I was writing a story several weeks ago about Rudy Bartling, one of the post-war German immigrants who came to Canada, took out citizenship, and made us proud on the race tracks of the world, when I learned that Rainer Brezinka of the Deutcher Automobil Club had also died. He was 85.
I was shocked. First, because with Rainer’s passing, all of that “old gang” – Klaus Bartels, Horst Kroll, Ludwig Heimrath, Horst Petermann, Fritz Hochreuter, Roman Pechmann and probably more, were all gone. An entire generation of German-Canadian racers had passed. Second, Rainer had suffered several strokes and been in long-term care for years. He died in July 2020, but his death only became public recently. How quickly you can be forgotten.
In addition to racing his beloved Porsches, starting in 1967 and competing through 2000 in the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring (often with Bartling), Six Hours of Mosport and Six Hours of the Glen, he was active over the years in administration with the DAC, serving as president in 1979-80 and ’87-‘88.
He raced in the Can-Am Challenge Cup in the glory years of that class, 1970 to 1971, racing a McLaren M-6n while continuing to drive his Porsches – 904, 906, 908, 910, 914-6 and 911 – in other events. He had a terrible accident at Road Atlanta where he was badly burned.
I wish to thank racing historian John Wright and Mike Nilson of the DAC for information contained in this item.
Returning to Rudy Bartling for a moment, I had written that he raced for years without injury but had tripped over a tree root at CTMP (Mosport) and required hospitalization. Shortly after that appeared on wheels.ca., I received a letter from Rick Creuzburg, who knew Rudy well. He wrote:
“Rudy did have one debilitating racing injury he told me of. Once, while testing Klaus Bytzek’s GT1 Porsche (I think, at Daytona), the car caught on fire and for a period of time he was stuck in the car breathing heavily a combination of smoke and fire retardant. This incident scarred his lungs and more or less put a finish to his endurance racing. He said it was a real hinderance to him.
“Anyway, sad to lose Rudy. He was my hero.”
Kyle Larson is the hottest driver on the continent. He wins just about every NASCAR Cup race he runs these days, plus every sprint car race. I swear that if you put him in an Indy car, he‘d be running away with those races too.
He won the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday, followed across the line by William Byron and Christopher Bell. Brad Keselowski finished fourth and Kevin Harvick was fifth. The seven remaining Cup contenders have three races remaining to book a ticket, as Larson did Sunday.
For a full story, plus results, please click here
There has been quite a feud going on for awhile between Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick. It reminds me of the Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth feud in 2015. Back in 2013, when the first NASCAR trucks race was held at CTMP, it ended with Chase Elliott knocking Ty Dillon into the wall. At the media conference afterward, Bill Elliott, Chase’s father, was asked about a potential feud and said that NASCAR would only let something go on for so long before putting a stop to it. That happened in 2015 when Kenseth deliberately wrecked Logano. He was made to sit out two races and put on probation for six months, later shortened on appeal. Now we have this Elliott and Harvick nonsense. Earlier this week, NASCAR gave both drivers a strict warning. We’ll see how strict as the playoffs roll along.
John Hunter Nemechek, who announced this week an extension of his trucks contract with Kyle Busch Racing, won the Xfinity Series race at Texas Saturday while making a rare appearance driving for Joe Gibs Racing. And he overcame a large penalty, resulting in him being sent to the back of the field. But he battled his way back to win. Daniel Hemrick was second and Noah Gragson was third. Canadian Alex Labbe finished 16th.
Second-generation family owner of Speedway Motors, a Nebraska-based manufacturer, retailer and distributor of auto parts and racing products, Jason Smith, has died of cancer at age 60.
Andrew Ranger, three-time NASCAR Canada champion, reported at the weekend that his house was robbed. Taken, among other things, was a special NASCAR champions ring and a fur coat plus special bottles of Okanagan Valley wine. Andrew asks that you notify him on social media or the police. The property was taken from his house on Shawinigan Lake, Que.
Formula One has unveiled its 2022 season schedule and there are some differences. Chief among them: 23 races instead of 22, starting in mid-March in Bahrain and finishing in mid-November at Abu Dhabi; the Grand Prix of Canada will be held on June 18, mid-way between Azerbaijan (June 12) and Britain (July 3), and a new Grand Prix, this one in Miami, making it a third race in North America – two in the U.S. as well as Canada. Click here for the complete schedule.
A few observations:
I suggest Miami is a strange selection. Indianapolis or Watkins Glen would be preferable. Both communities welcome auto racing. Miami was finally approved but not without a fight. Plus, it’s a race in a parking lot. They stink. As well, both U.S. races are in the southeast. Austin, I suppose, could be considered central by some but not in my books. Why not Austin and somewhere on the West Coast? F1 doesn’t seem to want to go north.
The 23 races – the longest schedule in F1 history – have been scheduled as insurance. COVID is still not over and is ready to rear its ugly head at any time. China is not on the ’22 schedule because the virus is still out of control there. If they have to cancel a race or two, F1 will still have enough to take up the slack.
The “late” Canadian GP – it’s usually around the 6th or the 13th – is good for our country. My theory on climate change is that autumn now goes longer and there’s a late spring. In other words, there’s been a shift; otherwise, things are pretty much the same. So, having the GP later in June means it will be warmer. Less chance of rain. Etc.
George Russell has been named to replace Valtteri Bottas, which means Mercedes will still be the cream of the crop with Lewis Hamilton the captain. Max Verstappen heads up Red Bull and Sergio (Checo) Perez will continue as his partner. The rest of the field will be pretty much the same. A star – a Schumacher or Hamilton – doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.
The rumour that has Michael Andretti purchasing a majority share in the Sauber F1 team just won’t go away. Michael has said that he doesn’t have the money and can’t afford it but he’s surrounded by money men, some of whom have access to more. So, you never know.
I guess the big news is the Tony Stewart NHRA team. They say a well-known racer’s smartest move was marrying a woman who came from money. He established himself as a driver and team owner and then divorced her. I know people who think Leah (Pruett) Pritchett has pulled something similar. Her fiancé, our friend Tony Stewart, has spent a fortune on one top fuel car for his sweetie starting in 2022 and a Funny Car for Matt Hagan. She’s 33 and he’s nearly 50. Sounds like me.
Meantime, in the Thunder Valley Nationals held this weekend at Bristol Dragway, Mike Salinas won in Top Fuel, Alexis Dejoria won the Funny Car class and Angelle Sampey won in Pro Stock.
Peterborough Speedway’s annual Autumn Colours Classic was held Friday through Sunday over Thanksgiving weekend. The 167-lap Pro Late Model feature was won by Ryan Kimball. Conner James finished second and Danny Benedict was third, following a close battle near the end between those three and J.R. Fitzpatrick.
Andy Kamrath won the OSCAAR Modified feature, followed by Fitzpatrick and A.J. Emms. T.J. Edwards was the season champion. The OSCAAR Hot Rod feature was won by Jaeger McMaster,
Other racing: The Super Stock feature was won by Mark Gordon; the Legend feature was won by Matt Haufe and Eric Yorke won the Mini Stock feature.
The Bone Stock feature was won by Steve Finnegan Jr., the Pro Sprint feature went to James Stanley and the Outlaw Midget feature was won by Jessica James.