This weekend’s Napa 200 Nascar Nationwide series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve certainly lived up to my expectations! Justin Allgaier won the race with a last lap ‘bump & run’ pass of local favourite Jacques Villeneuve, who had led 43 laps of what was supposed to be a 72 lap race and ended up third. Villeneuve’s teammate, Sam Hornish, finished second.
In my post on prior to qualifying on Friday, I had predicted a win by Villeneuve, Hornish second, and Tagliani third. It almost happened for Villeneuve, who did an incredible job saving fuel over the last few laps. JV ran an amazing 35 laps on his final tank of fuel! The race, scheduled for 72 laps, ended up running 81 laps due to late cautions. Even the ESPN commentators, who have been fairly harsh on Villeneuve in his last few races, were giving him props for how well he managed his fuel situation, saying “if he wins today, he really deserves it.”
As a Villeneuve fan from his CART and F1 days, I really wanted to see JV take the checkered flag, but it wasn’t to be. I’m not too upset about the race though. I thought JV drove a superb race and deserved the win, but Allgaier took advantage of the opportunity and grabbed the win. Good for him!
A few thoughts:
- Why does Nascar insist on a full-course caution (with safety car) on road courses? Why not have local cautions like they do in F1? Granted the G-W-C finish makes things exciting, but watching the pace car for 15 minutes at a time was getting a bit monotonous.
- I didn’t think Allgaier’s pass on JV was deliberate or dirty, nor did I think JV’s spinning of Tagliani was dirty. It was deliberate though. Tagliani was way too aggressive on a couple of restarts – once bumping Villeneuve and a second time trying to go three-wide into turn 1 – and Villeneuve gave him a bit of payback.
- I was impressed by how well Danica Patrick drove, as she led quite a few laps before mechanical issues took her out of contention. I wasn’t impressed, however, by her attitude once she was several laps down. She was heard on her radio saying she’d like to race herself back up front so that she can meet up with the #22 (Villeneuve), insinuating she’d like to knock him out of the race. Talk about poor sportsmanship! This all goes back to her run-in with JV back in June. Let it go Danica, let it go.
- Like him or not – and there seems to be plenty of people who don’t like him – Jacques Villeneuve makes these road races interesting. He has undeniable talent behind the wheel; I think he’s led every single Nascar road race he has entered. It’s his all-out driving style that rubs people the wrong way. Curiously though, the only reason Allgaier caught up to him on the final lap in Montréal was because JV was driving conservatively. Hmmm…
- I would love to see the Sprint Cup cars take on this track! Come on Nascar, make it happen!