NASCAR Winston Cup: For the first time in years, Sterling Marlin starts every race thinking he can win. Even from the last starting spot in the field. Marlin extended his dominating start to the season, coming from the 43rd starting position to...
NASCAR Winston Cup:
For the first time in years, Sterling Marlin starts every race thinking he can win. Even from the last starting spot in the field. Marlin extended his dominating start to the season, coming from the 43rd starting position to win the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, taking over the lead after an 11-car accident that sent Tony Stewart to the hospital It was his second win of the year and 10th of Marlin's career, but four of those have come since Chip Ganassi became his primary car owner before the 2001 season. Before that, Marlin had gone four years without a victory.
Marlin, the series points leader, qualified 11th for the race but was forced to start in the back at Darlington Raceway after his team changed the engine in his Dodge Intrepid. Marlin cut through the field the entire race but didn't move to the front until Stewart, the race leader, and Jeff Gordon, who had the most dominating car, were collected in the late-race accident. That allowed Marlin to go almost unchallenged over the final portion and hold his lead in the standings. He has a 99-point advantage over rookie Ryan Newman.
Elliott Sadler finished second, Kevin Harvick was third and was followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman. Stewart, last week's winner, had passed Gordon for the lead on lap 218 and was distancing himself from the rest of the pack by maneuvering around lapped traffic and pinning Gordon behind the other cars. But as he approached Buckshot Jones to make a pass on lap 227, Jones' car bobbled and moved into Stewart's path. The two collided, sending Stewart's Pontiac into the wall. Gordon hit him from behind.
NASCAR Busch Grand National Series:
Pole sitter Jeff Burton was barely threatened en route to victory at the NASCAR Busch Grand National series darlingtonraceway.com 200 at Darlington Raceway. Burton dominated the 147-lap race leading from start to finish in a Ford Taurus and captured his second Busch race victory of the year and 17th of his career. He won two weeks ago at Las Vegas in similar fashion. Burton's only threat came from Roush Racing teammate Greg Biffle, who was behind throughout the race but closed in late when Randy LaJoie hit the wall with 18 laps to run. Jeff Green came home third in a Chevrolet, followed by series points leader Jason Keller in a Ford and Kenny Wallace's Chevrolet. Keller regained the top position in the points standings with his third top-five finish in four starts. Biffle is 12 points behind Keller, while ninth-place finisher Jack Sprague is one point back in third.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series:
Ted Musgrave passed Robert Pressley with 12 laps to go, then held him off to win the Craftsman Anniversary 200 truck race at Darlington Raceway. Musgrave, who started second in a Dodge, passed Pressley's Dodge on the high side coming out of Turn 4 for his eighth career victory on the truck series. Pressley, like Musgrave a veteran of the Winston Cup series, finished second and Mike Bliss was third. Winston Cup star Kevin Harvick was fourth in a Chevrolet he owns himself. He was followed by Rick Crawford, David Starr and Travis Kvapil. Brian Rose, Jon Wood and Winston Cup regular Ken Schrader rounded out the Top 10. There were nine cautions in the race and once Musgrave got the lead, all that seemed to slow him down was yellow flags. He led five times for 97 laps, the most of any driver. Under a yellow on Lap 103, Pressley got the lead with a fast pit stop, with Musgrave restarting second after attempting to make some repairs to the truck's body. Musgrave could close on Pressley but his truck was a handful whenever he tried to take the lead. The race restarted for the final time with 27 laps to go. Musgrave moved in again but bounced off the wall in Turn 4 when Pressley blocked a pass attempt. He finally made his pass with 12 laps to go. Pressley went underneath the lapped truck of Steve Portenga in Turn 3, but Musgrave found room on the outside. Musgrave scraped the wall, sliding off Turn 4 to pin Pressley to the low side and grab the lead at the finish line. Port Tobacco, Maryland driver Jerry Hill started the race 28th in the AmeriSuites Dodge Ram and finished 18th one lap down to the leaders.
Ralf Schumacher broke his brother's Malaysian Grand Prix winning streak, leading a 1-2 finish for Williams-BMW that challenged Ferrari's grip on Formula One. It was the fourth career Grand Prix win for Schumacher, who started from fourth on the grid and finished the 56-lap race almost 40 seconds ahead of Montoya. The Williams team was helped by a collision when driver Juan Pablo Montoya, starting from second on the grid, collided with Michael Schumacher as they jousted for the lead at the first corner. Michael Schumacher, starting from his 44th career pole position, lost his front wing and was forced into the pits at the end of the first lap. But the four-time world champion fought his way back from 21st in the field to pass Jenson Button of Renault the final lap and capture third place behind Montoya.
Indy Racing League:
Brazil's Helio Castroneves discovered the best way to get even with Indy Racing League rival Sam Hornish Jr. was to beat him. The Marlboro Team Penske driver exacted a measure of revenge when he won the Copper World Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Castroneves made a daring pass of teammate and countryman Gil de Ferran with 18 laps remaining. The two cars entered the first turn off a restart with de Ferran in front. Castroneves was able to go outside de Ferran's Dallara/Chevrolet, and the two cars ran side-by-side through turns 1 and 2, the backstretch and the third turn before the defending Indianapolis 500 winner took the lead. He stayed in front and finished 2.142 seconds ahead of de Ferran. Hornish was third in another Dallara/Chevrolet after opening the season with a victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway two weeks ago. Eliseo Salazar and Al Unser Jr. rounded out the top five. Hornish led the most laps, 67, five more than Castroneves. The native of Sao Paulo collected $118,000 for the win and scored his second career victory on an oval. It was Castroneves' eighth Indy car triumph but his second in the IRL. His other IRL win came at the Indianapolis 500.
American LeMans Series:
Johnny Herbert made the winning move on a restart and helped Audi take its third straight 12 Hours of Sebring. The 50th annual running attracted more than 160,000 fans to the 3.7-mile at Sebring International Raceway. Herbert, the former Formula One star from England, passed fellow Audi driver Frank Biela in turn one on a restart five hours into the American Le Mans Series sports car endurance race. The Audi R8 Prototype driven by Herbert, Rinaldo Capello and Christian Pescatori then led the final seven hours for the victory, holding off a late charge by the runner-up Audi driven by Jan Lammers, Andy Wallace and Stefan Johansson. Herbert and Pescatori were winners at Sebring for the first time, while Capello was part of the winning team last year. Jim Matthews, Guy Smith and Marc Goossens finished third in a Riley & Scott/Elan Prototype. Jon Field, Duncan Dayton and Michael Durand took class honors in the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes, finishing seventh overall. Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Oliver Gavin drove a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R to victory in the GTS class. Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr led all the way to take the GT class in Porsche 911 GT3. Luhr won for the third straight year and Maassen for the second.
National Hot Rod Association:
For the second time this season, Larry Dixon grabbed an NHRA national event victory. Dixon defeated Top Fuel rival Kenny Bernstein at the 33rd annual Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
Dixon beat Bernstein in the season opener at Pomona Raceway in February and has had the points lead for the Top Fuel category all year. Tony Pedregon, Darrell Alderman and Craig Treble also won their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the third of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Dixon drove his Miller Lite Dragster to a 4.629-second run at 319.75 mph to beat Bernstein's 4.677 pass at 319.29 in his Budweiser Dragster. Pedregon scored his first Funny Car win of the season, the 14th of his career. Pedregon used a 5.090 run at 281.25 in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to beat Gary Scelzi's 5.750 at 197.13 in his White Cap Toyota. John Force, the points leader and defending champion, is aiming for his 100th victory. He was knocked out in the first round when Dean Skuza went 5.045 at 301.60 in his Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus to eliminate Force, who drove his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a 5.090 at 294.82. Darrell Alderman clinched his 28th career victory in Pro Stock competition, but first since 1997. He used a 6.927 at 200.77 in his Team Mopar Dodge Neon R/T to beat Jeg Coughlin's 6.940 at 200.14 in his Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier. Alderman is the third different Pro Stock driver to win a race this season. Treble earned the second win of his career, the first since his rookie season of 1999, as the Pro Stock Motorcycle class opened up its first of 14 events for the season.