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Racing briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001


IRL youth reigns as Hornish edges Fischer

HOMESTEAD -- The Indy Racing League might have found its young stars.

Sam Hornish Jr., 21, led the majority of Sunday's inaugural Grand Prix of Miami and edged 20-year-old Sarah Fisher for his second win in as many races. They became the youngest 1-2 finishers in Indy racing history.

Hornish also won the opener at Phoenix last month, becoming the youngest winner in IRL history.

Fisher's finish was the highest by a female in a major series, besting her third place at Kentucky last year.

"I certainly think that the more young talent that we get here, the better the series is going to be," Fisher said.

Felipe Giaffone (fourth place, age 26), Didier Andre (10th, 26) and Casey Mears (11th, 23) also were in the top 11.

In their early teens, Hornish and Fisher raced each other in karts across the Midwest.

"I was worried that she was going to pull one of those kart moves on me today," Hornish said. "Thankfully, everything worked out okay."

Hornish lost the lead on Lap 168 after a slow pit stop. He took third from Buddy Lazier, who immediately spun into the Turn 4 wall. On the ensuing restart, Fisher missed a gear change and Hornish got past. He reeled in Eliseo Salazar to take the lead for good on Lap 185.

G.P. OF LONG BEACH: Before Helio Castroneves could climb another fence, he had to put one up. Castroneves fought off Cristiano da Matta lap after lap in the CART race before winning.

The Brazilians put on a sensational show over the last half of the 82-lap race on the 1.968-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit.

He celebrated by stopping his car on the track, getting out and climbing the steel fencing in front of the filled grandstand.

On Lap 76, after Tora Takagi crashed, da Matta was unable to take advantage on the restart and finished second by 0.534 seconds, or about two car lengths.

Patrick Carpentier, who missed three races last year with a broken left wrist, chipped a bone in the same wrist when he hit the rear of the car driven by Max Papis.

SUMMITRACING.COM NATIONALS: Kenny Bernstein beat Andrew Cowin in the Top Fuel final for his 54th NHRA victory and second straight at Las Vegas. Bernstein ran the quarter-mile in 4.533 seconds at a top speed of 325.53 mph. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Bob Panella (Pro Stock Truck) also won their divisions.

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