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Jeff Burton beats Kerry Earnhardt

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 29, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Jeff Burton made his fourth Busch series victory of the season look easy, beating rookie Kerry Earnhardt by more than three seconds in the Mr. Goodcents 300 on Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

The race, however, likely will be remembered more for Earnhardt's stirring performance.

Earnhardt, the oldest son of the late Dale Earnhardt, was running just behind the leaders when he gambled by taking no tires on his final pit stop. He took advantage of the positions gained by his pit strategy to lead nine laps -- the first time he's paced the field in 38 Busch starts -- before being passed by Burton with 29 laps to go. Joe Nemechek finished third.

Earnhardt's finish was five spots better than his previous best: seventh at Kentucky in June.

"It was a great day," Earnhardt said. "I wanted to win, but I knew I couldn't hold Jeff off.

"Just to be able to run with Joe and Jeff, you don't know how good that feels," Earnhardt said.

Burton, who started on the outside front, led 48 total laps.

Jason Keller's bid for the championship suffered when his engine blew on Lap 170, relegating him to 30th. He entered the race in second place, 35 points behind Greg Biffle, but he now is 127 behind Biffle, who finished fourth.

U.S. GRAND PRIX: Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello gave Ferrari its fifth front row sweep of the season. The dominating Schumacher, with his fifth Formula One championship clinched, took his sixth pole of the season and remains the only driver to win the Indy pole in the three years the race has been on the F1 calendar.

Schumacher broke his track record with a time of 1 minute, 10.790 seconds on the 2.606-mile, 13-turn circuit at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, beating the 1:11.708 set last year. Barrichello, who wrecked his car in practice Friday when he spun and hit a concrete wall, was close behind at 1:11.058 in his rebuilt car.

Schumacher and Barrichello have not qualified worse than third in the 16 events this season.

Schumacher, who will try to extend his record for victories in a season to 11, drove into the grass in his first lap and nearly spun.

Juan Montoya, who leads the series with seven poles, had taken the early lead with a lap of 1:11.414, but was unable to improve on it and wound up fourth.

AMERICAN-OWNED F1 TEAM: Formula One could have an American-owned team for the first time in almost two decades next season. Phil Hill, the only American-born F1 champion, and car owner and former driver Dan Gurney announced plans for a new team that would have American owners, drivers and sponsors. The last time an American team competed in the series was 1986, when Frenchman Patrick Tambay and Australian Alan Jones drove for Carl Haas.

NHRA NATIONALS: Doug Herbert led Top Fuel qualifying for the first time in his career, topping the field at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. Herbert had a career-best run of 4.518 seconds at 324.59 mph. Tony Pedregon took his sixth top qualifying spot in Funny Car with his run of 4.765 at 312.28. Gene Wilson topped the Pro Stock order at 6.819 and 201.73.

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