The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on April 6, 1998 · Page 15
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 15

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Indianapolis, Indiana
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Monday, April 6, 1998
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1 0 0 THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR MONDAY, APRIL 6, 1998 C3 ZANARDI Continued from Page 1 First, the man with 10 pole positions was off pace all weekend and started in foreign territory (Row 6). He lost a lap in the pits and crew chief Rob Hill had to bend the steering arm so the car could continue. While Zanardi was struggling to stay competitive, the battle up front was between pole sitter Herta, Gil de Ferran, Franchitti and rookie Helio Castro-Neves. Because there were a record seven yellow flags (for 29 laps), there was no exact pit strategy. In fact, all that caution allowed de Ferran, Castro-Neves and Zanardi to overcome on-track problems. Castro-Neves, forced to stop to avoid hitting Al Unser Jr. on a first-lap melee, fell back to 28th and steadily worked his way back to 18th before the leaders all pitted on Lap 21. Owner Tony Bet-tenhausen elected to keep his driver out and the 1997 Indy Lights runner-up led Laps 26-39 in the Alumax ReynardMercedes-Goodyear. When he finally pitted on Lap 40, de Ferran assumed command for the next 40 circuits. A flat tire on Lap 13 had put him out of pit sequence but Derrick Walker's crew used all those yellows to its advantage as the 30-year-old Brazilian led 51 of the 105 laps in the Valvoline ReynardHondaGoo-dyear. Herta, who looked strong in leading the initial 20 laps in the Shell ReynardFordFirestone, never strayed out of the lead pack but all those different pit stops gave the race Its final drama. On Lap 82, Castro-Neves stopped for a splash of fuel and surrendered the lead to de Ferran, who led Laps 83-92 and was planning to pause for a few gallons before his gearbox failed and knocked him out. Castro-Neves, who had fallen MARTIN Continued from Page 1 "This Is an awesome place to be and it's a big place to win, regardless of whether this is a one-groove track and anything else people want to say negative about the track's surface," Martin said. Martin, the first driver ever to turn a lap on the track, became . the first winner when he took last year's Busch Grand National Coca-Cola 300. The next day, teammate Jeff Burton became the track's first Winston Cup winner. Roush's only "defeat" was Saturday when Dale Earnhardt Jr., driving a car owned by his father, won the Coca-Cola 300. Roush's five-car stable was impressive Sunday. After Martin, Chad Little finished second, Johnny Benson was fifth and Burton led for 48 laps before a problem with the car's right side dropped him to 29th. Ted Musgrave, in one of 10 cars, damaged in a chain-reaction series of wrecks on the second lap, was 30th. For Little, who Joined the team this year, it was the best finish in his 128-start career. He even led for 49 laps before being overtaken by Martin coming out of a caution with 30 laps to go. "I paced myself all day long. Sure enough, the complexion of the race changed Just when we thought It would," said Martin, who picked up his second Winston Cup victory this year and the 24th of his career. Martin moved from seventh to fourth in the points race, 57 behind Rusty Wallace, who maintained his lead despite finishing 12th. Jeff Gordon, another driver caught in the second-lap mess, was 31st, ending his run of nine consecutive top-20 finishes. . That wreck, which delayed the Associated Press NOBODY ELSE IN SIGHT: Mark Martin easily maintains his lead on the way to his second Winston Cup win of the season. The Smile Tells CHEVROLET 1510 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis (317) 638-4838 Visit us on the internet: www.paytonwells.com '7 -ifcrrr ' ! .0-, . ;-Xvv' . - - - Ift liJMilMto' mmbm-mmm Associated Press GOING A LITTLE OFF COURSE: Paul Tracy's car careens out of control after hitting the machine driven by Christian Fittipaldi (left) during the Toyota Grand Prix. back to ninth, was flying around the eight-turn, 1.5-mile track and making up 2 seconds a lap on the leaders when he spun into the tire wall and took himself out of contention. With those two out of the picture, the lead pack of Herta, Franchitti, Scott Pruett, Greg Moore and Adrian Fernandez faced last-minute stop-and-splash situations because they had all last pitted on Lap 56. Zanardi, who had changed tires on that Lap 72 stop, gained a few places on his own and then picked off Moore, Pruett and Fernandez as they pitted. "I had problems with my radio all day and I didn't really know where I was running but I saw all these pits boards calling guys in and then I saw Bryan up ahead," related Zanardi. "Then 1 realized he was the leader." As Lap 100 began, Herta, Franchitti and Zanardi were nose-to-tail and the crowd was on its feet. Zanardi swept past Herta in Turn Texas EC3 (Top finishers) Driver Car 1. Mark Martin Ford 2. Chad Little Ford 3. Robert Press ley Ford 4. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 5. Johnny Benson Ford 6. Terry Labonte Chevrolet 7. Jimmy Spencer Ford 8. Bobby Labonte Pontiac 9. Michael Waltrip Ford 10. Steve Grissom Chevrolet Series points leaders: Rusty Walace 1,036, Jeremy Mayfield 1,012, T. Labonte 1,001, Martin 979, Jeff Gordon 938. race by 33 minutes, brought out the first of seven caution flags that lasted a total of 43 laps. -That's an improvement from last year when there were 10 yellows for 73 laps. But, there was also another new problem. Something on the track caused right-side damage to several cars, most notably pole sitter Jeremy Mayfield and Burton. Mayfield led for 105 of the first 177 laps when he was knocked out. Burton replaced him on top only to get nicked eight laps later. "1 thought we had the two best cars and neither of us will get a chance to show what we really had, unfortunately," Burton said. The second-lap crash occurred in almost the same spot where a first-lap crash last year banged up 13 cars. It's - GEO 7 i . i n n i n i s ySy t 3 on Lap 103. "Alex had a lot more race car than I did at the end because we didn't take on tires on our last stop and I felt good about holding him off as long as I did," said Herta, who had a sure win taken away by Zanardi's incredible last-lap pass at Laguna Seca In 1996. Franchitti, in only his third start with Team Green, got past Herta on the same lap Zanardi did to take his career-best finish with a heads-up drive in the Kool ReynardHondaFirestone. Notes Fernandez retained the PPG Cup points lead with a fourth-place In the Tecate ReynardFord-Firestone. . . . Crlstiano da Matta led all 47 laps to win the PPGDayton Indy Lights race. . . . Pole sitter Paul Gentilozzi captured the Trans-Am race. . . . Formula One boss Bernle Ecclestone was in attendance with San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Think the U.S. Grand Prix is headed for the Bay Area? ILLER Continued from Page 1 passed him before he could get to the checkered flag. In 1997, he was comfortably running second and closing on the lead when he clipped the tires and KO'd himselt. In the past three races, he's led 177 of 315 laps and captured two pole positions but Is yet to win. "Gil is a very good driver and a very cool, very positive person, but right now he's damn unlucky," said car owner Walker, whose Indianapolis-based team finished No. 2 in the '97 Championship Auto Racing TeamsPPG standings despite not winning a race. "This is the best group of guys I've ever had and we are long overdue for a victory." Especially at The Beach. Starting fifth, de Ferran quickly moved into fourth and then had to pit, under the green, with a flat tire on Lap 13. That put him out of pit sequence with the leaders, but he used that to his advantage thanks to 29 laps of caution. He led Laps 40 through 80 and never relinquished the lead despite pitting on Lap 56. But he did lose second gear, a valuable item on this tight, eight-turn, 1.5-mile course. "Every corner but Turn 1 Is second gear but I was able to use first and third and it was working," said de Ferran, who regained the top spot on Lap 83. "I was being so careful, shifting Bernstein blasts to 305 mph to take NHRA showcase race Wire and Special Reports Kenny Bernstein, Cruz Pedre-' gon, Mark Osborne and Matt Hines were winners Sunday at the 10th annual Winston Invitational, NHRA's $650,000 All-Star race at Rockingham, N.C. Bernstein earned $100,000 for his second straight Top Fuel title at this special non-points event, covering the quarter-mile in 4.710 seconds at 305.39 mph to defeat Paul Romine. Pedregon won $100,000 for his final-round Funny Car victory over Ron Capps, running 4.927 at 312.06. Osborne powered to a 7.025 at 196.84 in his Pontiac Pro Stock machine, topping Kurt Johnson. Come To Payton Wells We Have lite toiiowtng: '97 FORD RANGER 3k, XLT, Like New '95 NISSAN ALTIMA GXE, Wheel, All Power '95 CHEVY C1500 Silverado, Ext. Cab, 45k '94 BUICK SKYLARK Pretty Car, 4-Dr. '94 CHEVY ASTRO Ext, 8-Pass. Mini Van '.91 CHEVY BLAZER S10, 4x4, Leather Z2 'j Foooytzss, ; Jd ,m&?&lP'9VW$t'4 Toyota Grand Prix (Top finishers) Equipment Driver 1. Alex Zanardi R-H 2. Darlo Franchitti R-H 3. Bryan Herta R-F 4. Adrian Fernandez R-F 5. Tony Kanaan R-H 6. Greg Moore R-M 7. Mark Blundell R-M 8. Jimmy Vasser R-H 9. Hello Castro-Neves R-M 10. Mauriclo Gugelmin R-M Chassis: R-Reynard. Engines: F-Ford, H-Honda, M-Mer-cedes. Series point leaders: Fernandez 41, Moore 37, Zanardi 34, (tie) Franchitti, Michael Andretti and Gil de Ferran 25. and everything, and I was still running good laps. I was thinking, 'Hey, this (gearbox) is going to last.' " Facing a quick splash of fuel near the end, like everyone but Zanardi, de Ferran had no doubts he could have held off the eventual winner. "With more fuel, I could have richened up the engine and gone a second faster a lap," he replied. "1 mean, if this car had stayed in one piece I think 1 could have lapped the field. "I think it would have been a race (with Zanardi), but I think I could have beaten him." In 1997, Walker Racing only had one mechanical failure (a blown engine at the season finale), so this was particularly frustrating. "The gearbox lost oil and finally blew apart," said Walker. As fourth and fifth gear went away, so did another great opportunity. "I like this track a lot; maybe It just doesn't like me," said de Ferran, who lost the closest finish in CART history last year at Portland. "It's hard for me to believe that we could have won this race three years in a row and we still haven't got one." Walker walked into his motor-home and asked Gil if he minded doing a couple of television interviews. He agreed, and as he walked out the door, smiled and said: "I can't win this race anymore (Sunday). Maybe we can talk about 1999." Hines, aboard his Suzuki, outran Angelle Seeling to collect the $10,000 Pro Stock Motorcycle payday. USAC season opens Ricky Shelton and Chet Fillip captured Sunday's Pepsi Rich Vo-gler Classic U.S. Auto Club races at the Winchester Speedway. Dossey hot at Speedrome Jack Dossey Jr. scored two feature wins Sunday to open the 57th year of the Indianapolis Speedrome. Dossey led all but the first four laps to win the 35-lap fast start Figure-8 for 76 late models after opening the year with a 25-lap super mini-cup car feature on the oval. PUSH - Special Finance 3f NO APPLICATION REFUSED! Used Cars 1510 North Meridian .S. needs a women s pro league to maintain soccer supremacy Unlike men's soccer, In which the United States is trying to catch up to the rest of the world, the women's game Is a U.S. stronghold. . American women won the World Cup in 1991 and were bronze medalists In 1995. They became Olympic champions in 1996 and Amateur & Olympic Sports David WMds were the U.S. Olympic Committee's team of the year in 1997, when they were 16-2. The Americans want to reclaim the World Cup in 1999. when the tournament comes to the United States. But take it from U.S. coach Tony DiCicco: America will need a women's elite pro league to maintain supremacy. He envisions such a league attracting both foreign and American players. "I do think it will happen after 2000, and I do think it will be successful," DiCicco said. Americans have thrived in International competition by assembling the best players out of college. Although the United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues to which the Indiana Blaze belong has a women's division, the national team Is virtually the only way to pursue a post-collegiate career. Meanwhile, nations such as Germany and Brazil are much improved. Germany won the last European title over Norway, the 1995 World Cup champion. 400 Tables in stock! Months Same l:M;W:l:FJ;MM1iiIM:WI H.liMlttf.llf.nill'm 24x24 Detached & Attached Includes concrete floor from s5550 f ' Smith Brothers 5202 S. Harding f)aB!llM Free Estimate 317-788-75151-800-231-0369 JJ!li'M:!ll!liM.I.UIIJIHJ.I!IJJNI,MII5litiiUJ!U.;l,l.lA 'Indiana's oldest comprehensive center for Always the latest ( 387 V I -THE n 3449 Showroom Hourr Man. - MINIMUM PURCHASE REQUIRED PREVIOUS ORDERS EXCLUDED t 783-4704 PULL OR DRAG IT Department Now Open To Serve You! mm tot To he used as dowrtfuvmpnt - Srvnal Finance Department Only "The interest in world soccer is growing," said U.S. midfielder Kristine Lilly. "It's becoming part , of everyone's culture." Most recently, the United States finished third in the Algarve Cup tournament In Portugal last month. After Mia Hamm scored three goals in a 4-1 victory over China, . the Americans were shocked by Norway 4-1 in the worst defeat in their 13-year history. Norway went on to defeat Denmark for the championship, and Hamm assisted on two goals as the United States beat Sweden 3-1 for third. The Americans' next major tournament is New York's Goodwill Games, in which women's . soccer is included for the first time. The format includes two semifinals July 25 China vs. Norway and United States vs. Denmark and medal games July 27. The United States has a series of exhibitions before then, Including a May 8 stop to play Iceland at the Indiana University Track Stadium at IUPUI. Tickets are available from TicketMaster (239- ' 5151) and the Indiana Youth Soccer Association (255-0499). ,. The Americans' mini-tour opens April 24 and 26 with games against Argentina at Fullerton, Calif., and San Jose. Calif. "Yes, it's a busy schedule. But we're dying to play games," said Lilly, a University of North Carolina graduate from Wilton, Conn. She said she likes to play in different stadiums in different re-, gions. 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