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Schumacher win moves him into first-place tie

By TIMES WIRES
Published October 2, 2006


SHANGHAI, China - With two races to go, Formula One's season couldn't be closer. Michael Schumacher's victory Sunday in the Chinese Grand Prix tied him with defending champion Fernando Alonso at 116 points.

Alonso, who had the pole, finished second and Giancarlo Fisichella third in a race that started wet.

"We found the right moment to change to dry tires, and we had enough of a gap to drive it safely home," said Schumacher, who once trailed Alonso by 25 points.

The final races are Sunday in Japan and Oct. 22 in Brazil. The first tiebreaker is wins, which Schumacher leads 7-6. The second is second-place finishes, which Alonso leads 6-4.

After the first pit stops from Laps 20-22, Alonso led by 10 seconds. But he had trouble with his front tires, losing seconds with each lap. At Lap 31, Fisichella and Schumacher passed him. After both pitted, Schumacher passed Fisichella on the inside of Turn 1 with both right wheels on the grass.

"It was a bad day, but this is a fantastic fight for the championship," Alonso said. "And I go to Japan feeling really confident."

NHRA: J.R. Todd clinched the rookie of the year award with his third Top Fuel win, a career-best 4.494-second quarter-mile run to beat Melanie Troxel at the Toyo Tires Nationals in Reading, Pa. In Funny Car, Phil Burkart beat Robert Hight for his first win in 53 races, dating to 2004. Greg Anderson beat Kurt Johnson in the Pro Stock final, and Karen Stoffer beat Geno Scali in Pro Stock Motorcycle.