While not a shift as seismic as the 2021 calendar, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule will feature some major changes. Thirty-six points races continue to be the norm as it has been since 2001.
Announced on Tuesday was the Busch Clash‘s relocation from its only home at Daytona International Speedway to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. A temporary quarter-mile short track will be constructed on the playing surface of the legendary football stadium. As the exhibition race is now located on the opposite side of the country, it is moved back a week to give teams some breathing space before Speedweeks (or just a single Speedweek now) at Daytona to properly kick off the season.
After the Daytona 500 on 20 February, Auto Club Speedway, which lost its 2020 and 2021 dates to COVID-19, returns to the schedule as the second race of the year to kick off the three-race West Coast Swing. The Daytona Road Course, which was first used as a temporary date in 2020 to make up for the lost Watkins Glen International race before doing it again for Auto Club in 2021, is thus not on the 2022 schedule. Following Atlanta Motor Speedway on 20 March, Circuit of the Americas rejoins the calendar after a rainy inaugural race last May.
April is almost exclusively short tracks with Talladega Superspeedway as the lone exception. Perhaps the biggest eye grabber this month is the return of Bristol Motor Speedway‘s dirt layout, though it will be as a night race on Easter Sunday.
The All-Star Race remains at Texas Motor Speedway for 2022, but has been bumped back into its traditional May slot before the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend.
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen’s crash with title rival Lewis Hamilton was a racing incident, in what was a difficult Italian Grand Prix for the team.
After a successful sprint qualifying at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the main race on Sunday was the complete opposite for Red Bull! Championship leader Verstappen who started on pole, lost the lead of the race by the first corner of the opening lap. The opening lap even saw Verstappen and Hamilton almost come to blows, Hamilton who was on the outside of Verstappen entering turns four and five, was forced across the kerbs after not being given enough room by the Dutchman.
The race then became worse for Verstappen, who’s temper flared after an excruciatingly slow pit-stop in very un-Red Bull fashion. The slow stop allowed the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team to capitalise and pit Hamilton, who came out just a car lengths ahead of Verstappen.
Verstappen who was still clearly angry refused to give up the place to Hamilton, the Dutchman tried to go around the outside of Hamilton at turn one to then have the inside line for turn two. There simply wasn’t enough room for the pair, as Verstappen’s Red Bull bounced over the sausage kerbs and launched itself into the air, landing on top of Hamilton’s halo in terrifying fashion.
In what was a horrific and peculiar crash, Verstappen’s rear-right tyre even made contact with Hamilton’s helmet, in what was another example of the supreme job the halo device serves. Both of course were out of the race, Verstappen was caught instantly storming back down the pit-lane.
Sergio Pérez was frustratingly close to a podium finish at the Italian Grand Prix, had it not been for a five-second penalty at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
The Mexican who started the race in eighth battled hard throughout, the Red Bull Racing driver made great progress early on and benefited massively from Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen taking each other out.
Pérez quickly found himself in the top five and in with a real chance of a podium finish, as the safety car period for the title rivals crash came to a close. Then the talking point struck for Pérez, the Mexican overtook Charles Leclerc for third place at turn five but was deemed to have gained an unfair advantage on the Ferrari driver. Pérez ran off the circuit and over the kerbs at turn five to get the pass done, in what was clearly an illegal overtake.
Pérez failed to give back the position and was therefore awarded a five-second time penalty, which when added to his finish time demoted him from third to fifth. The Mexican was disappointed with the penalty and believed that he was ahead of Leclerc, Pérez also congratulated his former-team the Mclaren F1 Team on their victory,
“It was a very eventful race and a real shame to miss out on the podium. With the penalty, I think we hoped for a wider view in the sense that it was my corner and I was ahead of Charles, but it is what it is and we tried to recover. From our side we did the best possible race we could as a Team but overtaking was impossible today and it was really difficult to keep ahead of the cars behind.
Scuderia Ferrari perhaps got the best they could have asked for at the Italian Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc finishing fourth and Carlos Sainz Jr finishing sixth in front of the Tifosi at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
Considering how mixed Ferrari’s weekend had been leading up to the race, fourth and sixth was actually a strong result for the Scuderia. Leclerc fought hard all race and even found himself in second after Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen crashed out. In the end though the Ferrari’s poor straight line speed made Leclerc a sitting duck, Lando Norris, Sergio Pérez (albeit illegally) and Valtteri Bottas all quickly found their way past the Monegasque driver.
Leclerc who actually crossed the line in fifth, was elevated to fourth after Pérez was awarded a five-second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage on Leclerc. The Mexican overtook Leclerc by running off the circuit at turn five.
For Sainz it was a mainly uneventful race in what was his first for Ferrari in front of the Tifosi. The most dramatic moment of Sainz’s race came on the opening lap, the Spaniard sent Antonio Giovinazzi into a half-spin after the Italian rejoined the circuit in an unsafe manner. Sainz was not at fault for the collision and thankfully received no damage to his car.
Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto believes that fourth and sixth was a good result for the team considering their lack of straight line speed, he also made sure to congratulate the Mclaren F1 Team on their first win in nine years.
Charles Leclerc put in a solid performance at Scuderia Ferrari’s home Italian Grand Prix to claim fourth, just missing out on a podium position in front of the Tifosi. Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr finished sixth in his first Italian Grand Prix for Ferrari.
Leclerc put everything he had into Sunday’s race at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, after being in a car that lacked significant speed down the straights. Nevertheless he fought valiantly all race and even found himself in second place, after Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen took each other out on lap twenty-six.
The pairs collision allowed Leclerc to pit under the safety car, meaning he gained several positions on those who had already stopped. Leclerc quickly dropped down to fourth though, first Lando Norris found his way past and then Sergio Pérez followed suit, albeit by running off the circuit. The Mexican was awarded a five-second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage on the Ferrari driver.
It wasn’t long until Leclerc was down to fifth, Valtteri Bottas who was in a much quicker car, also made his way past the Monegasque driver. Fifth place is where Leclerc managed to cross the finish line, but as he was within five-seconds of Pérez, he was elevated up to fourth place just missing out on a podium finish.
Leclerc believes he put everything into the race and is proud of the progress the team have made.
The 2022 Intelligent Money British GT Championship calendar has been announced with a three hour encounter at Donington Park returning to the programme. The schedule sees other changes with Oulton Park returning to its traditional Easter weekend date and the blue riband Silverstone 500 moving forward to an earlier date.
The season opens as has previously been the pattern with a Saturday and Monday race meeting in Cheshire on the Oulton Park International circuit on April 16th and 18th. Two one hour races open the calendar before the attention switches to endurance racing with two three hour races at Silverstone on 7th – 8th May and Donington Park on 28th and 29th May respectively.
Norfolk’s Snetterton Circuit hosts it’s double header of one hour races on the weekend of 25th and 26th June before the annual trip abroad. Once again the British GT Championship opens SRO’s Spa Speedweek with 2 hour race on Belgium’s Formula 1 circuit.
A seven week summer break splits the 2 hour race on the continent, the return to the endurance aspect of the season, from the 2 hour format race at Brands Hatch in Kent on 10th and 11th September. The season wraps up with the Donington Decider on 15th and 16th October.
Details of official Friday test session and the return of the pre-season Media Day test will be released closer to the start of the new season.
What many initially brushed off as one of the most bizarre rumours in recent memory is becoming a reality. After weeks to months of speculation, NASCAR confirmed the Cup Series‘ exhibiton Busch Clash will be moved to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for 2022, and is set to take place on Sunday, 6 February.
The Coliseum, which has been the home of the University of Southern California Trojans football team since 1923, is no stranger to hosting motorsport despite NASCAR being a new endeavour. After World War II, the stadium was one of numerous venues that conducted midget racing on asphalt and board tracks; the 1946 race saw 65,128 in attendance, and the Coliseum held a 500-lap event a year later. In 1972, the concept of stadium motocross was realised with event inside the venue, and the AMA Supercross Championship would regularly visit it until 1998. Rallycross races were held in 2009 and 2010 as part of the X Games, and the Stadium Super Trucks competed there in their inaugural season in 2013.
While the three disciplines each ran on tracks featuring plenty of dirt and jumps, including climbs up and down the famed peristyle, NASCAR will obviously not be considering the same for the Clash. Instead, a temporary, asphalt, quarter-mile oval will be constructed akin to other stadium short tracks like former Cup circuit Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Dirt is still involved to cover the playing surface (once a protective cover is placed) before being paved over for the track itself. Although it is only for an exhibition, the .25-mile track will easily the shortest on any of the national series calendars; Knoxville Raceway and Martinsville Speedway, respectively the shortest overall and paved tracks that host points races, are .500 and .526 miles in length.
Due to this significantly short length, it is unrealistic for NASCAR to squeeze as many as forty cars at one time as in a regular Cup race. The non-points Clash, which usually features grid sizes in the late teens to early twenties as eligibility is generally limited to pole winners and those who meet certain criteria, is thus the only feasible option.
In contrast to the regional series, NASCAR-sanctioned stadium races at the national level are rare. Soldier Field in Chicago (half mile) and Exhibition Stadium (one-third mile) in Toronto respectively welcomed the Cup Series in 1956 and 1958, while the McCormick Field baseball park in Asheville, North Carolina, had a quarter miler with a Cup race in 1958. Dodge Raceway Stadium, a fictional 3.75-mile stadium course, is featured in EA Sports’ NASCAR games and many have drawn parallels between the virtual track and the Coliseum; however, a key difference lies in pit road as Dodge Raceway’s pits are located under the stands while the Coliseum will have it in the infield.
Sheldon Creed is climbing the ladder. On Tuesday, Richard Childress Racing announced the 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and Chevrolet development driver will graduate to the Xfinity Series in 2022. A number and sponsorship were not immediately revealed.
Creed has established himself as a hot prospect in stock cars since making the jump from the off-road realm. The former short course off-road star won the 2018 ARCA Menards Series championship before joining GMS Racing for full-time competition in the Truck Series a year later. As a sophomore in 2020, he led all drivers in wins with five including the Championship Round event to secure the title. He entered the 2021 playoffs as the fifth seed with a win at Darlington 1, and his title defence campaign got off to a quick start as he won the first two postseason races at Gateway and Darlington 2. In seventy career Truck starts since 2016, Creed has eight victories, twenty-two top fives, and thirty-five top tens.
“Sheldon has proved himself as a talented driver during his short NASCAR career and we know that he will help contribute to RCR’s competitive NASCAR Xfinity Series programme with his drive to succeed,” stated team owner Richard Childress. “I am looking forward to watching his career continue to develop as a RCR driver and feel confident that he will represent RCR well both on and off the track.”
While the promotion gives him a new home for the future, it will not be his first foray into the Xfinity Series. In 2017, Creed made his series début as a two-race road course ringer with JD Motorsports but never finished higher than thirty-fourth due to mechanical trouble. Two years later, he ran the Daytona July race for JR Motorsports though was collected in a wreck and was classified thirty-fourth again.
The all-time winningest driver in the Stadium Super Trucks and protégé of SST founder and ex-RCR member Robby Gordon, Creed will be the fifth to race in SST and full-time in Xfinity, joining Greg Biffle, Casey Mears, Travis Pastrana, and Kenny Wallace (P.J. Jones and Stanton Barrett also possess significant Xfinity experience despite never running an entire season); Creed is the only one of the quintet who entered Xfinity after SST. JRM’s Justin Allgaier “competed” against Creed in SST practice/qualifying at Mid-Ohio in June, where the trucks were supporting Xfinity, while former GMS ally-turned-Xfinity regular Brett Moffitt tested a stadium truck in the past. SST has prided itself on stories like Creed’s NASCAR ascent, regarding his success as a testament to how young drivers learning to pilot a stadium truck can translate their newly acquired skill set to other disciplines.
Zak O’Sullivan has enjoyed a stellar debut season in the GB3 Championship, being one of the most consistent performers throughout the 21 races so far.
The first of Carlin‘s two title challengers going into the final round at Donington Park will take a 112-point lead to Leicestershire, with Chris Dittmann Racing‘s Ayrton Simmons just ahead of O’Sullivan’s team-mate Christian Mansell, the Australian also sitting narrowly within the maximum 116 points available at Donington.
O’Sullivan has suffered two retirements this season, one in a collision with early title challenger Reece Ushijima in the reverse-grid Race 3 at Donington in July, and another in Race 2 at Oulton Park, as an ambitious move on Fortec Motorsport‘s wildcard, and reigning F4 British Championship holder Luke Browning, sent the Gloucestershire driver onto the wet grass and into the tyre barriers.
Browning took the title by four points over O’Sullivan after a wet race was shortened at Brands Hatch in the season finale; perhaps the out-of-character risk-taking displayed by that move at Hislop’s was a legacy of last season’s title battle on the British Touring Car Championship support bill.
Meanwhile, Simmons has finished every race but Race 2 at Brands, when his CDR car rode atop Bart Horsten after the pair banged wheels at Druids on Lap 1. He won the first race of that weekend, taking a further three wins across the Championship’s two visits to Silverstone GP.
Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Team Principal Toto Wolff, is frustrated at the mixed weekend the team experienced at the Italian Grand Prix, after Valtteri Bottas finished third and Lewis Hamilton retired from the race.
On a weekend that promised so much for the Mercedes team, it quickly spiralled into one of asking what if? Valtteri Bottas performed brilliantly all weekend, claiming pole position on Friday, winning the sprint race on Saturday and then finishing third on Sunday after starting last.
For world champion Lewis Hamilton it was a weekend where he will just be grateful to have walked away, after crashing out of Sunday’s race in terrifying style. Hamilton’s weekend took a turn for the worse after a poor sprint qualifying, leaving him starting the main race from fourth.
Despite this the British driver made an excellent start and was fighting Max Verstappen for second by turn five on the opening lap, before yet again having to run off the circuit after not being given room by the Dutchman, in a similar incident to Imola.
The pair then came together again as Hamilton was exiting the pits, coming out a cars length ahead of Verstappen. The Dutchman who fell behind Hamilton after having a terrible stop, refused to allow Hamilton to pass, the Dutchman tried to go around the outside of Hamilton at turn one to have the inside at turn two. There simply wasn’t the room however, as Verstappen’s car bounced over the sausage kerbs and launched into the air, his Red Bull Racing car landing on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas completed an excellent weekend at the Italian Grand Prix, with a well deserved third place finish on Sunday, after starting from the back of the grid.
Bottas enjoyed one of his best weekends yet for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, having taken pole position on Friday and then winning the second trial of sprint qualifying on Saturday. With the team opting to take an engine penalty for Sunday’s race, demoting Bottas to the back of the grid, a podium looked a difficult task.
The Finnish driver put in a strong performance though, quickly calving his way through the field and being towards the front come the opening pit-stops. Of course Bottas did have the advantage of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen taking each other out, but nevertheless the driver who is leaving Mercedes at the end of the season, made sure he was in the right position to capitalise.
At one point winning the grand prix looked very possible, Bottas was lapping over a second faster than race winner Daniel Ricciardo during the middle of the race but unfortunately got stuck behind Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez who was occupying third place. This brought an end to Bottas’s charge, as he finished the race behind Pérez who was awarded a five-second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage when overtaking Charles Leclerc.
So it was third place for Bottas, who added crucial points to Mercedes constructor tally, the Finnish driver is very pleased with the weekend and is looking forward to the Russian Grand Prix, one where he has experienced recent success.
The Mclaren F1 Team returned to winning ways for the first time since 2012, in perfect Italian Grand Prix for the team. Daniel Ricciardo claimed his first win since 2018 to see Mclaren return to the top step of the podium, with team-mate Lando Norris completing the teams first one-two in eleven years in what was a weekend the team will never forget.
Ricciardo made the perfect start to the grand prix and was in the lead by the first corner, from then on the Australian never looked back and controlled the grand prix with precision, including the safety car restart for Lewis Hamilton’s and Max Verstappen’s terrifying crash. The Australian even bagged the fastest lap on the final lap, demonstrating the incredible pace Mclaren had over the weekend.
Norris had a more eventful race at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the British driver initially fell behind Hamilton before claiming the place back after the world champion ran off the circuit, Norris then defended impeccably during the opening stint of the race. When Hamilton eventually got past, the team made the correct decision to pit Norris, putting him back ahead of both Hamilton and Verstappen moments before the pair collided.
From then on Norris played the perfect team-role, informing the team on when the pace needed to be increased and whether he should hold position. The British driver went on to achieve his best finish yet in Formula 1 with second place, adding yet another podium to his growing collection.
Mclaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl knows just how much hard-work and time has gone into the rebuild of Mclaren, so is aware of just how important it is to celebrate the teams monumental achievement.
Daniel Ricciardo told all his doubters he is back, after incredible victory at the Italian Grand Prix in what was the Mclaren F1 Team’s first win since 2012. Team-mate Lando Norris completed perfect day for the team by clinching second place in Mclaren one-two.
Ricciardo completed what was already a perfect weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for the Australian, by claiming his first win since Monaco 2018, in what was an emotional day for the Honey Badger.
Ricciardo who started second, made the perfect start and was in the lead of the race by the first corner. From then on the Aussie controlled the race beautifully, managing the safety car restart for Max Verstappen’s and Lewis Hamilton’s crash with ease, and then controlling the pace of the race with precision.
It was a performance almost reminiscent of Ricciardo’s Red Bull Racing days, which feels so long ago. Ricciardo made sure as he crossed the finish line, to assure his doubters that he is very much back, in what was a weekend that could revitalise his career in what’s so far been a tricky season.
Ricciardo is ecstatic with how the weekend went and is very proud of all the hard work that went into the victory.
World championship leader Max Verstappen has been awarded a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix, after being deemed to be predominately to blame for horrific crash with title-rival Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix.
Verstappen suffered a day to forget at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza despite starting the race on pole. The Dutchman made a mediocre start to the grand prix and quickly lost the lead to Daniel Ricciardo, before almost colliding with Hamilton on the first lap at turn five. Hamilton was forced to run across the sausage kerbs at turn five in what was a mirror image of the pairs coming together at Imola earlier in the season.
Verstappen’s race was then uneventful for several laps, before everything quickly spiralled out of control. The championship leader suffered a terrible pit-stop, the Dutchman was stationary for just over eleven seconds in what was a stop nowhere near Red Bull Racing’s impeccable standards.
This put Verstappen into the clutches of Hamilton, who pitted a lap later and came out a cars length ahead of the Red Bull driver. Verstappen who’s temper was clearly flaring after the slow stop, tried to go around the outside of Hamilton at turn one, to then have the inside line for turn two. There simply wasn’t enough room though as neither driver prepared to yield.
Verstappen’s car bounced over the hideous sausage kerbs and launched into the air, landing on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team car in terrifying style. Verstappen’s rear-right tyre even made contact with Hamilton’s helmet, as the halo device yet again proved it’s worth, quite literally preventing Hamilton from being crushed by Verstappen’s car.
Lewis Hamilton suffered his first retirement of the season after terrifying crash at the Italian Grand Prix with title-rival Max Verstappen, leaving the world champion lucky to walk away uninjured.
It had not been the weekend the world champion was hoping for, after a disappointing sprint qualifying on Saturday at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Hamilton made a brilliant start in Sunday’s race. The world champion who started in fifth, quickly found himself fighting Verstappen for second at turn five on the opening lap. In an almost mirror image of Imola, Verstappen closed the door on Hamilton, resulting in the British driver running across the sausage kerbs.
This dropped Hamilton behind Lando Norris into fourth, where he remained for several laps. Eventually Hamilton made his way past the Mclaren F1 Team driver, a couple of laps before pitting. Hamilton suffered a long stop of just over four seconds, Verstappen too had an uncharacteristically poor stop of eleven seconds the previous lap.
This meant that as Hamilton exited the pit-lane, he was just a cars length ahead of Verstappen as they went into turn one. Verstappen who was eager not to lose the place, tried to hang around the outside of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver to get the inside line for turn two. There just wasn’t enough room for the pair though, Verstappen’s car bounced over the sausage kerb at turn two and launched itself on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes in what was a horrific crash.
The pair became beached in the gravel at turn two, Verstappen’s Red Bull Racing car coming to a halt on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes, Verstappen’s rear-right tyre resting on Hamilton’s helmet in what was another example of the imperious job the halo device does. Thankfully both drivers walked away okay, with Hamilton only complaining of a sore neck.