Emotional but exciting weekend of racing behind us

A critical look back at this weekends racing.

One of the annual premier motorsports events was completed this weekend, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

As sometimes happens on weekends like this, there was a handful of other fantastic racing events underway, but sometimes they get overshadowed by the big show in France, but we will look at that later.

Stock cars on road courses. Or should I say tanks trying to rally race. It's always entertaining to watch these lumbering machines take on the left and right hand turns of some incredibly scenic tracks, but this weekends events at Sonoma and Elkhart Lake gave fans something they beg for week in and week out.

Different winners.

A.J. Allmendinger for one. That guy needed that win. More than anyone in racing right now. Finally getting back into cars after his drug suspension was step one, but proving he could win in a stock car is what he needed. He is fast in the Grand-Am Daytona Prototypes, fast in IndyCar, but with the amount of time he spent in stock cars without any real success he deserves the win.

Race winner A.J. Allmendinger celebrates
Race winner A.J. Allmendinger celebrates

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

I commend Roger Penske and Allmendinger for their relationship, and the challenges that come with returning a driver from a drug suspension to the pinnacle of motorsports.

On the West coast, another driver who needed a win took home a checkered flag. Martin Truex Jr. was able to best the 'ringers and the leaders of the Sprint Cup series for his first win in six years. Maybe I am a little biased, but I love seeing Michael Waltrip Racing cars in victory lane. Clint Bowyer is an absolute class act, Waltrip is one of the strongest characters NASCAR has ever had, and Truex's excitement in victory lane made the win all the more special.

Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota celebrates
Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota celebrates

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Here comes the Canadian indoctrination speech again. I am sorry, but us Canadians are a very proud people and when we have successful drivers it's hard not to become a fan.

James Hinchcliffe took home his third win of the season. Hear that? Third! Andretti Autosport is having an incredible season thus far. Comparing them to the other powerhouse teams, it seems like Michael Andretti's team has the upper hand with no end in sight. Penske and Ganassi need to find something, and soon.

Of right. Canadians winning major AMERICAN auto races. Man oh man, it doesn't get too much better than that. I will be content, and stop singing the Canadian anthem here as soon as Hinch wins Toronto, and a championship. Seems possible eh?

Race winner James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport Chevrolet celebrates
Race winner James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport Chevrolet celebrates

Photo by: Chris Jones

Rounding out the events I follow very closely is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. What a great race! It had everything that a race fan wants (and unfortunately some things we don't want) but if we can look past the tragic events for one or two paragraphs and examine the race, you will see an incredible race.

Conditions on track were always changing. Wet, cool, dry, then wet again. Keeping the best endurance drivers on their toes is simply the best.

Toyota's prototype effort improved by leaps and bounds, landing a team on the podium, and staying within striking range of the powerhouse Audi marque. I always cheer for the underdog, but with that performance, I can't consider them an underdog any longer.

Fan memorial for Allan Simonsen at Tertre Rouge
Fan memorial for Allan Simonsen at Tertre Rouge

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

But, as we see too often in racing, we lost a member of the family during the race to. Allan Simonsen hit the armco barrier hard on the fourth lap of the marathon event, broke through the barrier and back onto the track. If the television pictures tell the tale, it appears going through the barrier made his car also contact a tree. Simonsen died as a result of injuries from the accident.

The race was marred by long caution periods to fix the wall, a type of racing wall that seems to be archaic if you ask me. With the speeds these cars are running, something will have to be done before next years event to bring a heightened level of safety to the track.

I think everyone on the planet became an Aston Martin fan, rooting for them to bring home the win in honour of a fallen comrade. They didn't win, but they made the podium, allowing friends, family, team members and fans to see a part of Simonsen at the celebrated finish.

Racing is real. The dangers are real, and while mourning is still underway, I truly hope that we as the racing community can ensure that we never have another fatality at the track again. Improvements will come!

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About this article
Series Le Mans , IndyCar , NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY , WEC
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Michael Andretti , A.J. Allmendinger , Martin Truex Jr. , Clint Bowyer , Eric Gilbert , Allan Simonsen , Roger Penske , James Hinchcliffe , Chris Jones
Teams Andretti Autosport , Michael Waltrip Racing
Article type Commentary
Tags allan, allmendinger, danica, fatal, hinchcliffe, le mans, lemans, penske, rosberg, sad, simonsen, truex, waltrip, win, wreck