Jimmy McGrath (5jr) battles with Brenden Torok at Attica Raceway Park.
Jimmy McGrath (5jr) battles with Brenden Torok at Attica Raceway Park. (Paul Arch photo)

KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race

It’s time for our weekly Friday morning tour around the racing world. From hot laps to the main event, here’s what’s on our mind this week.

Hot Laps: Rain Series

Maybe Formula 1 should only run in the rain. Friday’s wet qualifying session in China saw five different manufacturers in the top five spots. Here’s hoping the race reflects that same diversity.

Qualifying: Maintenance Plan

Recently saw Danica Patrick hawking automobile maintenance plans on television. Too bad Hendrick Motorsports didn’t have such a plan during her NASCAR years.

First Heat: Chase Is Back!

It was certainly strange that for a period of nearly 18 months, NASCAR’s most popular driver, Chase Elliott, was almost an afterthought when it came to predicting the outcome of Cup Series races. My guess is that now that Elliott is off the schneid, he’ll go on the biggest hot streak of his career.

Second Heat: Corey Day

Speaking of hot streaks, Corey Day has won two consecutive High Limit Racing sprint car features and has certainly sent the message to veterans such as Brad Sweet, Tyler Courtney, Rico Abreu and Brent Marks that despite his lack of experience on the road, he will be one to contend with throughout the High Limit campaign.

Third Heat: Talladega Prediction

My prediction for this weekend’s ARCA, Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway: mayhem, bent sheet metal, hurt feelings and lots of empty beer cans.

Fourth Heat: Sato Time

Takuma Sato has enjoyed a long career in Indy car and Formula 1 racing. Thursday, the 47-year-old Japanese driver was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame, where he won the 2013 Grand Prix of Long Beach while driving for A.J. Foyt Racing.

Oh, by the way, Sato will go for a third Indy 500 victory next month driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dash: Indy Wreaths

Ever wonder who makes the winner’s wreaths presented in victory lane at the Indianapolis 500? Find out in Bruce Martin’s column in next week’s (April 24) edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider, which is available every Wednesday.

B Main: Ohio Sprints

Despite the unexpected purchase and parking of the All Star Circuit of Champions by High Limit Racing, winged sprint car racing in the state of Ohio remains strong.

For decades the Spring Nationals at Attica Raceway Park was sanctioned by the All Stars. This year the event was unsanctioned, but still drew 42 entries to the historic third-mile track for $6,000 to win on April 13. Reigning track champion Cap Henry earned the victory.

On the same night, High Limit Racing drew 37 cars to Texas Motor Speedway and the World of Outlaws also had 37 entries for its event at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.

Feature: The Underdog

We all love the underdog. Don’t we?

After a lifetime as a fan of the Cleveland baseball team formerly known as the Indians, I certainly do. That’s why it was so disappointing when one of NASCAR’s ultimate underdogs, Ryan Sieg, came up inches short of his first Xfinity Series victory last Saturday.

Sieg lost the lead on the last lap of Texas Motor Speedway and was defeated in a door-slamming drag race to the checkered flag by a mere .002s seconds by Sam Mayer. Sieg has made 341 starts in the series without a victory.

Maybe he’ll avoid the mayhem and finally break through this week at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where he’s amassed four top-five finishes during his career.