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Race Weekend Review - June 11, 2017

F1 Hamilton No-2 MontrealCGV 50 poster

Formula One Grand Prix of Canada at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal
Hamilton leads from flag to flag to take the win in a Mercedes one-two finish

Sunday, June 11, 2017: After Lewis Hamilton won the pole by more than seven-tenths over Seb Vettel he had to be the favourite to win the race. And win the race he did. He jumped out into the lead on the start and he never looked back. He was able to run the whole 70-lap race with just one pit stop for tires and his lead was so big at that point that he came back out in the lead.

At the start, the Red Bull driver Max Verstappen shot forward from the third row into second place ahead of the Valtteri Bottas Mercedes and Vettel's Ferrari.

A crash on the first lap brought out the safety car and the order remained the same – Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen – after the track went green again. Vettel had had his front wing damaged in the scamble at the start and he pitted for a new wing at lap 4 falling to the back of the field. Unfortunately for Verstappen, who had looked set for an excellent finish, his car pooped out – electrical problems – on lap 10 bringing out the virtual safety car.

The Canadian driver Lance Stroll started from 17th in the Williams but by lap 17 he was up to ninth place with hopes of finally scoring some championship points. After that he maintained good pace running in about that position – staying ahead of Fernando Alonso much of the time. He held on to finish a credible ninth – well in the points.

Both Ferrari drivers eventually made a second pit stop for tires while most of the others were getting by on one stop. This set them back temporarily but, on fresher tires, they both worked their way back forward. Vettel pitted later – on lap 48 – but he only lost one position to Raikkonen. Now the order was Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, and Esteban Ocon ahead of the two Ferraris.

Now, with about 15 laps left to the finish, both Ferraris made a charge to get past the two Force India cars ahead of them. On lap 60, Raikkonen went straight on at the final chicane letting Vettel gain a position.

Now Vettel had the two Force India cars – in fourth and fifth – in his sights and he made a charge in the final ten laps, Ocon went wide and this let Vettel through. On lap 68, he passed Perez for fourth – but there was no time left for him to challenge Ricciardo for the third step on the podium. So the order behind the two Mercedes drivers ended up as Ricciaro, Vettel, and Perez.

This year, 2017, is the 50th anniversary of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix. The first race was held as a one-off in August of the Centennial Year, 1967, at Mosport. This year's race is actually the 48th running of the Grand Prix, given that the event was not held in 1975, 1987 and 2009 – in every case, a dispute over funding between the organizers and the F1 teams was the cause of the cancellation.

After the first year, the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs (CASC) was granted ASN status and the right to stage the race annually. It went to Le Circuit at Mont Tremblant in 1968 and 1970, alternating with Mosport. After 1970, the GP ran at Mosport until 1977.

Labatt's knew that they had to find a way to make the event bigger and after an abortive bid to stage it at Toronto's Exhibition Place in 1988, the GP went to its present location on Ile Notre Dame an artificial island which had been built as part of the Expo 67 site in Montreal.

The GP has prospered here and it is well entrenched despite the two interruptions in its sequence of annual Grands Prix. During the 1987 hiatus the pits were relocated to a better place that offered more space for the facilities – and this made it a better spectator circuit as well.

As one would expect, the race organization here made a real effort to recognize this 50th anniversary of the event with displays around the track and in the downtown area. Of course, a Mosport loyalist might have hoped for a bit more recognition of the Mosport years – and, for that matter, the Mont Tremblant years, but this is only to be expected given that the race has been held at this Montreal venue since the iconic Villeneuve win in 1978.

This week, during the event, an announcement was made that their contract with Formula One Group (the new Liberty Media ownership) will be extended to 2029, so the future of this event seems assured.

The next Formula One Grand race is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku on Sunday, June 25.

IndyCar Power TMS winner

Verizon IndyCar Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway
Power survives a wild night in Texas to take a dominant win

Saturday, June 10, 2017: Penske drove Will Power led here at Texas for 180 of the races 248 laps – including the final 12 laps. The race which saw nine caution periods ended under yellow. Tony Kanaan came back for a penalty which dropped him two laps down to finish in second place. 2016 champion Simon Pagenaud was third ahead of the Detroit double winner Graham Rahal

The Oakville driver James Hinchcliffe was unable to finish the race after he was caught up in the late race altercation which brought out the final yellow. Four cars, including Takuma Sato and Scott Dixon battling for second place right behind Power, were involved in that crash which occurred in Turn 1 on Lap 244. Hinchcliffe was credited with a 14th-place finish.

The 'big one' came at lap 152 when Kanaan, Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin went three wide into Turn 3. The cars of Kanaan and Hinchcliffe touched, ricocheting Hinchcliffe into Aleshin and triggering a mishap involving nine cars. The track was red-flagged for 30 minutes while they cleaned up the wreckage. Kanaan was given a stop-and-go penalty for his role in causing this wreck which dropped him two laps down in the running order.

During the race some cars were encountering abnormal tire wear problems. No doubt this was the result of race day temperatures which were higher than they had been under test conditions. Starting with lap 190, IndyCar threw three 'competition cautions' to allow everyone to change their tires ion order to mitigate the risks of tire failure as the tires deteriorated in the heat.

Dixon retained the Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead despite finishing ninth after being collected by the spinning Sato on Lap 244 with Pagenaud in second, 13 points behind (326 to 313 points).

The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is on Sunday, June 25 at Road America.

MENCS Pocono WinnerActionShot 061117

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway
Blaney shows his potential with a win at Pocono

Sunday, June 11, 2017: Ryan Blaney has been showing signs this year that he is ready to assume his place among the top drivers in the Cup series. His career took another giant step forward here at Pocono when he led the final ten laps of the 160-lap race and held off Kevin Harvick for the win. The young rookie, Erik Jones, who is clearly another future star in the next generation of Cup drivers, finished third. Kurt Busch was fourth and Brad Keselowski fifth.

When the final caution ended on lap148, Kyle Busch, who had been the dominant driver up to then – having led 100 laps already – was now on older tires and Blaney was soon past him for the race lead and he led the rest of the way to the checker. Blaney, 23, is also the youngest first-time winner since Bayne, who was 20 years old when he took the checkered flag for the Wood Brothers at Daytona.

The next MENCS race is at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 18.

NXS Pocono Keselowski-Action 061017

NASCAR XFINITY Series Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway
A last lap charge past Larson gives Keselowski the victory

Saturday, June 10, 2017: Kyle Larson was in the lead when he took the white flag in this 100-lap race at Pocono – but Brad Keselowski had been breathing down his neck for the last few laps – and Justin Allgaier was right up behind Keselowski. Larson held the lead through the first corner of this triangular track but Keselowski dove past into the lead at the tunnel turn – and Allgaier dispatched Larson for second place by the final turn leaving Larson to settle for third place in this Xfinity series race.

Kyle Benjamin, driving the No. 20 Gibbs Toyota, started from the pole and he led the first 21 laps. After that he traded the lead with Keselowski and Cole Custer until a cycle of green-flag pit stops upset the order with Allgaier inheriting the lead when the front runners pitted.

This set up a situation in which the first eleven cars were going to have to pit again while the cars that had been leading up to now would likely regain their places at the front when these eleven eventually had to pit.

They held off pitting as long as they could and the yellow they were waiting for came on lap 80 – and the other drivers who had pitted under green earlier did cycle back around the front of the field with Custer in the lead ahead of Keselowski and Elliott Sadler. On the restart, which came on lap 85, Keselowski made a move to pass Custer for the lead but he slid – or was pushed – up into the wall and he fell back to 13th place.

Meanwhile Allgaier, who had taken the restart outside the top ten, was charging up through the field and by lap 88 he was already up to third place. A lap later and Keselowski was in the fight, right behind Allgaier. He passed Allgaier for third with eight laps to go and this set up that final lap shuffle that saw Keselowski win the race.

Elliott Sadler finished in fourth place with Daniel Suarez in fifth. Brendan Gaughan was sixth while Custer had to settle for a seventh-place finish. Benjamin, who had led the first few laps of the race, ended up in 16th place.

The next Xfinity Series is at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, June 17.

NCWTS TMS Bell Trophy 060917

NASCAR Camping World Trucks Winstaronlinegaming.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway
Bell edges Briscoe for the win under caution

Friday, June 9, 2017: It was Christopher Bell by a hairbreadth over Chase Briscoe after the yellow flew on the white-flag lap and the race ended under caution. And you thought that you would never see another NASCAR race end under caution again. As Bell and Briscoe too the final restart side-by-side on lap 166 of the 167-lap race, a big wreck erupted behind them bringing out the caution and ending the race.

Austin Self lost control as he entered the front stretch tri-oval and he collected Timothy Peters. This knocked Peters of the track where his truck dug in and executed a series of barrel rolls before coming to rest. The veteran truck driver Peters had lost his ride when the Red Horse team was shut down a few weeks ago – and for this race he managed to pick up a ride with another team.

Because Bell and Briscoe were running side-by-side when the yellow flew, at first it was unclear which of them would be the race winner – but NASCAR, after examining their video, declared Bell the winner. Bell had been running up front as of lap 70 – with Briscoe taking over for the six laps leading up to the final caution and restart. This is Bell's second win of the 2017 season and his fourth win in the truck series. This leaves him in second place in the championship points standings, 40 points behind Johnny Sauter.

Grant Enfinger was third, with Ryan Truex fourth and Ben Rhodes fifth. Given that this truck race was the only NASCAR race here at Texas Speedway this weekend – it was run as a support race for the IndyCar race – there were no Cup regulars in the field of drivers.

The next NCWTS race is at Gateway Motorsports Park in Gateway, Illinois (near St. Louis), on Saturday, June 17.

Photo Credits
F1: Daimler
IndyCar: Chris Owens/IndyCar
MENCS: Getty Images for NASCAR
NXS: Chris Trotman/Getty Images/NASCAR
NCWTS: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images/NASCAR

Box Score Results

Results of F1 at Montreal
Results of IndyCar at TMS
Results of MENCS at Pocono
Results of NSX at Pocono
Results of NCWTS at TMS

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