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Vasser gets by Andretti on restart

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 4, 2002


FONTANA, Calif. -- Jimmy Vasser charged past Michael Andretti on a restart two laps from the end of Sunday's CART 500 and pulled away for an easy victory in the fastest 500-mile race ever.

FONTANA, Calif. -- Jimmy Vasser charged past Michael Andretti on a restart two laps from the end of Sunday's CART 500 and pulled away for an easy victory in the fastest 500-mile race ever.

Andretti led at California Speedway before Dario Franchitti's blown engine brought out a yellow flag that led to a nine-minute pause four laps from the end of the 250-lap race.

It was the second time CART has used the new rule allowing it to suspend the race until it is safe to resume -- letting the drivers battle for the win instead of finishing under caution.

Officials gave the field two warmup laps before the restart. Vasser fell about 10 car lengths behind Andretti as they approached the flag stand, then shot forward as the green flag waved.

Vasser caught Andretti in the first turn and shot past him as the cars entered the second. By the end of that lap, Vasser led by several car lengths, and Andretti could not challenge on the last lap around the 2.029-mile oval, finishing 0.400 seconds behind.

CEO Chris Pook announced Bridgestone will become the series' first presenting sponsor. The series will be known as: Bridgestone presents the CART Championship Series. "This is a significant development for us," he said. "I mean, I've talked about stability all year long and the importance to have stability. ... I think this is a very significant building block." FedEx's four-year sponsorship ends at the end of the season.

EAST BAY RACEWAY: Bobby Alexander Sr. led every lap to win the late model race Saturday. Tim Holston got his second straight victory in the wingless sprint series. Bill Howard captured both limited late model races. Ronnie Pope won his first street stock event of the season, and Scotty Williams was the winner in mini stocks.

SPECTATOR DEATHS: A race car skidded off the track and crashed through a chain-link fence, killing two children and injuring at least four other people. Driving in heavy rain, David Brodie hit a group watching from a field on the inside of the track. Brodie was not hurt. Ashton DeSouza, 2, and Dyna DeSouza, 6, were with their parents and were watching the races at the South Dakota Circuit, 27 miles from the capital, Georgetown, Guyana. The organizers, Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club, canceled activities at the track after the accident.

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