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Teenager takes Busch win

By Wire services
Published August 31, 2003

DARLINGTON, S.C. - Teammates Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch finished 1-2 in the Busch series Winn-Dixie 200 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Vickers trailed veteran driver Michael Waltrip late in the race when Scott Wimmer's crash brought out the fifth caution flag of the race.

The leaders pitted, and Vickers' Hendrick Motorsports crew got him onto the track ahead of Waltrip.

Green-flag racing resumed with 16 laps to go and Vickers pulled steadily away, moving to a lead of more than two seconds before the 18-year-old Busch, brother of Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch, passed Waltrip for second.

That's the way it finished, with Vickers' Chevrolet crossing the line 1.977-seconds, about 10 car lengths, ahead of Busch's Monte Carlo.

It was the second series victory for Vickers in 50 starts and the second runner-up finish for Busch in three starts.

Waltrip held off Bobby Hamilton Jr. for fourth.

Kevin Harvick, who led a race-high 76 laps, fell out of contention when a loose lug nut on his final pit stop cost him track position. He finished fifth, just ahead of Kasey Kahne.

"A race car doesn't know how old the driver is," Waltrip, 40, said. "I keep telling people, with the equipment these young guys get into nowadays, it's not surprising they have so much success."

As for Vickers and Busch, the youngest drivers in the 43-car field, Waltrip said, "You add their age together and it doesn't equal how old I am. They don't know any better that they can't do the job. They get in the car and they get on it."

Vickers beat Waltrip out of the pits to take the lead twice in the 147-lap event, but the first time he got held up by a lapped car on the restart and Waltrip, who said his car was better on long runs, got back on top.

Vickers gave most of the credit for Saturday's win to his crew.

"They got us in the lead twice, and that was against a Winston Cup team, too," he said.

Vickers said he probably would not have been able to get past Waltrip without the last pit stop.

"Michael had an awesome car on the long runs, and those Winston Cup guys know how to keep you from passing in situations like that," Vickers said.

Scott Riggs finished 17th and saw his points lead over David Green, who finished 14th, shrink from 28 to 19.

The win vaulted Vickers from fifth to third in the standings, 67 points behind the leader with nine races remaining.

Jason Keller, who finished seventh, is three points behind Vickers with Hamilton nine behind Keller in the closest Busch championship race.

GRAND PRIX OF DENVER: With an assist from the weather Bruno Junqueira repeated as pole-sitter at the CART race.

Light rain dampened sections of the 1.65-mile street course for early qualifiers, then the rain intensified and wiped out the qualifying attempt of the next-to-last driver, Adrian Fernandez.

That meant Junqueira, who won Friday's provisional pole and who would have been last to qualify Saturday, didn't need to make an attempt because nobody bettered his track-record lap of 1 minute, 1.438 seconds (96.507 mph).

Junqueira won last year's inaugural race, leading wire-to-wire after winning the pole.

Oriol Servia had the quickest lap (1:01.477) before the heavy rain. He starts on the front row in today's 106-lap race.

Rookie Sebastien Bourdais was second fastest Saturday at 1:01.547 and starts on the inside of the second row alongside Fernandez, who qualified on the basis of his Friday time (1:01.583).

Starting position is critical. In CART's 14 races this season the winner has started no worse than fourth.

Paul Tracy, the season points leader who has won six races, was clocking the fastest lap of the week through six of nine turns before he spun out.

"You're pushing to the limit, you have one lap to do it, you're on cold tires and that was it," said Tracy, who starts ninth. "You just try not to hit the wall. I was trying to get the most out of every corner, and I lost it."

[Last modified August 31, 2003, 01:47:13]


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