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Archive for Saturday, July 27, 2002

Racing briefs

July 27, 2002

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Keller wins Busch pole for first time since 1999

Fountain, Colo. Jason Keller won his first NASCAR Busch Series pole since 1999 on Friday, turning a lap at 131.801 mph in qualifying for today's NetZero 250 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

"I didn't realize it'd been three years. I'm not shocked, though," said Keller, who won from the pole in the 1999 race at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

"We've qualified second a number of times (five) this year and our qualifying average (seventh) is the best in the series. So we've been qualifying good, but just haven't been able to get the pole position."

Mark Green made it an all-Ford front row, qualifying second at 131.603. Ashton Lewis Jr. was third in a Chevrolet, followed by defending champion Kenny Wallace, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Stacy Compton, Ron Hornaday, Kevin Grubb, Ricky Hendrick and Todd Bodine.

Keller has a series-high four victories this year, and is second in the driver standings, 172 points behind Greg Biffle.

Biffle qualified 19th at 129.767.

"Biffle's going to come to the front," Keller said. "That's a given. But we can't worry about what he does. We need to worry about the things we can control."

Rain washes qualifying; Musgrave on truck pole

Brooklyn, Mich. Rain washed out qualifying Friday for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' Michigan 200, giving points leader Ted Musgrave the pole for today's race.

Musgrave said NASCAR officials made the right decision to scrub qualifying in favor of practice because many of the drivers have not raced at Michigan International Speedway.

"Practice is more important in putting on a good show than qualifying," said Musgrave, the winner at Darlington and Dover. "I think everyone in the garage area agrees it was the best thing to do."

Musgrave, who earned the pole based on series owner points, was the fastest in practice, turning a lap at 173.285 mph in his Dodge on the two-mile oval. Jon Wood was second at 172.699 in a Ford.

Mike Bliss, a three-time winner who is 35 points behind Musgrave, will start on the outside of the front row in his Chevrolet. Bliss was sixth fastest in final practice.

David Starr, also in a Chevrolet, will start third, followed by Rick Crawford, Terry Cook, Dennis Setzer, Jason Leffler, Robert Pressley, Travis Kvapil and Coy Gibbs. Wood will start 12th.

Hakkinen retiring

Hockenheim, Germany Two-time Formula One champion Mika Hakkinen is retiring and the McLaren-Mercedes team will continue with drivers David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen into next year.

Hakkinen took a sabbatical this season after an 11-year Formula One career.

"I have been through so much in my Formula One career and achieved a lot and I just didn't think it was worth it to push things any further," Hakkinen said in a tape made at home in Finland and played Friday during practice at the German Grand Prix.

"I want to spend time with my family and see (son) Hugo grow up," Hakkinen said.

Hakkinen stayed nine seasons with McLaren, winning 20 races and capturing back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999.

Schumacher fastest in German GP practice

Hockenheim, Germany Michael Schumacher had the fastest time in Friday's practice for the German Grand Prix.

Schumacher's Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello was a close second, and Kimi Raikkonen was third in a McLaren-Mercedes.

Barrichello edged Schumacher in the closing seconds of the one-hour morning session but could not improve his time in the afternoon. Schumacher, who wrapped up his record-tying fifth Formula One championship by winning the French Grand Prix on Sunday, eclipsed Barrichello with five minutes remaining.

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