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Waltrip holds off challenge from Bodine

©Associated Press
August 18, 2002

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Michael Waltrip held off a strong challenge from Todd Bodine before pulling away in the Busch Grand National race Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

The victory in the Cabela's 250 was the ninth in Busch competition for Winston Cup driver Waltrip, and his first since October 1999.

Jeff Burton finished second, almost four seconds back, and Jeff Green edged Bodine for third to give Winston Cup drivers a sweep of the top four.

Bodine, in a Chevrolet, appeared to have the fastest car most of 125-lap race but dropped to 10th after a four-tire pit stop on Lap 79 during the fourth caution. Waltrip, who changed two tires on his Chevy during that caution, took the lead from Joe Nemechek with 38 laps to go, pulling away.

But Bodine charged through and caught Waltrip, pulling beside the leader several times. The cars touched in Turn 2 on Lap 103, and when they got to the frontstretch, Waltrip pulled down and slammed into Bodine. The contact damaged Bodine's right-front fender and kept him from challenging again.

"He ran into me in Turn 2, and that's not how you pass the leader," Waltrip said. "I waited until he got to my door, and I turned into him and tried to cave in his fender to make him push. I don't know if worked or not."

Told it worked, Waltrip said, "I'm glad; he deserved it."

Bodine had a different view of the final laps.

"I got into Mikey off of Turn 2, just hit him a little bit, but I didn't mean to," Bodine said. "He body-slammed me on the front straightway and pushed the fender in against the tire. But, hey, he was doing what he had to do. We had the best car in the field until that fender got knocked in, but it was still a good day for us."

ROAD AMERICA GRAND PRIX: Defending champ Bruno Junqueira edged CART series leader Cristiano da Matta for the pole in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Da Matta, trying to end a three-race mini-slump, started on the provisional pole after a lap of 1:42.640 at 141.980 mph. Junqueira knocked him off the top one minute from the end with a lap of 1:42.151 at 142.659. Alex Tagliani was third.

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX: Rubens Barrichello edged Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher to claim the pole for today's Formula One event in Budapest. Barrichello, who had spun out in his first run, had a fast lap of 1:13.333 for his third pole of the season and sixth of his career. Schumacher, who clinched his record-tying fifth title last month, finished .071 back.

RUGGED LINER NATIONALS: Doug Kalitta, looking for his first win at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway, has the top spot after qualifying in the NHRA's Top Fuel event. John Force led the Funny Cars, Ron Krisher Pro Stock and Angelle Savoie Pro Motorcycle.

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