The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on April 18, 1994 · Page 15
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 15

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Monday, April 18, 1994
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THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR MONDAY, APRIL 18, 1994 BS Labonte Five-year drought ends with victory at First Union 400. Associated Press North Wilkesboro, N.C. It took him five years, but Terry Labonte showed Sunday he still has what it takes to win a NASCAR race. He ended his victory drought by overtaking Rusty Wallace with 28 laps to go to capture the ihrst Union 400. "We had a good run going last week and got caught in a wreck, and a really good run at Darlington and didn't finish," Labonte said. "We've had some good runs. We just hadn't run good at the right time of the race. So we finally did it today." Labonte last won a Winston Cup event July 30, 1989, a streak of 135 races. That day, he took the Diehard 500 at Talladega, Ala. In the six races before Sunday, Labonte had two top 10 finishes. He was 24th in last Sunday's race at Bristol and 35th at Darlington. This time, Labonte, among the top 10 all day at the .625-mile North Wilkesboro Speedway, benefited from a late rash of pit stops that jumbled the leaders and won In his Chevrolet. Schumacher avoids spins to post victory in Pacific GP Associated Press Aida, Japan German Michael Schumacher is perfect this year on the Formula One circuit. But even after Sunday's easy victory in the Pacific Grand Prix, he still sees himself as an underdog. "I thought we would have a pretty good chance here," the 25-year-old driver for Benetton-Ford said after his second victory In as many starts. "Butwhen we get back to Europe, then I think we will have a more difficult game." Schumacher was one of the few drivers on the inaugural Pacific Grand Prix's challenging T-l Circuit who didn't have a hard time reaching the finish line. Of 26 starters, only 11 complet WISER Continued from Page 1 into a tie with Fittipaldi for the CARTPPG point lead. "I was really excited on my first pit stop and forgot I had a sequential shifting gearbox so I was grinding the gears back and forth. "I thought it (gearbox) was an H-pattern and I didn't know where I was but, thankfully, I didn't hurt it." With Penske's drivers occupying the first three spots on the 30-car grid, they figured to be a load for the competition. Tracy led Unser and Fittipaldi for the first 20 laps before spinning out going into the first corner. That cost him six laps and, following three more spins due to gearbox problems, the young Ca Cardinals strengthen defense, sign Joyner Associated Press Outside linebacker Seth Joyner rejoined teammate Clyde Simmons and coach Buddy Ryan on Sunday by signing with the Arizona Cardinals. ' By signing the five-year, $14 million contract, including bonuses, Joyner is reunited with Ryan. his former coach, and Simmons, his former roommate with the Philadelphia Eagles. Simmons, who has the same agent, Jim Solano, signed a five-year, $14.5 NFL. NOTEBOOK million contract with the Cardi nals on March 17. "Clyde and 1 are pretty .much best friends," Joyner said. "When we sat down early in the season, we pretty much knew what the situation was going to be, Clyde and I and Jim. We talked about different scenarios Clyde and I being together, Clyde and I being separated. It was always a high priority for us to be together." Joyner also said the Cardinals' training facility ishe best in the NFL and added that he wanted to finally wins one The race marked a tough finish to a strong run for Ernie Irvan. "The first 300 laps were pretty easy. And when we changed tires that last time ..." Irvan said. "Tires will be inconsistent, and you don't if it's the tires or the air pressure or what. That last set just didn't hook up like the other sets." Irvan had made his Ford nearly impossible to catch all day, and appeared on the verge of a $91,200 bonus for winning a Winston Cup race from the pole position. It was that last critical pit stop, however, that changed everything. Jeremy Mayfield's Ford went into a spin just out of Turn 4, bringing out the sixth caution flag on Lap 328. The leaders came in for gas and tires, but it was Wallace who beat Irvan off pit road to take the lead. Irvan dropped back to fifth, but the speed he had shown in charging to a big advantage wasn't there to take him back to first place. "We know we had the car to beat today, but we just didn't do it at the end," Irvan said. "I'm definitely not discouraged. I'm disappointed." Wallace, whose Ford started in the 16th position, held the lead until Lap 371, when Labonte ed the race, which grew increasingly treacherous as spins and blown engines splattered the curves with oil. One of the early casualties of the 2.3 mile T-I track's twists was pole sitter Ayrton Senna, whose fortunes this season seem as bad as Schumacher's are good. The second-place finisher, Ferrari's Gerhard Berger of Austria, was nearly a lap behind Schumacher, who completed the 83-lap race in 1 hour, 46 minutes at an average speed of 108.69 mph. Third was Brazilian Rubens Barri-chello, driving for Jordan-Hart. He was one lap back. Brazilian Senna, the three-time Formula One champion, racing with a new team Williams- nadian's transmission finally broke. "When downshifting, my car would get hung up in the corners and start axle-hopping . . . that's what caused the spins," explained Tracy. "We tried to keep going but the gearbox finally gave up." Unser assumed command and was back In front after the first round of pits stops when he was shown the black flag for exceeding the pit speed limit of 60 mph. "I tried to slow down, but the CART officials were sharp today." he remarked. Fittipaldi flashed in front while Unser was being held In the pits and the two-time Indy winner suddenly owned a 12-second lead on Lap 43. But he slowed drastically on Lap 63. "I was cruising and then I had a finish his career playing and practicing on grass. Ryan, hired In February to replace Joe Bugel as coach and Larry Wilson as general manager of a team that finished 7-9 last season, was a rookie head coach with the Eagles in 1986 when he drafted Joyner in the eighth round and Simmons in the ninth. Before he became a Pro Bowl selectee in 1991 and 1993, Joyner had a shaky beginning. Ryan released him before the 1986 season began and didn't rehire him for two games. Hilgenberg released Jay Hilgenberg, the former star center of the Chicago Bears, was released from the hospital Sunday after being treated for a heart attack. His doctor recommended he stop playing football. 'Skins to sign Frlesz John Friesz reportedly will now get a chance at quarterbacking the Washington Redskins. The Daily Press of Newport News reported Frlesz, a free-agent quarterback who played with the San Diego Chargers last year, has reached a contract agreement with the Redskins and will sign today; made his charge in a Chevrolet. In Turn 3, Labonte passed Wallace and pulled away to a four-second victory. It was the only time he would lead. "The last time the flag came out, we felt like we could beat (Rusty Wallace) and (Kyle Petty), but we didn't thinR we could beat (Irvan). "If it had gone green all day long, he would have lapped everybody," Labonte said. Irvan finished third, followed by Petty's Pontiac and Winston Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt in a Chevrolet. After he won the pole position on Friday, Irvan disputed the idea that his was one of four cars in Winston Cup competition that can always be counted on the dominate a race. For about 300 laps, he argued a poor case before a record crowd of 50,500 under cloudless skies. Only when Irvan pitted did he lose the front spot, and it didn't take too long for him to get to the head of the pack after each of the early pit stops. Of the six caution flags, one of them caused a little friction between drivers. On Lap 208, Jimmy Spencer, among the top five drivers until that point in his Ford, was tapped by Ken Schrader's Chevrolet and spun Renault after two disappointing seasons, was in the driver's seat for only a few seconds before spinning out on the initial curve. A spin two-thirds of the way Into the season opener last month In Sao Faulo, Brazil, ruined Senna's debut with Williams and allowed Schumacher to win that race, too. "It was a fantastic feeling," Schumacher said when Senna was eliminated. "I knew Ayrton was the only competitor I had to fight against. And when Ayrton went off, I knew that I could take it easy." His Job was made even easier when Senna's British teammate, Damon Hill, pulled out of the race In the 49th lap and McLaren-Peu-geot's Martin Brundle in the 67th. problem with fourth gear." said Fittipaldi, victorious at Phoenix the week before. "Then I lost third, second and finally fifth. I told Roger (Penske) to tell Al Jr. to be careful." Other than missing the various spinners and crashers, Unser had no worries the final 42 laps. "I was really careful not to speed on my second pit stop," he Joked afterward. "You know Chris Pook (promoterorganizer) changed track on me and it took a couple of years to get the hang of it again." Mansell, whose right rear tire was knocked off the rim after being hit by Michael Andretti on Lap 67, limped around, changed rubber on the KmartTexaco '94 Lola-Ford and rejoined the action. ' "Running 180-190 mph on three wheels ... I didn't enjoy Want To Start Building Your Apply For Job At Kroger Flexible scheduling When you go off to college, we'll gut in a good word for you at le Kroger in your college town And you're virtually guaranteed a great Summer job when you come back on Summer Breaks, or when you're home for the holidays and needing some extra money. rvlnf You For employment opportunities visit your local Kroger Store Kroger Is an Equal Opportunity Employer ML Associated Press IT'S ABOUT TIME HONEY: Terry Labonte gets a congra-dulatory kiss from his wife Kim after winning the First Union 400. out in Turn 4. After the caution came out and the cars had made one lap. Spencer hit Schrader's car in the rear twice, forcing him to spin out at the entrance to pit road. Spencer was penalized five laps as a result, but the damage to his car had already sent him back to the garage. When he finally returned, he was 41 laps down. ' 'In ,fi h's Associated Press VICTORY STAND: Michael Schumacher won his second Formula One race of the season in Japan. that." said Mansell, the defending IndyCar champion who is only two points out of the lead heading to Indy. "I was almost In a big crash too, but my crew did fantastic work and got me up here." Gordon, whose sure third at Phoenix was nixed when his Val-vollne '94 Lola-Ford ran out of fuel, drove a nice, tidy race to make his hometown fans proud. "We rode along all day and turned it up when we needed to, but I guess we didn't turn it up enough," said Gordon, the only non-Penske driver to lead. "We were Just played it too cautious." Raul Boesel, in the Duracell-FuJI Film '94 Lola-Ford, came home fourth and Mario Andretti's final fling through the streets that raised his popularity wound up with a fifth-place finish. Resume A Part Time . Coma Pirat l i 'tn mi-.A .j fc. - jV.. 1 NOKIA CENTURY StoJV 100 !! 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