This has been one of the most entertaining spring sessions in the sport I can remember, and we have been doing this a while!
We’re seeing lots of changes, lots of different results and different faces at the top. For those of us who like some variety, it’s been great stuff to watch and cover.
It might be a coin-toss as to what series has experienced the most significant changing of the guard, but let’s go with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series first.
The first seven races of the new 2014 season produced seven different winners, and that’s unusual.
We didn’t get our first repeat winner until Darlington, where “The Lady Too Tough to Tame” allowed Kevin Harvick into victory lane for a second time.
NASCAR’s change in the Chase qualifying format that puts more emphasis on winning, has drivers thinking and talking more about wins than points, since all you need to do is basically win one race to make the playoff.
Not only are we seeing some extremely good racing in CUP so far with the drivers pushing harder for “that win”, I for one, like the look of the cars this season.
I’m not a big fan of ugly race cars.
Called the Generation Six or “Gen 6 “car, they look tougher, meaner and fast, even standing still.
The elimination of pre and post-race front ride height rules and tech inspections, a new square leading edge for the front splitter, adjustments to the side skirt and rear fascia areas, plus the eight-inch rear spoiler has the cars looking less box-like with a lower racier profile.
I just think they look more like stock cars.
The Formula One World Driving Championship so far has not looked anything like the last few seasons and for those bored with The Red Bull/Sebastian Vettel domination, this is very good news.
The new cars wrapped around brand new V-6 turbo-charged engines have been a handful for many teams trying to find grip and aero balance, save Mercedes and drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
The Mercs have been the class of the field so far, already enjoying a sizable lead in the Constructor’s points tally.
So far it’s been a Mercedes party! Rosberg won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, then proceeded to finish behind stable-mate Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia and Bahrain, back to back.
They are also 1-2 in F-1 driver points.
Force India is second in Constructor Points! Where are McLaren and Ferrari? They are fighting mid-pack and toward the back with Vettel and Red Bull!
The F-1 landscape has changed drastically this spring, and you won’t hear me complaining!
On the down side, there have been complaints and howls of protest from some promoters and fans over the much quieter and raspier engine sound.
Some promoters say the much less dramatic F-1 engine note is not what fans pay for and are demanding a rule change to get the car sound back closer to the ear-splitting scream they used to emit up to this season.
I do prefer the wicked screech of the old motors, but a smaller, lower-revving V-6 that’s also turbo-charged can’t sound anything close to the old power plants, so adjusting the sound of their show is not an easy fix.
The IndyCars entered the new season with a brand new and badly needed title sponsor, Verizon. The largest cellular telephone provider in the States comes on board as the main bill-payer.
After supporting Penske Racing for several seasons, Verizon already understands the series. Their familiarity with the drivers, the administration and inner-workings of IndyCar will mean positive strides in marketing, communications and technology.
Four-time Series champ and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti has retired, former champ Juan Montoya has returned, lone Canadian James Hinchcliffe has stumbled a bit out of the gate, and there’s still a twin-bill IndyCar race this summer in Toronto.
IndyCar continues to be a big mountain on the Canadian racing landscape.
On the Canadian Motor Speedway beat, crews are just waiting for the slow-to-arrive warmer weather to thaw the ground on the Fort Erie site so work to finish Miller Creek can continue, and excavation on the core land can begin.
CMS has been out at various sports and trade shows over the winter with our display, talking it up. Fans are very excited the project is underway and can’t wait for that first race!
This is going to be a huge spring and summer for CMS, and you can catch all the updates right here on cdnmotorspeedway.com
The local Niagara Speedways: Merrittville, Ransomville and Humberstone, that form the racing fan base in the region, are into testing and tuning as their seasons are ready to bloom.
Merrittville, the longest operating dirt track in Canada, is set to open their 63rd consecutive season!
The snow blower has officially been put away, and the lawn mower test-started first pull.
The Rights of Spring are lining up as they should, as the 2014 racing season is ready to fire on all cylinders right across the board!