Craig Murto

Craig Murto

Jean-Eric Vergne became the first driver to win two Formula E championships following the New York ePrix weekend in Brooklyn.

The 29-year-old French driver finished well off the pace in Saturday’s race, which was won by Sebastien Buemi, opening up the title and putting Buemi in the mix. In fact, Vergne got in trouble with officials for asking his team to have his teammate stop on the track and create a safety car period.

Sunday’s part of the doubleheader – won by Robin Frijns — was a different story, as Vergne ran well in the top 10 and secured the 2018-2019 Formula E season five title.

Formula E has become a good series now that the batteries last the entire race distance and drivers don’t stop halfway to exchange cars. The races are generally timed about 40 minutes, plus one lap. Half of the field are drivers with Formula One experience, so there is no shortage of talent. If only the electric motors sounded more like big-block V-8s.

Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One British Grand Prix. He became the first driver to win six British Grand Prix, all on the Silverstone circuit. The race wasn’t too bad through the pack by F1 standards, although few races in F1 qualify as barn-burners. The sport is still extremely popular, though, as 141,000 spectators were present.

The IndyCar race on the streets of Toronto was actually a much better race than the British Grand Prix, although Simon Pagenaud dominated. Scott Dixon got close at the end, as did Alexander Rossi, but Pagenaud was dialed in from the first moment his Penske machine was rolled out of the hauler.

The best race among the top series was the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at Kentucky.

Joey Logano had the race all but won with Kyle Busch chasing him when the caution flew with six laps remaining, creating a green-white-checkered finish. On the restart, Logano was swallowed up by the field, and heading down the backstretch there was a three-wide battle among Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones.

The final lap was a back-and-forth, fender-banging battle among the Busch brothers, with older brother Kurt gaining the advantage as the two nearly crashed coming to the checkered flag. The win was Kurt Busch’s first of the year, and Ganassi Racing’s first Cup win of the season as well. Jones finished a close third.

I didn’t think I’d be a fan of the high-downforce package NASCAR competes with this season at the Cup level. My thoughts were that the cars should be more difficult to drive, not easier to drive and that drivers should have to lift to make each corner rather than race wide-open. But results speak for themselves, and the racing has been absolutely fantastic. Statistically, nearly every race has more passes throughout the field than ever before. If you didn’t enjoy the Kentucky race, well, you don’t like racing.

Hagerstown Speedway wasn’t racing because of a Monster Truck show, but Winchester Speedway was in action. Derick Quade won the Limited Late Model feature and Devin Brannon won the Crate Late Model race.

The Virginia Sprint Series played in the dirt at Natural Bridge Speedway over the weekend, and Daren Bolac grabbed the win. That series will be back on the pavement at Shenandoah Speedway Saturday night.

Peyton Sellers won the twin NASCAR Late Model Stock Car features at South Boston Speedway last Saturday night. The same evening, his rival in the national Weekly Racing Series title hunt, Philip Morris, won both races at Dominion Raceway.

Dominion Raceway has been getting the best average weekly car counts of any NASCAR track in Virginia this year. Right off Interstate 95 in Thornburg, it’s a track worth visiting.

But the NASCAR Late Models won’t be at South Boston or Dominion on Saturday night, as Langley Speedway in Hampton hosts the Hampton Heat 200, round two of the Virginia Triple Crown.

Expect 30 or more Late Models to be at Langley on Saturday night, as most NASCAR tracks in the region give the Late Models the night off, and even the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Tour takes the night off so its drivers can compete. Round one was a couple of weeks ago at South Boston and was won by Peyton Sellers. Round three will be at Martinsville on Oct. 5. The Virginia Triple Crown pays bonus cash to the Late Model racers with the three best average finishes. Early weather forecasts call for a beautiful day on Saturday, so load your car up with friends and head to Langley Speedway for the Hampton Heat 200. See you there.

Veteran motorsports columnist Craig Murto is a Linden resident.