Craig Murto

Craig Murto

NASCAR may have the weekend off for Easter, but you can get your racing fix at local tracks.

One of the best bets for an exciting night out is the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) RaceSaver Sprint Series, competing this Saturday night at Hagerstown Speedway in a qualifier for their annual IMCA RaceSaver Nationals. Both the Virginia Sprint Series and the Laurel Highland Sprint Series will compete in their IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars, which are surprisingly fast and competitive on the Maryland half-mile. Also competing that night are the Mid-Atlantic Modifieds.

The Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series brought its talented field of racers to Hagerstown last weekend, and Jonathan Davenport took home the winner’s $12,000 check.

The Virginia Sprint Series opened its season last Saturday night on pavement at Shenandoah Speedway. The race was won by Glenn Worrell, who will hope to repeat when Shenandoah runs again on April 27. Late Models are on the card that night as well as other support divisions.

Shenandoah Speedway may be closed on Easter weekend, but the same can’t be said for Winchester Speedway. Saturday night the RUSH Crate Late Model Series competes in a $3,000-to-win feature. Numerous support divisions will also be on hand. Winchester Speedway is a fast and exciting facility, which always provides fans with a lot of action.

Last weekend Robbie Emory scored a victory in the Limited Late Model class at Winchester, and Dale Hollidge took the win in Crate Late Models.

If you’d rather your action be on pavement, Dominion Raceway in Thornburg will be open Saturday night, hosting NASCAR Late Model Stock cars in twin 60-lap features. The track’s April 6 opening night featured a full field of cars and the largest crowd since the speedway’s grand opening a few years ago. Expect a lot of excitement at Dominion Raceway this season.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at Richmond Raceway was full of excitement, ending with four cars in sight of the victory. Martin Truex scored his first win on a short track in his 81st attempt, but it didn’t come easy as he had Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick breathing down his neck.

It appeared on the last lap that Logano was close enough to put a bumper on Truex, much the way he did to move him out of the way at Martinsville last year. The circumstances were different, however, as Logano already has a win to qualify for the playoffs, and the win at Martinsville last year was the only way Logano was moving ahead to the next playoff round. If Logano roughed up Truex and denied Truex his first short track win, there would probably be a price to pay all season long, so Logano thought better of it. Wise move. It still made for an exciting last lap, though, knowing what could have been.

The IndyCar Long Beach (California) Grand Prix was a successful event, with packed crowds for the entire weekend. The IndyCar race was dominated by Alexander Rossi, who beat Josef Newgarden to the line by about 10 seconds.

Graham Rahal was robbed of his podium finish, however, by a judgment call after the race by race officials. And they couldn’t have gotten it more wrong.

We all know what we get if we put 12 race drivers in a basement, right? A whine cellar. Well, Scott Dixon whined that Rahal blocked him and prevented him from making a late-race pass. Officials agreed and took the spot away from Rahal.

But replays clearly show that in the incident in question, Rahal – the lead car at the time – moved first. It was not a block. A block is when the lead car moves in response to what the following car does. Rahal, as the lead car, moved to the right first, and therefore did not block.

Racing is not a sport that lends itself to judgment calls, and it’s very unfortunate that Rahal was robbed by IndyCar officials at Long Beach.

Formula One celebrated its 1,000th event at the Grand Prix of China. Unfortunately it wasn’t very exciting, as Lewis Hamilton dominated for his 75th F1 victory. Hamilton also led his 4,000th lap, edging closer to Michael Schumacher’s record of 5,111.

One high note of the race was the seventh-place finish for popular Australian Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault. This was his first finish of the year.

Veteran motorsports columnist Craig Murto is a Linden resident.