by Bob Priddy, Contributing Editor
(NASCAR)—Chase Elliott’s luck held this time. After seeing defeat torn from the jaws of victory two races in a row, Elliott grabbed the lead late in the 500-km race at Charlotte and stayed at the point until the checkered flag dropped.
In the last two races, Elliott was crashed out of one race by Kyle Busch while running second at Darlington, then done-in by a pit stop two laps from the win during last Sunday’s 600-mile race at Charlotte.
Elliott had to wait an extra day because the race had been rained out Wednesday night and was interrupted for 75 minutes by rain and lightning last night about thirty laps in. He took the lead from a fading Kevin Harvick with 28 laps left and finished 2.2 seconds ahead of Denny Hamlin, who had started 29th.
Harvick, whose car was set up for short runs, finished tenth, keeping his streak of top ten finishes intact.
Clint Bowyer, our semi-Missourian, who started next-to-last, 39th, drove his way into the top ten briefly before a penalty for entering the pits too fast set him far back. He salvaged 16th place.
The rain-delayed race shortens the turnaround time for Cup teams even more than usual during the compressed schedule of races NASCAR has set up in its return to racing. The next race is Sunday at Bristol, 500 laps on the .533-mile track. Teams then get a full week off before running three races at three different tracks in eight days before resuming the usual weekly schedule.
(INDYCAR)—Indycar is just a week away from starting its delayed season. The green flag is to fall at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night, June 6. The pandemic is forcing the series to condense its schedule into one day of practice, qualifying, and the race, which will be run with empty grandstands. The rescheduling of all activities into one day and the late scheduled start (7:45 our time) has forced INDYCAR to shorten the race from the usual 248 laps to 200. The race will be the first of fifteen on this year’s schedule.
(FORMULA 1)—Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of this season. His contract runs out and Ferrari already has contracted with Carlos Sainz to replace him in 2021. Sainz is moving over from McLaren and will team with Charles LeClerc. Sainz will be replaced at McLaren in 2021 by Daniel Ricciardo, who is leaving Renault after two years and hopes to bring McLaren its first F1 victory since 2012. Vettel’s future is uncertain. His chase for a fifth championship while at Ferrari was disappointing and he has admitted the Coronavirus pandemic has forced him to re-evaluate his personal priorities. He’s 32 and has three children.
F1 still has not decided when to start its 2020 season although discussions are underway to begin in July. The series schedule is hampered by the international pandemic and the growing number of cases in several of the markets where Formula 1 usually races.