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Autos briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 3, 2000

Franchitti breaks track record

VANCOUVER -- In the midst of a keen championship battle among 10 CART drivers -- a battle that doesn't include him -- Dario Franchitti is simply trying to salvage some pride.

The 26-year-old Scot took a big step in the right direction Saturday, setting a track record to win the pole position for today's Vancouver Molson Indy.

Franchitti, who held the provisional pole after Friday's round of time trials, needed more speed in the final round after being challenged by Team Kool Green teammate Paul Tracy and Marlboro Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves.

Franchitti covered the 1.781-mile, 12-turn street circuit in 1 minute, 0.404 seconds, a speed of 106.144 mph.

U.S. NATIONALS: Defending champion Cory McClenathan stayed atop Top Fuel qualifying with the quarter-mile run of 4.655 seconds he posted Friday. Shirley Muldowney, making a return to NHRA competition at this event, is qualified 14th with 4.779 at a top speed of 306.53 mph. Qualifying continues today, with final eliminations Monday. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) and Antron Brown (Pro Stock Motorcycle) remained qualifying leaders, and Mark Osborne (Pro Stock) and Randy Daniels (Pro Stock Truck) moved atop their divisions at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind.

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