© St. Petersburg Times, published September 1, 2002
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium -- Five-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher grabbed the pole for today's Belgian Grand Prix, the first time he will start in front at the Spa-Francorchamps track.
Schumacher clocked 1 minute, 43.726 seconds on the 4.316-mile course, edging second-placed Kimi Raikkonen in a McLaren by 0.424 seconds. Schumacher's Brazilian teammate, Rubens Barrichello, will start from third place after clocking 1:44.335.
Even though Schumacher has been successful on this track, winning five times, he had never started from the front in 11 previous tries.
"Until Thursday I had never realized I'd never won the pole here," Schumacher said. "Spa is my favorite circuit, and to win here would mean a lot to me."
Schumacher aims for two records today: a sixth win on the Spa circuit and a 10th win in a single season.
He wrapped up the driver's title a month ago and has finished on the podium in all 13 races this year.
Raikkonen dominated practice Friday and Saturday but could not claim the pole.
"I got very close but there was some sand and lots of traffic on my last lap," Raikkonen said. "Anyway, second place is still good."
U.S. NATIONALS: Craig Treble won the $15,000 K&N Bike Klash on Saturday night and Tony Pedregon led Funny Car qualifying in the U.S. Nationals in Clermont, Ind., at the most prestigious drag race in the world.
Treble rode his Suzuki down the track in 7.301 seconds at 181.52 mph to hold off Mike Berry (7.363 at 180.86) for the victory in the bonus program for the top eight pro stock bikes riders.
Cory McClenathan, Ron Krisher and Angelle Savoie led their divisions in the $2.2-million NHRA event.
GRAND PRIX OF DENVER: Bruno Junqueira overcame an increasingly treacherous track to win the pole position for the inaugural race.
The 1.647-mile, nine-turn temporary street circuit circling the downtown Pepsi Center arena has become the chief topic of conversation heading into today's 100-lap race.
"It was very difficult yesterday, but it really didn't get any better today," Junqueira said after his lap of 1 minute, 1.703 seconds at 96.093 mph to take the the top spot in the 18-car field.
"It's like driving in rain," said the Brazilian, who also won the pole for the rival Indy Racing League's Indy 500 in May. "The first part of the course is on concrete and it's very bumpy, and the second part is on asphalt and there is no grip at all. You have to be very patient."