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In brief

NASCAR admits error on Gordon pass of Kenseth

By BOB PUTNAM
Published April 2, 2003

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - NASCAR admitted it made a mistake at Texas Motor Speedway when Matt Kenseth was allowed to keep the race lead even though Jeff Gordon had passed him under a caution flag. "If we had to do that call over again, we would have done it differently," NASCAR president Mike Helton said Tuesday.

Kenseth was leading midway through Sunday's race when the caution flag came out. As he approached the start-finish line, he slowed to let Roush Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton and Roush-affiliated driver Ricky Rudd get back on the lead lap. Gordon, second at the time, did not want Busch to regain a lap, so he sped and passed Kenseth to retake the lead before they crossed the line.

NASCAR does not have a rule prohibiting drivers from racing back to the line under a caution, yet officials in the tower said Gordon could not pass Kenseth. Helton said NASCAR ruled because it was a scenario the sanctioning body had never seen before.

DOG RACING: Infection is widespread

The kennel cough and secondary infection that is affecting dogs at Derby Lane also is causing problems throughout the state. Orlando became the fourth track to suspend operations on Monday, joining Palm Beach, Sarasota and Derby Lane. Palm Beach, which has been shut down since March 22, will resume racing today with a limited field. All other tracks have canceled races through at least Thursday. Seven tracks around the state, including Derby Lane, also have quarantined themselves, meaning no greyhounds can move in or out.

SWIMMING: Munz opens with win

Olympic gold medalist Diana Munz began a busy week by winning the 800-meter freestyle race at the U.S National Spring Championships in Indianapolis. It was her eighth win in the event at the championships, giving her 21 national titles. That's second-best among active swimmers to the 25 of Olympic gold medalist Jenny Thompson. Munz will try to close that gap when she swims in three more events. Thompson plans to swim in just the 50. Floridian Brooke Bennett, working her way back from surgery on both shoulders following the 2000 Olympics, where she won gold in the 800 and 400 freestyle, placed sixth overall in the 800. "I'm very pleased," said Bennett, who swam for the Brandon Blue Wave team. "I've done a lot of growing in the last year and a half." She sees her progress as a step toward next year's Olympic trials.

ET CETERA

BOXING: Former figure skater Tonya Harding is ready for her next bout, a May 9 date at Lakeside Casino Resort in Osceola, Iowa, probably against an Iowan. Jeff Hargis, Harding's trainer and manager, and Des Moines-based Capital Promotions confirmed the deal that would pay Harding's camp between $10,000 and $11,000. She has a 2-1 record.

SOCCER: Iraq's qualifying games against Vietnam for the 2004 Olympics were postponed because of the war. The first game was to have been Saturday in Damascus, Syria; the second April 19 in Vietnam. HORSES: Florida Derby winner Empire Maker was listed as the 3-1 morning line favorite for the third and final pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Atswhatimtalknbout, a likely favorite in this week's Santa Anita Derby, is listed second at 6-1 while the mutuel field is next at 10-1. ... Buddy Gil, surprise winner of the San Felipe Stakes, was among eight late nominations to the Triple Crown races, pushing the total number of nominees to a record 454.

[Last modified April 2, 2003, 02:03:29]

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