almost every race is at the very least, not boring (interjection: I am one of those people who believes not every F1 needs to be a classic – however I do think that too many races are too boring). The cars are big, heavy, powerful, loud, somewhat unstable and generally exciting. The drivers have to muscle them around the track. They can follow closely and passing is not so frequent to be unskillful, but not so infrequent to make the racing stagnant.

    Then, there’s the strategy aspect. The cars have very few, if any, sensors sending information back to the pits. It’s all on the driver to relay information back to the team to decide on setup adjustments during the pit stops. Pit stops are also great in NASCAR – and pretty much the polar opposite of F1. Drivers generally have to slow the car down from 150-200mph to 50mph and hold it there with no more aid than a light on the tach. I’ve grown to love watching the crewmen leap off the wall, carrying heavy equipment, and coordinate a pitstop nascar style. F1 pit stops are a work of art in their own right, but with relatively little chance of error (usually technical error too, rather than human) they’re simply less exciting to me. Going back to the lack of data in NASCAR, fuel consumption is wholly under the control of the driver. 2 races in a row (last week at Pocono and this week at the Glen) I have been on the edge of my seat watching as cars fall away as they run out of fuel, wondering if the new leader will make it. In F1, there would be no doubt, because the team would be informing the driver exactly how much fuel he has at any given point in time and how hard he can push. It really just takes the fun away.

    The tl;dr of this is that NASCAR does a lot of things right that F1 simply doesn’t. There’s even more stuff I haven’t mentioned like the better experience for fans. In any case, I’m not asking F1 to become NASCAR because some elements of NASCAR-style completion wouldn’t suit F1. But what I am saying is that maybe there are some things that F1 can learn from NASCAR, before they get too carried away barking up the wrong tree as is usually the case.

    1. I don’t think you need to defend yourself. Yes this is an F1 fansite, but I enjoy most motorsport. I’m not a Nascar lover or hater, but do enjoy watching it from time to time (too many races to commit to full time!).
      I’m not a fan of the scheduled full course cautions, but do enjoy the race off pit road.
      Would be intrigued to see Nascar style pit stops in F1, although always hate it when a locking wheel nut ruins a good performance, so maybe more margin for error would not suit F1?
      Most people hate the chase because it is unnatural, but I think it works for Nascar, because that’s just the American way. Every other sport in America has the regular season, then the playoffs. I don’t mind it, but it definitely wouldn’t be right for F1.

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