KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race
The end of the workweek is upon us again and it’s time for that weekly tour of the motorsports world — The Friday Morning Heat Race.
While many of you are still digging out, our track is dry and ready to run 10 laps:
1. It was great news this week to hear that Cristiano da Matta will return to big-time racing this season, driving for Paul Gentilozzi’s Jaguar team in the American Le Mans Series. It’s been a long road back for the Brazilian driver after he almost died following a crash where his Indy car hit a deer while testing at Road America in 2006.
2. Our ears also perked up upon hearing that Sebastien Bourdais tested Dale Coyne’s Indy car. It appears the two may work out a deal for Bourdais to race in the IndyCar Series this season. The Frenchman won four consecutive Champ Car World Series titles before bolting for Formula One the same year Champ Car and IndyCar merged. Bourdais drove in the Int’l Le Mans Series last year.
3. If Bourdais, da Matta and his Jaguar teammate Bruno Junqueira are all back in racing full time next season, it will sure increase the workload for editors and proofreaders. Personally, always have to double check Junqueira or Sebastien (Bourdais).
4. We hear NASCAR has moved the start times of its Sprint Cup races during the Chase back to 2 p.m. “so not to conflict with the NFL.” NFL games start at 1 p.m. and last until 4 p.m., with another round beginning at 4. So, how exactly does that not conflict with the NFL? Personally, I’d much rather watch the final half of an NFL game than the first 200 laps of a Sprint Cup race. But that’s just me.
5. The All Star sprint-car season was scheduled to open last night at Screven Speedway in Georgia and will continue Friday and Saturday at Florida’s Ocala Speedway. It will be interesting to see if two-time defending series champion Tim Shaffer remains as dominant as he was last season.
6. It’s that time of year when Formula One teams spend millions of dollars to launch their new model race cars, which in most cases look just like the car from the year before. Couldn’t there be better uses for all those Euros?
7. Was anyone shocked that Ted Christopher won the TQ midget race at Atlantic City last weekend? TC is one of a handful of racing drivers who can truly drive anything.
8. Racing in Florida kicks off this weekend with open-wheel modified action at East Bay Raceway Park, beginning four weeks of Speedweek action at the third-mile dirt track in Gibsonton, Fla. Competition at Volusia Speedway Park and New Smyrna Speedway will kick off next week.
Yellow Flag. Don’t forget to buy your NSSN merchandise and other items at the NSSN Store on this website.
Red Flag. National Speed Sport News readers beware. The Feb. 2 issue of NSSN may be late arriving in your mailbox as the massive winter storm, which hit most of the country has created significant delivery delays with United States Postal Service.
9. Danica Patrick, Aric Almirola, Ron Hornaday, Jr. and Nelson Piquet, Jr. tested their NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series machines at Georgia’s Gresham Motorsports Park earlier this week. Meanwhile many teams have been using Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla., to shake down the cars they hope to run at Phoenix Int’l Raceway during the second NASCAR weekend in late February.
10. Still trying to figure out the reasoning behind who gets a berth in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona next week, and who does not. Kevin Conway, but not A.J. Allmendinger? Derrike Cope, but not David Reutimann? Go figure.
On the Trailer. Since we correctly picked the Super Bowl match up two weeks ago, here’s our Super Bowl prediction: Steelers 24, Packers 20.