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Autos/racing roundup

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 2001


Nemechek grabs BGN victory with quick stop

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Joe Nemechek ended Todd Bodine's recent stranglehold on the Busch Grand National series by winning the Aaron's 312 on Saturday.

Nemechek, a Winston Cup regular and former Lakeland resident, gambled by pitting five laps before the rest of the field at Atlanta Motor Speedway. That allowed him to build a comfortable lead when the others stopped with 31 laps left.

He ran from the field, beating Greg Biffle by 10 seconds. It was Nemechek's 10th BGN victory and first since April.

"For some reason the track got extremely tight; a whole bunch of the leaders got tight and I was one of them," he said. "A whole bunch of cars were passing me so it just seemed like we should pit. We came in, got some Goodyears and some gas, and away we went."

Biffle took four new tires on his pit stop and appeared to be catching Nemechek with 15 laps to go. But he brushed the wall in Turn 4 and lost too much ground.

Tim Sauter was knocked unconscious on Lap 105. Marty Houston spun and Sauter hit him. As the two cars drifted toward the wall, Elton Sawyer T-boned Sauter in the driver-side door. Sauter was treated and released from the infield care center.

MONTERREY GP: Kenny Brack, last year's top CART rookie, stole the spotlight from a trio of fast Brazilians, winning the pole for today's inaugural race in Mexico.

Calling the slippery new track "a moving target," Brack added, "I'm a little surprised, to be honest. Coming down here, we set a goal to be in the top five, top eight."

To win his first pole of any kind since August 1996 in Silverstone, England, in Europe's Formula 3000 series, Brack made the best adjustment on the 2.1-mile, 12-turn downtown road circuit. Brack, in his 21st CART start, switched to his second set of qualifying tires about halfway through his session to set his speed of 100.665 mph.

Cristiano da Matta, who took over the Newman-Haas seat vacated by Michael Andretti, earned the other front-row starting spot at 100.404.

BIKE WEEK: Kawasaki rider Ricky Carmichael won the AMA Supercross event at Daytona, beating Mike LaRocco by 6.2 seconds. Largo's Tim Ferry was fifth. Suzuki rider Mathew Mladin won the pole for today's Daytona 200 road race at 118.203 mph.

TODAY ON TV: CART, Monterrey Grand Prix, 4, Ch. 28; AMA, Daytona 200 5:30, ESPN2 (taped).

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