Auto Racing Glance

Auto Racing Glance

By: AP

By BRIAN KACHARABA
Associated Press Writer
INDY RACING LEAGUE
Indianapolis 500
Schedule: Sunday, race (ABC, noon.)
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (rectangular oval, 2.5 miles, 9 degrees banking in turns).
Race distance: 500 miles, 200 laps.
Last race: Dan Wheldon won at Kansas Speedway, his first victory since taking the checkered flag at the track a year ago. It was the 14th career victory for Wheldon, a former series champion, giving him some momentum heading into this month’s Indianapolis 500. Wheldon won Indy in 2005.
Last year: Dario Franchitti gambled on the rain and won the Indy 500, another bittersweet day for the Andretti family at America’s richest race. The Scotsman inherited the lead by staying on the track when the leaders pitted for fuel. He then drove slowly to the checkered flag in a downpour when the race was stopped 10 laps later after 415 of the scheduled 500 miles. Franchitti won the race under a caution light brought out when teammate Marco Andretti crashed three laps from the abbreviated end. Scott Dixon was second, followed by Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr.
Fast facts: The race has taken place every year since 1911, except for when the United States was in World War I (1917-18) and World War II (1942-45). … The closest finish in Indy 500 history came in 1992, when Al Unser Jr. edged Scott Goodyear by 0.043 seconds. … Each winner receives an 18-inch sterling silver replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy. The original stands 5-foot-4 3/4, weighs 150 pounds and has a bas-relief bust of each winner. It is valued at $1 million. … Scott Dixon, who qualified two weekends ago, won the pole at 226.366 mph. He will be joined in the front row by Dan Wheldon and Ryan Briscoe. Danica Patrick will start in Row 2. … The final field includes former Indy winners Wheldon, Helio Castroneves, Buddy Rice and Buddy Lazier, as well as 11 rookies, led by 19-year-old Graham Rahal, one of the drivers making the transition from the defunct Champ Car World Series to the recently unified IRL IndyCar Series.
Next race: A.J. Foyt 225, June 1, West Allis, Wis.
On the Net: http://www.indycar.com
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NASCAR SPRINT CUP
Coca-Cola 600
Site: Concord, N.C.
Schedule: Thursday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 6 p.m.); Sunday, race (FOX, 4 p.m.).
Track: Lowe’s Motor Speedway (quad-oval, 1.5 miles, 24 degrees banking in turns).
Race distance: 600 miles, 400 laps.
Last race: Kasey Kahne won a popularity contest, then parlayed it into a $1 million payday. After failing to qualify for the All-Star race, Kahne grabbed a spot in the field when the fans voted him into the event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and gambled on his final pit stop to steal the prize. And in holding off Greg Biffle in the final segment, Kahne became just the third driver in All-Star race history to advance from the preliminary race into the show and then win the main event.
Last year: Casey Mears stretched his fuel to the finish line to win the Coca-Cola 600 for his first Cup victory. Mears ran strong all race and took the lead when others ducked onto pit road. Mears and his team gambled and pushed their Chevrolet to the finish, running out of gas moments after he took the checkered flag.
Fast facts: Dale Jarrett finished 21st in the All-Star race to wrap up his storied career. The 1999 champion won 32 times, including three Daytona 500s. … Jeff Gordon won the most recent points race at Lowe’s, taking the Bank of America 500 on Oct. 13. His first-ever Cup win came in the 1994 event. … The No. 40 Dodge will be back for this week’s race, with Sterling Marlin likely behind the wheel instead of Dario Franchitti. Franchitti was injured earlier this month in a wreck at Talladega, and has missed three Cup starts.
Next race: Dover (Del.) 400, June 1.
On the Net: http://www.nascar.com
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NASCAR NATIONWIDE
Carquest Autoparts 300
Site: Concord, N.C.
Schedule: Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 2:30 p.m.), race (ESPN2, 6 p.m.).
Track: Lowe’s Motor Speedway (quad-oval, 1.5 miles, 24 degrees banking in turns).
Race distance: 300 miles, 200 laps.
Last race: Tony Stewart was dominant throughout in gliding to victory at Darlington Raceway. Stewart led 90 of 147 laps for his fourth Nationwide victory this year and Joe Gibbs Racing’s sixth straight. It was the sixth win for his No. 20 Toyota and the eighth for Gibbs’ racers. JGR teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch have also won. The two-time Sprint Cup champion had never won at Darlington in 19 previous races.
Last year: Kasey Kahne raced to his first victory of 2007, pulling away on a late restart to win at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Fast facts: Cup drivers took the top eight spots in last year’s race. … Clint Bowyer (1,740) has a 112-point lead over Kyle Busch in the driver standings. Busch, with six Top-5 finishes, leads the circuit in prize money with $551,530. … Mike Bliss’ fifth-place ranking, with 1,545 points, leads five series-only regulars in the standings. … JR Motorsports will enter three cars in the race: Team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 83 Chevrolet, series regular Brad Keselowski will be in the No. 88 and Jimmie Johnson will drive the No. 5.
Next race: Heluva Good! 200, May 31, Dover, Del.
On the Net: http://www.nascar.com
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NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS
Ohio 250
Site: Mansfield, Ohio
Schedule: Friday, qualifying, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, race (Speed Channel, 12:30 p.m.).
Track: Mansfield Motorsports Speedway (oval, 0.50 miles, compound banking 12-14-16 degrees).
Race distance: 125 miles, 250 laps.
Last race: Matt Crafton avoided the mayhem over the final laps at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, pulling away in a green-white-checkered finish to win the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. It was Crafton’s first win in 178 career starts dating to 2000.
Last year: Dennis Setzer outwitted the competition for his 17th career truck victory, running the entire rain-delayed Ohio 250 without a pit stop at Mansfield Motorsport Park. Setzer took the lead on the 239th of 250 laps around the half-mile oval when leader Rick Crawford cut down a tire in the fourth turn.
Fast facts: Jack Sprague has finished second in each of the last three years after winning the inaugural Mansfield event in 2004. … The top six drivers in the standings are separated by just 66 points. Rick Crawford was fifth at Lowe’s and moved within five points of leader Ron Hornaday Jr., who placed 23rd. … Hornaday is the only driver to lead at least one lap in all six races this season.
Next race: AAA Insurance 200, May 30, Dover, Del.
On the Net: http://www.nascar.com
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FORMULA ONE
Monaco Grand Prix
Site: Monte Carlo
Schedule: Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 8 a.m.); Sunday, race (Speed Channel, 7:30 a.m.).
Track: Monte Carlo street circuit (2.068 miles).
Race distance: 161.304 miles, 78 laps.
Last race: Felipe Massa of Ferrari won his third straight Turkish Grand Prix on May 11, becoming the first driver to claim the same race in three consecutive years since Michael Schumacher’s four straight victories at the U.S. Grand Prix in 2003-06. Massa finished ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen in the 58-lap event at Istanbul Speed Park.
Last year: Fernando Alonso won the Monaco Grand Prix for the second consecutive year, becoming the first driver to win back-to-back races in Monte Carlo for different teams. He finished ahead of McLaren teammate Hamilton with third-place Massa the only other car on the same lap when Alonso took the checkered flag.
Fast facts: Massa has won two of the last three races and has taken 28 of a possible 30 points since failing to finish the first two races of the season. … Raikkonen leads the standings with 35 points, seven ahead of Hamilton and Massa. … Ferrari has four victories in five races this season and six of seven dating to the end of 2007. Last year, Ferrari scored wins at three of the first four events before McLaren started a three-race win streak at Monaco. … Heikki Kovalainen returned at Istanbul after being knocked unconscious and hospitalized for a day with a concussion after his car slammed into a wall at high speed at the Spanish GP two weeks earlier. He finished 12th after starting from second on the grid.
Next race: Canadian Grand Prix, June 8, Montreal.
On the Net: http://www.formula1.com
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NHRA
Last event: Melanie Troxel became the first female driver and 14th overall to win in both Nitro classes, beating Mike Neff in the Funny Car final in the rain-delayed O’Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals. Tony Schumacher won the Top Fuel division, beating Larry Dixon with a 4.555-second pass at 306.81 mph. In Pro Stock, Dave Connolly beat Greg Stanfield on a final-round holeshot.
Next event: O’Reilly Summer Nationals, June 1, Topeka, Kan.
On the Net: http://www.nhra.com
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OTHER RACES
NASCAR Developmental Series
WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR: TSI Harley-Davidson 150, Tonight, Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford, Conn.
CANADIAN TIRE SERIES: Crown Jewel 200, Sunday, Cayuga Speedway Park, Hamilton, Ontario.
On the Net: http://www.nascarhometracks.com
Published in The Messenger 5.23.08

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