Motorsports News by David Vodden
The National Hot Rod Association [NHRA] ended its 2021 year in Pomona last weekend with championships going to Steve Torrence in Top Fuel dragsters; Ron Capps in Top Fuel funny cars, Greg Anderson in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock motorcycles. Torrence won the title for the fourth year in a row having captured eleven final wins in his family owned dragster this season. Torrence has mellowed a bit since his errant behavior a few years back but still comes over as a rich kid racing on daddy’s money when he is interviewed. I hope he continues to mature and that someone gives him a run for the 2022 Top Fuel dragster title. Ron Capps’s Funny Car title is the second of his career and was in doubt on Sunday as Matt Hagan had a legitimate shot at the title. Capps’s title came with only two final wins in the season but a lot of final round appearances. Capps is a pleasure to listen to when interviewed. He is likable and intelligent and comes over as a good ambassador for the sport. Greg Anderson has 99 career final wins in Pro Stock and five titles in this sedan-based class. He is sponsored by Hendrick Cars.com, the same Rick Hendrick that owns four NASCAR teams that includes NASCAR champion Kyle Larsen. Matt Smith took the Pro Stock motorcycle title for the fifth time and second time in a row. All champions were leading in their point battles entering the NHRA season final at the LA County Fairgrounds. NHRA resumes straight line racing in Pomona again starting on Feb 17th. This is same weekend that NASCAR races at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. Actually, NASCAR has a one-off special event called the Busch Clash on February 6th. It will feature drivers invited based on if they won a race or pole position in 21, or were a past champion who is currently racing. There should be about twenty cars racing on a track to be built in the center of the LA Coliseum before what is expected to be a huge crowd. This is a novelty event that will get lots of attention on television and by attendance but the racing on a quarter mile paved track built for one event is doubtful. Should be interesting.
Lewis Hamilton won the grand prix in Brazil last weekend closing the point gap for the championship to just 14 points behind Max Verstappen who finished second after Hamilton ran him down and passed. Verstappen remained second with Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valterri Bottas, third and Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez fourth. It will be a fight to the finish between Mercedes and Red Bull, aka Honda. There are three races left with the Qatar Grand Prix this weekend on ESPN.
Kyle Larsen has been all over the news and social media as the new NASCAR Cup series champion. He revealed that he and Chase Elliott will race at Placerville Fairgrounds tonight and Merced raceway mid-week next. Larsen will run the Chili Bowl starting Jan 12th and ending on the 15th. These are amazing times to see these nationally famous race car drivers in action for a fraction of what it would cost to see them in a big NASCAR race. I admire Elliott for trying to race sprint cars and midgets. I assume he is doing this to learn tight quarter racing and aggressive passing techniques, and the skills that make Larsen the racer that he is. The dirt world in a sprint car involves instant decision making in tight quarters using the throttle to steer to negotiate the turns. These are all valuable skills that help racers at any level.
The traditional 25 Hours of Thunderhill is the weekend of December 4th and 5th where you can see exotic Le Mans - type race cars go at it for 25 hours non-stop. You can see that race for $15/car/day at the gate.
For the record Jeff Gordon is spelled this way.