Tomas Tales: The troubled 2020 racing season is finally in our rear view mirror!

Lewis-Hamilton

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates after winning the Formula One Turkish Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park circuit racetrack in Istanbul, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. (Tolga Bozoglu/Pool via AP)

Covid 19 is easily the biggest story in our sport as we get set to swing into 2021.

The global pandemic had drastic impact on every aspect of our game, hitting us hard just as the 2020 season was getting set to launch.

It meant complete re-working of schedules that were delayed for months, with much shorter lists of events.

But undaunted and with proper health restrictions in place, our sport was the very first to get rolling without fans to get events staged for television.

There was some criticism we were putting profits before people, but with masks on across the board, we only had a small handful of drivers and officials test positive for COVID-19 with no outbreaks and no fatalities.

Formula One for example only had one in a thousand test positive.

Still, it’s absolutely heart breaking to see the numbers of victims around the world.

Here’s hoping the vaccines will beat this virus down and we can get back to some sense of normalcy in the spring.

I won’t go into too much analysis of what transpired on the tracks this past season, you already know what went down.

But here’s a wee flashback of the Big 3-plus:

Formula One:  Just 17 races, the shortest schedule since 1966. England’s Lewis Hamilton wins a record-tying seventh title and sets a new career win record with 95. He returns to Mercedes next year to try and make it eight championships to have that record all to himself. Mercedes won a seventh Constructor’s title. Montreal’s Lance Stroll had a much better season, a pole and two podiums for 11th in the final driver’s tally. Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel bolts Ferrari and joins Lance at Racing Point next year, re-badged Aston Martin. Toronto’s Nick Latifi finished 21st in final points at Williams. He stays there for ’21. The 2021 season opener: March 21st: Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne. The Canadian Grand Prix Montreal, cancelled due to COVID-19 is slated for June 13th. 

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series:  Chase Elliott wins his first CUP title in his fifth year, 31 years after his dad Bill won his.  At 24, Elliott from Dawsonville Georgia is the third youngest to win a championship and just the third father-son combo to accomplish the feat.  NASCAR Cup championship # 13 for Hendrick Motorsports. Other father & son titlists: Lee Petty ( ’54 ’58 ’59) and Richard Petty ( 7X 60’s ‘70’s ); Ned Jarrett ( 2X 60’s ) and Dale Jarrett ( 1999 ). Youngest champion: Bill Rexford in 1950, 23 years-old. The 2021 season opens February 14th with the 63rd Daytona 500. In Trucks, the highlight was Quebec teen Raphael Lessard winning Talladega. Rafe and fellow Canadian Stewart Friesen will both be back in the series in 2021. The Truck Series is set to return for our friends at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park the weekend of September 5th next fall.  Also back in the new year, IMSA SportsCars the July 4th weekend. The pandemic kept things pretty quiet at CTMP. It should get lovely and loud again in ’21.

NTT IndyCar Series:  New Zealand’s Scott Dixon wins the 2020 championship, sixth of his career in his 19th season with Chip Ganassi Racing.  Canadian James Hinchcliffe hopes to get the backing to take his Andretti Autosport gig full-time with Dalton Kellett signing for a full-time ride in 2021 with A.J Foyt.   The 2021 season opens March 7th at St. Petersburg Florida. The Toronto Indy, cancelled this year due to COVID 19 is down for July 11th.

Canadian and World Rally: Unfortunately, we already have a 2021 scheduling casualty as we start to fight back against C-19. Cancelling the balance of the 2020 schedule after just one rally due to the pandemic, the Canadian Rally championship has also cancelled the 2021 season opener, The Rallye Perce Neige, 56th edition, scheduled for Feb. 5th and 6th.  Projected 2021 season start: May 29th, Rocky Mountain Rally, Cochrane Alberta. World Rally: Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia won their seventh WRC Championship title in eight seasons. French drivers have claimed the WRC crown 16 times over the last 17 years.

Regional and local series and facilities across the Network were dark or close to it this past season with a few specialty races and close to empty grandstands.

Looking ahead, the new year will also mark our 29th consecutive season on the air as Canada’s National Radio Motorsport Authority!


 

Subaru Canada has been a loyal broadcast partner since year-one. It’s easily one of the longest associations in Canadian radio, very proud to say!  Thank you most sincerely Subaru!

We also tip our hat to the fine folks at Continental Tire and their General Tire brand, who have also been very loyal supporters and partners of the Raceline Radio Network!

And of course, we thank all of you for tuning in every week across our 14-station Network.

We now slide into our traditional Best-Of Raceline Radio shows over Christmas and New Years the weeks of December 20th, December 27th, January 3/21 and January 10/21. The shows feature replays of some of the best interviews aired during our 2020 racing season.

It has been a racing campaign like no other and I am not sorry to see the back end of it!

God Speed to those we’ve lost during this pandemic.

Much better things lie in store for us in 2021!

Keep the faith and stay safe!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and best wishes for the Holidays!

ET

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.