Gravel And Macedo
David Gravel (left) and Carson Macedo battle for the lead at Lincoln Speedway. (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: Broken Record

It’s that time of year again. Allergy season?

Nope. The time when folks like me wonder out loud why the best pavement open-wheel racer of his generation, Kody Swanson, does not have a ride for the Indianapolis 500. Someone should take a chance on the seven-time Silver Crown champion.

Qualifying: Congratulations

Congratulations to longtime SPEED SPORT supporter Lauri Eberhart, who has been named CEO of Friends of Laguna Seca, which operates California’s famed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Good luck!

First Heat: Throwback

Every major racing organization should attempt to have a throwback weekend.

NASCAR’s annual spring race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, which will run this weekend, offers NASCAR teams and drivers to recognize drivers, team owners and sponsors who influenced the past, and it’s damn cool.

I’d love to see some of the great sprint car or Indy car paint schemes of yesteryear brought back to life once a year. It’s important to know, understand and recognize how we got here.

Second Heat: Fantastic Finishes

Who can complain about a finish like NASCAR’s Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway?

I freely admit as I’ve aged, I find NASCAR races to be way too long and lack intrigue. Kyle Larson’s closing-laps battle with Chris Buescher that resulted in the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history literally brought me out of my seat.

Yet, so many criticized the way Larson raced on the last lap. Door-banging battles like that are what attracted me to stock car racing as a teenager and are exactly the type of thing I think about when I envision the “old days” of NASCAR.

Let’s hope for a repeat Sunday at Darlington.

Third Heat: Mr. Versatile

Then, there’s short-track racing’s most versatile driver — Logan Seavey.

Seavey was rained out of his dirt late model debut on Thursday night, but has already raced in a winged sprint car, non-winged sprint car, midget and Silver Crown car this season. Seavey, who won a pair of USAC national titles last year, also ran some ARCA and Truck Series races in previous years.



Fourth Heat: Month of May

It’s here! The month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a lot different than it was when I was a kid, but it’s just as anticipated among racing diehards.

Gone are the days of waiting for the Indianapolis Star to show up in our Ohio home to read about the previous day’s events at the speedway. Instead, every practice session is streamed live and news, rumors and speculation spread like wild fire on social media.

But at the end of the day, it’s still Indy.

Dash: Three Cheers For Lando

Is it me, or was the buzz about Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix a lot more positive than usual?

Not only did the race receive record viewership, but it got a new winner in popular McLaren driver Lando Norris. Nothing against Max Verstappen and Red Bull, but racing isn’t fun when the same car wins 90 percent of the races.

B Main: Gravel and Sweet

As the season has picked up speed, the two best winged sprint car drivers in the country — Brad Sweet and David Gravel — have each gotten on hot streaks.

Sweet won the two most recent High Limit Racing events and Gravel has won three of the last four World of Outlaws features.

On one hand, it’s disappointing these two are not going head-to-head on a nightly basis, but at the same time it’s building a lot of anticipation for the big summer races that are just around the corner.

I can’t wait to watch.

Feature: Egg On The Face

Roger Penske and his Team Penske IndyCar Series operation suspended four individuals for their parts in the “push-to-pass scandal” that has been the talk of Indy car racing since the team was stripped of its victory in the St. Petersburg Grand Prix.

It’s done little to improve the team’s image heading into the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 and in many ways made the egg on their faces a little stickier. Penske, who not only owns this team, but owns IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, may be lucky if his team does not earn its 20th Indianapolis 500 victory on May 25.

A victory in the sport’s biggest race may only lead to more talk about impropriety in the sport.