Craig Murto

Craig Murto

Are you worried that you didn’t get to see the Formula One French Grand Prix and upset that you missed the race?

Don’t worry; you didn’t miss anything. Race? For the most part, it was a single-file high-speed procession that resulted in yet another Lewis Hamilton victory and another Mercedes one-two finish. Racing should be exciting, and the French Grand Prix was not.

Maybe ESPN should rethink broadcasting the F1 feed live without commercial interruption. Commercials would have been more exciting than the last few races. Especially since stewards penalized the only excitement we had in weeks when they took away Sebastian Vettel’s victory in Canada.

Formula E on the other hand, the series for electric vehicles, has been exciting. Jean-Eric Vergne won in Bern, Switzerland, in a four-car finish that would fit under a blanket. That series is worth watching now that the batteries last the entire race distance.

If you pulled the local double that was suggested last week, you would have seen some exciting racing and enjoyed great weather.

Josh Berry, driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr., won the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Tour event at Dominion Raceway and Entertainment in Thornburg on Saturday night. The biggest story for local fans, however, was the fourth-place finish for Timmy “Mini” Tyrell, his best finish on the CARS Tour.

Tyrell, from Manassas, is only 14 and a former track champion at Shenandoah Speedway. He still drives with help from Brandon Butler. Butler was a track champion at Old Dominion and has experience in the upper levels of NASCAR.

Sunday was a good day to play in the dirt, and the best place to do that was Hagerstown Speedway and the third running of the Frank Sagi Tribute race.

The late Frank Sagi was known as the voice of Hagerstown Speedway, and the annual tribute event is organized by his son Alan, a local racer. This year’s event also honored retired racer Tom Peck and drew a great crowd for a Sunday evening. Scott Palmer won the Late Model Sportsman portion of the evening, and Kyle Lee won in the headlining Super Late Model division.

Last weekend also saw a bit of redemption in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Ross Chastain, stripped of his Iowa win the week before in post-race inspection, won at the Gateway facility near St. Louis in a truck that passed inspection this time around.

There was no redemption for Johnny Sauter, however. Suspended for a race after retaliating against Austin Hill under caution in Iowa, Sauter decided to race his Super Late Model at Wisconsin’s Dells Raceway Park in an event honoring the late Dick Trickle. The best Sauter could do was finish second to race winner Ty Majeski.

IndyCar competed at Road America in Wisconsin, and though the race was dominated by Alexander Rossi, the racing behind the leader was exciting. Formula One should take notes on how to run an exciting open-wheel series.

Martin Truex Jr. won the NASCAR Cup race on the road course in Sonoma, California. The finish was intriguing, as Kyle Busch had fresher tires and was gaining on Truex in the late stages, but Truex saved enough tire that when Busch caught the leader they were evenly matched and Busch just couldn’t get by.

The feel-good story of the Cup race was the fourth-place finish for Matt DiBenedetto, his first top-five finish in five years in the series.

DiBenedetto is a good racer. Hopefully the Leavine Family Racing team he drives for will continue to improve in their new partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing, so that DiBenedetto can continue to demonstrate his skills. The Hickory, North Carolina, resident, originally from California, would be a consistent race winner if he were in good equipment.

The best bet as far as local racing this weekend is a few hours down the road, but well worth the trip.

South Boston Speedway hosts a 200-lap NASCAR Late Model Stock Car event, the first event in the Virginia Triple Crown, which includes the Hampton Heat race at Langley Speedway and the big end-of-season Late Model Stock Car event at Martinsville.

The big race at South Boston on Saturday night is also the track’s July 4 celebration, so a huge fireworks display is tagged on at the end of the night. All of the region’s top NASCAR pavement Late Model racers will be there. I recommend getting to the track about 5 p.m. It will be an exciting evening.

Veteran motorsports columnist Craig Murto is a Linden resident.