CHAMPCAR/CART: Michael Andretti, Jack Sprague visit winners circle

Skip Barber trained Michael Andretti won his 39th CART race over the weekend tying him with Al Unser Sr. for third on the all-time CART win list. He now needs thirteen wins to tie his father Mario for second. Andretti's win at the Firestone ...

Skip Barber trained Michael Andretti won his 39th CART race over the weekend tying him with Al Unser Sr. for third on the all-time CART win list. He now needs thirteen wins to tie his father Mario for second.

Andretti's win at the Firestone Firehawk 500 in Japan materialized after a caution period with 29 laps remaining sent everyone into the pits. Until that time Skip Barber grad and former Barber Pro Series racer Juan Montoya had been leading comfortably from the pole for the entire race. Yet again, bad luck beset the Colombian star as the fuel hose during his stop inadvertently tangled with an electrical lead connected to the pop-off valve. With it disconnected, Montoya had no turbo boost and was forced to circulate one extra lap and make a second pit stop to have it reconnected. Instantly he was taken out of contention, but Andretti, who along with Montoya's teammate, was the only other driver able to stay on pace with Montoya. When opportunity knocked, Andretti was right there to take up the charge. Another caution in the waning laps set up a dash for the finish, but Andretti was never seriously threatened.

"For once, luck went our way," Andretti said afterwards, "It was a day when everything went great. This thing (the championship) is definitely not over. We're only 36 points out and we have 16 races left, which used to be a whole season for us. There are a lot of points out there. It just feels good to get back up here [on the podium]."

1994 Barber Pro Series champion Kenny Brack, who had set the pace all weekend and qualified second alongside Montoya had an up and down race. The Swede finished fifth, his best result thus far in his rookie CART campaign. Montoya also came home for his first finish in 2000 in seventh place.

Jack Sprague won his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race for 2000 at the Memphis Motorsports Park. It was the second victory in a row for the Skip Barber grad, and he did it by capitalizing on a mistake by the leader on the last lap. Until then, Sprague had settled in for a second-place finish but when leader Greg Biffle slid on some oil, Sprague seized the opportunity and shot by into the lead.

Sprague was joined by a host of Skip Barber trained drivers in the Top-10. Finishing third was Dennis Setzer in the Mopar Performance Parts Dodge, followed by Mike Wallace in fourth place, Steve Grissom in fifth and Randy Tolsma in seventh. Grissom and Tolsma are also Dodge drivers. Finally, Jimmy Hensley rounded out the Top 10 in tenth.

Wallace leads Sprague atop the Craftsman Series standings with Grissom in fifth and Dennis Setzer in eighth followed by Hensley in ninth.

Finally in the Michelin One Lap of America presented by Car and Driver, Skip Barber Instructor Paul Gerrard, who had led for the majority of the event, was unable to regain the lead he surrendered on the penultimate day. Along with co-driver Dan Kary, Gerrard finished the longest automobile race in North America in second place.

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Series IndyCar , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Michael Andretti , Kenny Brack , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Al Unser Sr. , Jimmy Hensley , Steve Grissom , Skip Barber , Paul Gerrard