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Archive for Sunday, September 2, 2001

Auto Racing Briefs

September 2, 2001

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Gordon aims to dominate at Darlington again

Darlington, S.C. Can Jeff Gordon be as aggressive as he wants at the Southern 500 and still hold his overwhelming Winston Cup points lead?

Gordon has made himself a Darlington dominator since joining the NASCAR circuit, winning five events in 17 trips here. But one error like the engine problems in March that led to Gordon's first Darlington DNF in today's Southern 500 could let talented racers such as Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin and Tony Stewart back in the championship hunt.

"I think that right now there is no points lead big enough," said Gordon, who'll start second next to Winston Cup rookie Kurt Busch. "I think anything can happen in any one of these races and that would dwindle away real fast."

Canadian racers sweep front row for CART race

Vancouver, British Columbia Canadian teammates Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier swept the front row for the Vancouver Molson Indy with an aggressive wall-banging show Saturday on the street circuit.

The top 15 qualifiers for today's race were separated by less than one second. Tagliani got around the 1.781-mile, 12-turn circuit at the edge of downtown Vancouver in 1 minute, 0.872 seconds a speed of 105.329 mph. His fellow Quebec native, Carpentier, was just 0.052 seconds and 0.090 mph slower at 1:00.924 and 105.239.

Gil de Ferran, the defending CART champion, and Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, the series leader, were close behind the Canadians, sandwiching current runner-up Kenny Brack.

Park taken to hospital; Burton wins Busch race

Darlington, S.C. Steve Park was cut out of his car and airlifted to the hospital after a wreck under caution Saturday in the South Carolina 200.

Park was held overnight at Carolina's Hospital System in Florence. He suffered a concussion and might have broken his collarbone in an accident under the yellow flag.

Park's car was on the backstretch when it veered to the left just after exiting Turn 2. Park's car cut directly in front of Larry Foyt, whose car hit Park's just behind the driver's-side door, sending it spinning into the inside wall.

Jeff Burton won the Busch Series race by holding off Elton Sawyer over the final 10 laps. Busch points leader Kevin Harvick finished 14th, holding on to his 316-point lead over Jason Keller.

Lazier claims first pole since switching teams

Joliet, Ill. Jaques Lazier abruptly switched teams two weeks ago, and he showed on Saturday why owner John Menard picked him to be his new driver.

Lazier sped around the Chicagoland Speedway's 1.5-mile oval at 221.740 mph to capture the pole for today's Delphi Indy 300. His pole speed is the fastest by an IRL car outside of the Indianapolis 500 since the circuit introduced its 3.5-liter engine rules at the start of the 2000 season. It's also the second pole of the season for Lazier, who won the qualifying at Richmond in late June while driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

Lazier be on the front row with Eddie Cheever Jr., who turned a 221.105. Scott Sharp was third at 220.970 and Robbie Buhl fourth at 220.631.

Montoya takes pole for Belgian Grand Prix

Spa-Francochamps, Belgium Juan Montoya bounced back from a bad crash to win the pole position Saturday for today's Belgian Grand Prix. The Colombian, who wrecked his car during Friday's practice, was just ahead Williams BMW teammate Ralf Schumacher.

Michael Schumacher, who will try to become Formula One's winningest driver today, led much of the way but finished third in front of German countryman Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

Schumacher won the world championship two weeks ago. He shares the record for most career Grand Prix victories with France's Alain Prost at 51.

Montoya produced a blistering lap with slick tires on a damp track late in the qualifying session. He covered the 4.3-mile course in 1 minute, 52.072 seconds.

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