BUSCH: CHAMPCAR/CART: Barber graduates have good weekend

Skip Barber grad Michael Andretti extended his points lead with a second place finish at Sunday's Target Grand Prix of Chicago. Last week's runner-up at the Michigan 500 must have had a familiar feeling when he took his second consecutive...

Skip Barber grad Michael Andretti extended his points lead with a second place finish at Sunday's Target Grand Prix of Chicago. Last week's runner-up at the Michigan 500 must have had a familiar feeling when he took his second consecutive second place finish. He's compensated with a points reward that puts distance between himself and those chasing him in the CART FedEx Championship. Kenny Brack (4th) and Memo Gidley (10th) joined Andretti among the Skip Barber trained top-10 racers. Andretti's result is his third consecutive podium finish.

In CART Dayton Indy Lights Series action, four Barber Dodge alumni completed Saturday's race in the Top-10 and in strong contention when the checkered flag fell. Townsend Bell and Tony Renna were two of only three drivers that finished on the lead lap of the Cicero, Ill circuit. Bell is now tied for third place in the 2000 season standings. Jeff Simmons completed the course in seventh place. Pole-sitter Chris Menninga, who looked like the eventual second place finisher, was felled by late contact and put out of action. He still managed to place ninth in the order. Additionally, spare a thought for Todd Snyder who, after suffering an early spin, ran strong and worked his way into the top-5, registering the fastest lap during this time. He was ultimately done in by a late crash that put an end to his race.

In NASCAR Busch Series Racing, Skip Barber veterans Todd Bodine, Joe Nemechek and Kyle Petty ran competitively and secured Top-10 finishes at the CARQUEST Auto Parts 250 at St. Louis, Missouri. Bodine, who led for a 64-lap stretch, had tire problems after pitting and never regained his early form. He placed third. Nemechek and Petty finished seventh and ninth, respectively. Petty is competing in the Busch Series after relinquishing his seat in NASCAR Winston Cup. And finally, Skip Barber trained Butch Leitzinger won his second race of the 2000 Grand-Am season on the 1.5 mile street course at Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Leitzinger and co-driver James Weaver, claimed the victory but not before encountering mechanical woes. About halfway through the contest, Leitzinger felt his transmission give out partially and had to overcome a shifter problem to continue. The resourceful veteran ran the remaining laps with a limited use of gears.

- Andrew Torres

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Series GRANDAM , INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS , NASCAR-NS