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Car split in half; no injury

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 23, 2002

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- NASCAR Busch Series driver Mike Harmon escaped virtually uninjured after a crash Thursday split his car in half when he hit an unsecured gate at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"That's the worst wreck in NASCAR history," driver Kenny Wallace said.

Harmon was treated for a bruise on his right side at Wellmont Regional Medical Center, then returned to the track.

Track spokesman Wayne Estes was not sure who was at fault for the accident.

Practice was delayed nearly three hours while the gate was repaired, and qualifying for the Food City 250 was delayed two hours. Harmon went to a backup car for qualifying, but needed a provisional to make the field. He'll start 42nd.

Jason Keller won the pole.

FORMULA ONE: Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 4 in the driver standings, agreed to extend his contract with BMW-Williams for two seasons through 2004, the team said in a statement.

Montoya, in his second season with the team, has won one of 30 Grand Prix races since his March 2001 debut. He claimed five straight pole positions this season to take his career total to nine.

Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.

"Juan is an outstanding talent," team owner Frank Williams said.

Montoya, who won the 2000 Indianapolis 500, has 40 points with four of 17 races remaining. Michael Schumacher, with 112 points, clinched a record-tying fifth title.

Montoya also won the 1998 Formula 3000 championship and 1999 CART championship. Williams won the most recent of its nine team titles in 1997.

Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, said it has no plans to sell its team.

The second-largest automaker responded to a report in the London-based Guardian newspaper that energy drinkmaker Red Bull GmbH wants to buy a 70 percent stake in the team for $76-million.

"Ford management is not in negotiations and is not planning on the sale of Jaguar Racing," group vice president Richard Parry-Jones said in an e-mailed statement. The company declined further comment.

The Guardian said Red Bull's chief executive officer, Dietrich Mateschitz, will hold talks with Ford within a month and that Jaguar Racing would be renamed Red Bull Team USA if an agreement was reached.

Ford, which is cutting costs after losing $5.45-billion last year, has declined to say how much it spends on Jaguar Racing, which it bought from former race driver Jackie Stewart in 1999.

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