The first race of the finale weekend ended on the first lap for DeGrand, who slammed into a tire barrier after trying to outbrake championship rival Chase Pelletier at the end of the long straight on the Trois-Rivières street circuit. Pelletier went on to win, erasing DeGrand’s points advantage in a single blow.
That afternoon, DeGrand started the second race at the back of the field due to the grid being set in the order of the fastest lap times from the first tilt. With his championship rival Pelletier starting third, DeGrand’s title hopes looked slim at best.
Amazingly, DeGrand scythed his way through the field and passed Pelletier for third place about halfway through Race 2 to put himself back atop the provisional points standings. It was a short-lived celebration for DeGrand, who slowed with a broken suspension and retired a few corners after getting past Pelletier. His rival went on to win the race and the title.
“It was a tough weekend, but it is what it is,” DeGrand said. “The incident in the first race was totally on me. In the second race, I had nothing to lose so I raced really hard and got myself back in the championship lead. When the car broke with mechanical failure, there’s not much I can do about that.”
To make matters worse, Olivier Bedard of Terrebonne, Que., took home a pair of thirds to score enough markers to push DeGrand to third overall in the final Super Series point standings.
Random Thoughts: In what can only be described as an incredible performance, defending MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez continued his complete domination of the 2014 season in Indianapolis on Sunday, scoring his 10th consecutive win to remain unbeaten this year. He looks to be on his way to an easy MotoGP title No. 2.
The victory at the Brickyard tied the Spaniard with Mick Doohan and Giacomo Agostini for consecutive wins in the premier MotoGP class.
In addition to equalling the consecutive wins total, Marquez has also set several records for the four-stroke era this year, setting the mark for most poles to start a season at six, becoming the first rider to win the first six races of a season from pole, and the first to win the first 10 starts in a year, and now holds the record for scoring the most points in the first 10 races of a season.
Last year, he became only the second rookie to win the top class MotoGP title, joining legend Kenny Roberts who did it in 1978.
Considering that Marquez turned 21 in February, it’s a pretty good bet that a few more records will fall by the time he’s done in MotoGP.
Technically Speaking: NASCAR has spent the past dozen years improving safety in the wake of the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. in a 2001 crash during the Daytona 500.
The list of changes is long and comprehensive and includes things like making HANS (Head and Neck Support) devices mandatory, introducing seats that better protect the driver in accidents, and adopting the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier walls developed by the IndyCar Series at most tracks to lessen the impact when cars hit the wall.
Some of these safety measures likely played a role seeing NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell walk away from a heavy crash that brought out a red flag on Lap 57.
The force of McDowell’s impact completely destroyed one of the Armco barriers, which had to be rebuilt. That raised some questions about the wisdom of NASCAR racing at a venue with Armco so close to the track surface, something Newman pointed out after his accident.
“The Safer barrier doesn’t exist here– there are no concrete walls. It’s just a very antiquated race track and the safety is not at all up to NASCAR’s standards and it’s a shame that we have to have accidents like that to prove it,” he said.
“Hopefully something will change the next time we come back.”