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Kenseth is double trouble for challengers

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Published October 31, 2004

HAMPTON, Ga. - Matt Kenseth held off Kyle Busch by 0.119 seconds to win the Aaron's 312 Busch Series race on Saturday, then claimed the International Race of Champions title with his second win of the season.

"We had a good day, that's for sure," Kenseth said. "My Busch guys did a good job of preparing a good car and getting us where we needed to be at the end of the race. The IROC was a lot of fun. I was fortunate enough to have Kurt (Busch) give me a big shove at the end."

Kenseth was leading the Busch race when a crash in Turn 2 took out Reed Sorenson and Clint Bowyer with less than three laps to go.

The race was red-flagged while the wreckage was cleared. On the restart, Kenseth got a good jump and held off Kyle Busch.

Martin Truex finished ninth. He has a 176-point lead over Busch in the standings with three races remaining.

Kenseth, who beat Ryan Newman by four points for the IROC title, earned his second $1-million check of the season. He claimed his first in May after winning the all-star race.

"We'd race just as hard if it was 200 bucks," Kenseth said. "I will feel a lot better tonight going to bed knowing that we're getting a $1-million check for the win instead of the $50,000 check for second."

NHRA: John Force clinched his 13th Funny Car championship, qualifying seventh in the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. The 55-year-old needed only to qualify for the 16-driver field to secure the title and $400,000 bonus. Force powered his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a 4.777-second run at 319.75 mph. Scott Kalitta (Top Fuel), Del Worsham (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Bike) topped qualifying.

LAWSUIT: A law firm representing NASCAR has accused Addison, Texas, businessman John Eckerd of helping to plan staged racial incidents at a NASCAR event this weekend. The Atlanta-based firm of Alston & Bird accused Eckerd in a letter of conspiring with associates at Consolidated Sports Media Group Inc. and the National Association for Minority Race Fans to hire a white male actor to play a NASCAR fan inciting a fight with a black actor posing as a protester. The letter claims the actors hoped to get arrested so the incident could be videotaped. Attorneys also claim an actress would falsely claim to have been raped or sexually assaulted at a NASCAR-sponsored event. Eckerd said he isn't affiliated with Consolidated Sports Media Group, but he is an independent consultant arranging financial backers for a documentary NAMRF is producing.

Times staff writer Brant James contributed to this report.

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