By BRANT JAMES, JOHN C. COTEY, Times wires
Published July 8, 2003
A woman injured when the hood of Winston Cup driver Robby Gordon's car flew into the stands during the final laps of Saturday's Pepsi 400 was released from Halifax Medical Center on Sunday morning, Daytona International Speedway director of corporate communications David Talley said.
The woman requested neither her name nor residence be released, according to track president Robin Braig, who visited her after her release. Struck while sitting in the frontstretch grandstands, she initially waved to the crowd that she was uninjured but was taken to the hospital for treatment.
A waiver printed on the back of all Pepsi 400 tickets states "the holder of this ticket expressly assumes all risk" before, during and after the event and releases the track and NASCAR from fault.
NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham said an investigation should be concluded "in a day or two" into why the hood dislodged from Gordon's No. 31 Chevrolet with four laps left. Hoods are secured with a tether, hinges and hood pins.
Gordon was involved in an accident earlier in the race but returned after his crew made repairs.
CALLING 9-1-1: AT&T will meet again this week with NASCAR to figure out where it fits into next year's series, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
NASCAR said when it announced the Nextel deal that car sponsors Cingular and Alltel would be grandfathered in despite being competitors. No mention was made of AT&T, which sponsors BAM Racing's No. 49 car, driven by Ken Schrader.
AT&T was planning a bigger deal with BAM Racing before the Nextel announcement and the lack of a Cingular or Alltel grandfathering-type deal.
EXCLUSIVE EXTRA: It's like a lottery only Matt Kenseth can win. But he still has to come up with the right number. The Winston Cup points leader will take his 14th chance on Sunday in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
The leader bonus swelled to $180,000 for the 18th race of the season. Another $10,000 was added because for the 49th consecutive race, the current leader failed to win. Kenseth could have made a run for the cash by not pitting in the fourth-to-last lap of the Pepsi 400, but he opted to race conservatively and assure a finish that would retain his points lead.
"The points are so tight, it wasn't worth taking a chance," said Kenseth, who finished sixth.
Kenseth leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 180.
Kenseth's win March 2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway came a week before he wrested the points lead from Kurt Busch. He has held it for 14 weeks.
PASSED UP: Chevrolet's marketing machine was poised to celebrate the manufacturer's 400th win of the modern era on Saturday, with Steve Park, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon holding the first three starting positions for the Pepsi 400. With Earnhardt starting fifth and Michael Waltrip sixth, its enthusiasm seemed appropriate.
Earnhardt and Waltrip, after all, had given Chevrolet wins in four of the past five races at Daytona.
Then Ford stole the show, as Greg Biffle snapped the company's 11-race winless streak on restrictor-plate tracks and Jeff Burton and Ricky Rudd made it a sweep of the top three.
Ford had not won at Daytona or Talladega since Burton claimed the 2000 Pepsi 400. It had not swept the top three since Feb. 23 at Rockingham, N.C., when Dale Jarrett outraced Kenseth and Busch.
Chevrolet leads Ford 121-111 in points and 8-6 in wins this season.
"They've had some great race teams," said Richard Childress, who raced Chevys and has Park, Harvick and Robby Gordon on his team. "They've had good people working with them; they put a lot behind it to make it work, and the engineering group has been a real big part of NASCAR."
PENSKE MILLENNIUM: Roger Penske recorded his 999th and 1,000th starts as an owner in open-wheel racing, a string that includes 115 wins, 13 Indianapolis 500 victories and 11 championships. Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran finished second and third, respectively, in Sunday's Kansas Indy 300.
GIAFFONE UPDATE: Felipe Giaffone was in good condition after surgery on his right leg Monday at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, said Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for the IndyCar series. Giaffone fractured his right femur and pelvis during a crash on Lap 56 of the Kansas Indy 300.
OBITUARY: Clarence Cagle, who was track superintendent of Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more than 30 years and helped restore it after World War II, died at 88.
He died Saturday in Daytona Beach.
Mr. Cagle began working at the speedway in 1945 after returning from Army duty during World War II. He was brought in to help prepare the 21/2-mile oval for the resumption of the Indy 500 in 1946.
He became the track's superintendent in 1948, and four years later was promoted to vice president of the Speedway Corp.
Mr. Cagle oversaw the replacement of the speedway's wooden stands and the construction of the Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, which opened in 1977.