The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on August 21, 2000 · Page 26
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 26

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Monday, August 21, 2000
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P2 MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2000 THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR Wall Go ace wins alter stewar raon coiiiioe 9 2nd-year star Stewart accepts blame for early accident that takes both out of contention. By Harry Atkins ASSOCIATED PRESS BROOKLYN. Mich. If the ' squeaky clean NASCAR circuit needed a little feud to spice things up, it has one. Rusty Wallace's third win of the season was almost upstaged Sunday by another altercation between Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. Wallace, riding with four fresh tires on his Penske Ford, took the lead with 15 laps to go and steadily pulled away from Ricky Rudd's Ford and Bobby Labonte's Pontiac in the Pepsi 400. "We had a great car all day," Wallace said. For the second consecutive week, the outcome of the race was less interesting than an incident in volving Gordon and Stewart. The brash Stewart, as he did a week earlier at Watklns Glen, took Gordon Into a wall, causing serious damage. That time, the two almost got in a fistfight. But it didn't lead to such bad blood on this occasion. Stewart was running second to Wallace when his car got loose and touched pole sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. on lap 37. Earnhardt Jr. drove on, but Stewart's Pontiac began to swerve badly. The car got sideways between the first and second turn and spun into Gordon, who was trying to get past the trouble on the high side. Gordon's car slammed into the wall, damaging the front end. and he had to take the multicolored Chevrolet in to have the brakes repaired. Stewart's car was eliminated in 41st place. "I just lost it down there," Stewart said. "We were just racing hard out there. It was my fault. I Just got down into one and I don't know why I got loose. I hadn't been loose (J Associated Press Carl Pendleton Not again: The cars of Jeff Gordon (left) and Tony Stewart make contact for the second race in a row. There were no harsh words, but Stewart finished 41st, Gordon 36th. there all day. "For some reason, it Just got loose that one lap down there and I crashed a bunch of people I didn't mean to crash. It was my fault. I just lost it." Actually, the only driver he caused to crash was Gordon. But that was enough. The start of the race had been overshadowed all week by the feud a week earlier between Gordon and Stewart. In that race, Stewart caused Gordon to go into the wall while Gordon was trying to pass on an "S" curve. Gordon vowed a payback during a shouting match later in the garage area. "I'm sure a lot of people were wondering what was going to happen with the 20 and 24," said Gordon. "But it had nothing to do with this weekend at all. He was racing hard and it looked like he just got real loose. "I saw the 20 car wiggle and it looked like it got real sideways." The race went on for 41 laps while Gordon's crew installed new brakes. He rejoined the race while the leaders still had 119 laps to go, but completed only 141 laps before retiring the car. Wallace, who beat Rudd by 2.971 seconds, averaged 132.586 mph. Kerry Earnhardt, making his first Winston Cup start, hit the wall on the fourth turn of his sixth lap, bringing out the first of the race's eight caution flags for 38 laps. That was the start of a so-so day for all three Earnhardts. Dale Jr., . despite starting first, spun onto the infield grass while swerving to avoid Robby Gordon on lap 177 and finished 31st. Their father, The Intimidator himself, finished sixth. VJinstonCup Pepsi 400 j (Top finishers) Driver Car 1. Rusty Wallace Ford 2. Ricky Rudd Ford 3. Bobby Labonte Pontiac 4. Dale Jarrett Ford 5. Johnny Benson Pontiac 6. Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet 7. Jimmy Spencer Ford 8. Matt Kenseth Ford 9. Ward Burton Pontiac 10. Jeff Burton Ford Series points leaders: Labonte 3,335, Jarrett 3,224, Earnhardt 2,098, J.Burton 3,083, Wallace 2,983. Gidley's drive ; for Delia Penna is impressive Midyear fill-in takes 6th in CART; Labonte returns in Winston Cup. Staff and wire reports Memo Gidley continued to reward car owner John Delia Penna for giving him a fighting chance with a sixth-place finish in Sunday's Motorola 220. Gidley, starting 18th in the DirecTV ReynardToyota, passed Jimmy Vasser, Max Papis, Tony Kanaan and Oriol Servia on the first lap at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., and recovered from an off-course excursion to give Delia Penna his best result in a year. "I knew we had a good car but we weren't able to show it until today," said Gidley, 30, whose excellent relief work for Player'sForsythe earlier this season got 1 Delia Penna's attention. "That first lap was wild. I MOTCRAnif ducked inside and outside and MUIEPVUIV kept finding holeS) wnen I came around after two laps and saw we were 12th, I was thinking this could turn out pretty good." Delia Penna, who lost longtime driverfriend Richie Hearn to the economics of champ-car racing and had to take sponsorship money from rookie Norberto Fon-tana, made a decision for his team not his wallet after Gidley ran 10th at Michigan and Chicago. He cut loose Fontana and hired Gidley to finish out the year. "Memo has inspired this team with his energy and ability and today he did a great job," said Delia Penna, .whose team is based on the Indianapolis Northwest-side. Labonte returns Terry Labonte made a return to his driver's seat af-: ter missing the past two Winston Cup races while recovering from the lingering effects of a July 1 crash at Daytona. Because his car was qualified Saturday by Todd Bodine, Labonte was forced to start from the rear of the 43-car field in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway. He slowly edged his way up and finished 20th. "I feel fine," Labonte said. "Our car was pretty good but we just weren't very good on restarts. We'd lose so many spots on restarts and we'd make them back up. "I've never been to Michigan and seen so many caution flags. Most of the time it's green (for go) all day." Prior to the race, Kellogg USA and Hendrick Motor-sports announced a three-year extension of their sponsorship of Labonte's Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Notes Buddy Rice emerged from a race-long battle with rookie Dan Wheldon to score his fifth win of 2000 in the Toyota Atlantic series at Elkhart Lake, Wis., and open a 22-point lead over Wheldon. . . . Bryan Herta drove one of Derrick Walker's champ cars Sunday in a demonstration run at the new 2-mile Eurospeed-way oval in Lausitz, Germany, that attracted 100,000 people. CART races there Sept. 15, 2001. Schumacher wins 3rd Top Fuel event Associated Press BRAINERD, Minn. Tony Schumacher raced to his third Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday, winning ' the Colonels Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Schumacher beat Doug Kalitta in the final round to move ahead of Larry Dixon for second place in the season standings, 24 points behind leader Gary Scelzi. Schumacher won the final with a quarter-mile run of 4.585 seconds at a top speed of 318.69 mph. Kalitta finished in 4.655 seconds at 306.81 mph. John Force, Kurt Johnson and Antron Brown also won their divisions in the $1.8 million competition, the 16th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Force extended his Funny Car lead over Jerry Toliv-er. beating Jim Epler with a run of 4.935 seconds at 309.34 mph. Johnson won for the third consecutive event, beating Pro Stock points leader Jeg Coughlin with a run of 6.986 seconds at 196.59 mph. Brown won the Pro Stock Motorcycle final, beating Tony Mullen with a run of 7.304 seconds at 178.99 mfh. U.S. Nationals When: Aug. 31-Sept. 4 Where: Indianapolis Raceway Park Tickets: S10-S300; call (800) 884-6472 or www.ticketmaster.com .life, ili. " ' , j.tvmvi' ' t - .wrtp-arm- -hmunsm&iL tmm I 1 K ( -awmi '-''"'wlffMWWllC.. Associated Press David Boe Out of fuel, but who cares? Paul Tracy crossed the finish line first in the Motorola 220, but he didn't have enoucih fuel to aet throuah his victory laD. He coasted to a stOD in the fifth turn. Tracy charges to victory after slow, sputtering start By Robin Miller STAFF WRITER ELKHART LAKE, Wis. At the end of the first lap in Sunday's Motorola 220, Paul Tracy was all by himself on the 4-mile Road America circuit. A mechanical glitch had dropped him from seventh to 23rd and his engine was lifeless. By the end of the 55-Iap race, Tracy again found himself all alone, except this time everyone was behind him. In the most inspired drive of his 10-year career in Championship Auto Racing Teams, the 31-year-old Canadian earned a most unlikely victory in front of a crowd of 55,000. There were no full-course yellow flags to allow Tracy to catch up and it wasn't one of those fuel-economy wins. This was simply a wide-open charge from the back to the front. "It's definitely one of the most satisfying wins of my life," Tracy said after scoring his 17th champ-car win by beating Adrian Fernandez to the checkered flag by 7.4 seconds. "There were no yellows to help, and I had to race to win. We did it with sheer speed." And some help from attrition. It was Tracy's first triumph on a permanent road course since 1994 (Laguna Seca), but that was the furthest thing from his mind when his Kool ReynardHonda quit at the green flag. "I was coming up the hill for the start, shifting from third to fourth, when the throttle sensor Just shut my engine off," he explained. "I was real lucky I didn't get run over because everyone else was wide open and I was coasting. "My crew told me to hit the reset buttons and, after 30 or 40 seconds, the engine restarted. But I mn Motorola 220 (Top finishers) Driver Car 1. Paul Tracy R-H 2. Adrian Fernandez R-F 3. Kenny Brack R-F 4. Roberto Moreno R-F 5. Jimmy Vasser L-T 6. Memo Gidley R-T 7. Max Papis R-F 8. Tony Kanaan R-M 9. Helio Castroneves R-H 10. Oriol Servia R-T Chassis: R-Reynard, L-Lola. Engines: H-Honda, F-Ford, M-Mercedes, T-Toyota Series Points leaders: Michael Andretti 125, Moreno 112; Gil de Ferran 106, Fernandez 103, Brack 102. couldn't see anybody they were all gone." Team owner Barry Green encouraged Tracy to keep the faith. "Barry said to just start running as hard as I could, like I was qualifying," said Tracy, who came from 17th to win at Long Beach earlier this season. "I didn't get angry or depressed. I just got into a zone and started going faster and faster. "1 never asked where 1 was, but I knew I was passing a lot of guys. I finally looked at the pit board be-foi& my first pit stop and saw I was ninth." While Tracy was carving through traffic, rookie Alex Tagliani led the first 16 laps in the Player'sForsythe ReynardFord after a sensational start from the third spot. But Tagliani gave way to Juan Montoya, who had stormed from 12th to take first place on lap 18. The defending CART champ led until pitting on lap 29 and his Target LolaFord conked out a few minutes later with a broken throttle cable. That put Tagliani back on point until lap 38, when his gearbox seized and sent him to the sidelines. "This was our race," said the 27-year-old Canadian, who led a race-high 23 laps. With his fellow countryman out of the picture, Tracy inherited the lead and wasn't challenged the rest of the way. But he did run out of fuel just after crossing the start finish line and had to be towed to victory lane. "I guess we thought we were safer on fuel, but it all worked out," he said. Fernandez, in the Tecate Quaker State ReynardFord, started fifth and never left the top five as he moved back into the FedEx Championship title picture along with Tracy. Kenny Brack came from ninth to take third in the Shell Reynard Ford, while Roberto Moreno started 11th and finished fourth in the Vis-teon ReynardFord. Michael Andretti suffered his first DNF in two months and saw his points lead go from 19 to 13 as Moreno moved into second. Gil de Ferran, who came into the 14th of 20 races trailing by 19 points, only lasted one lap. Contact Robin Miller at (317) 633-9184 or via e-ml at robin.millerstarnews.com The Racing Insider Robin Miller Uncertainty rules as CART teams prepare for 2001 ELKHART LAKE, Wis. The silly season in Championship Auto Racing Teams has turned ridiculous the past 10 days as drivers, owners and sponsors have decided change is better. Other than the lineups for Team Penske and Bobby Rahal, nothing in the CART paddock is remotely close to settled for 2001. Your intrepid reporter has filled three notebooks, worn out a pair of tennis shoes and even had to be nice to team owner Chip Ganassi in search of the truth. Everything I thought was a sure1 thing two days ago is now either totally erroneous or highly unlikely. Michael Andretti, whose free agency started this madness, seemed a nice fit for his old boss, Ganassi, who is losing driver Juan Montoya and will definitely be at the Indianapolis 500 next year. But, evidently, that's not going to happen. Instead, it appears Andretti will move to Team Kool Green and switch seats with Dario Franchitti, who would take over the NewmanHaas ride. How does this get Andretti back to Indy? I have no idea, except maybe there's another sponsor (can you say Motorola?) for the Indy Racing League effort. Franchitti won't ask for $7 million or $8 million like Andretti, but Haas has supposedly offered half of that for the Scotsman. Another hard-to-figure deal has Paul Tracy supposedly leaving Team Green to move to Player'sForsythe in a swap approved by British American Tobacco the owner of Kool and Player's. Tracy would get more money, Player's would get a Canadian hero and Green would get compensated. Tom Anderson, the longtime team manager for Ganassi who gave his notice last week, seems destined to have his own team funded by Honda and including Japan's Shinji Nakano and possibly two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi. Zakspeed, a German team and one-time entry in Formula One, has attended the past two races and claims to be interested for 2001. Here's a team-by-team forecastguess for 2001: ARCIERO: Frank Arciero and son Al plan to break away from Project Racing and field a team. ANDERSON: Tom Anderson with old pal Zanardi, Nakano and Honda? BETTENHAUSEN: With sponsor Herdez now owning 80 percent of this team, look for Michel Jour-dain to have a new engine and teammate in 2001. They would like a veteran of Jimmy Vasser's caliber. COYNE RACING: Might give Alex Barron a shot the last six races but nothing looks sure beyond a Swift chassis and Ford engine. DELLA PENNA: John Delia Penna dropped his money-paying driver, Norberto Fontana, for Memo Gidley and wants to keep this savvy American for next year if he can find sponsorship. FORSYTHE: Gerry Forsythe will keep Alex Tagliani and Player's happy with Tracy. He wants to run Bryan Herta in his other team, but that is contingent on CART granting him a third franchise. GANASSI: Chip Ganassi will likely have current Williams test driver Bruno Junqueria and might pursue Tony Kanaan or Cristiano da Matta (his contract might be for sale). GREEN: Andretti is reunited with Barry Green (they worked together in the mid '80s) and maybe he'll bring up a young American like Buddy Rice or one of his Indy Lights guys. Or maybe Green will just run one Kool car. NEWMAN-HAAS: Christian Fittipaldi will return to join Franchitti and, as part of the package, Paul Newman has agreed to do a movie with Franchitti's girlfriend, Ashley Judd. (OK, I made that up). If Dario doesn't move, Haas will go after da Matta. NUNN: Morris Nunn may be the only guy with a Mercedes engine next year, but Kanaan doesn't want to leave the sharpest engineer in the paddock. PATRICK: Pat Patrick sold 150,000 shares of CART stock last week and re-upped with Visteon for three years. But neither Roberto Moreno nor Adrian Fernandez is signed for next year and the latter may start his own team. PACWEST: Owner Bruce McCaw may replace Mark Blundell with his Indy Lights star, Scott Dixon, to join Mauricio Gugelmin. Surely McCaw will dump Mercedes for something competitive. PENSKE: Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves are in place. PPI MOTORSPORTS: Owner Cal Wells has da Matta under contract, and rookie Oriol Servia has been the pleasant surprise of this season. RAHAL: Kenny Brack and Max Papis are in. WALKER: Derrick Walker wants to stay in CART and continue his Indy Racing League team but needs money. Contact Robin Miller at (317) 633-9184 or via e-mail at robia.millerstamews.com

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