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Auto racing briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000


Win gives Jeff Greennear-lock on BGN title

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- Jeff Green all but locked up NASCAR's Busch Grand National championship Saturday with a last-lap pass that gave him his first victory at North Carolina Speedway.

The series leader chased down a dominating Jeff Burton and got by him twice in the waning laps of the Rockingham 200.

The first pass came on Lap 185 when Green's Chevrolet beat Burton's Ford to the flag after Ricky Hendrick's accident brought out a caution flag.

Burton, quicker on cool tires, grabbed the lead on Lap 190 and held off Green until Elton Sawyer's Turn 2 spin brought out the last yellow on Lap 194 of the 197-lap event.

NASCAR got the green flag out for one last lap and Green took advantage, using the outside lane on the 1.017-mile oval to pass Burton and win by 2 car lengths.

"He did a great job, timed it just right," said Burton, who led 106 laps. "What I should have done was checked him up, but after he got up with me, it was too late."

Green needs only to start the race in Memphis, Tenn., on Oct. 29 to clinch his first series title.

"I got that run on him and he spun the tires a little bit," he said. "I wanted that outside lane and just got a real good start and got alongside him."

Green, who led only six laps, got his sixth win of the season.

Jason Keller, Green's ppc Racing teammate and the series runner-up, was third, just good enough to keep Green from closing out the title race with three races remaining.

Mike Wallace broke his right shoulder blade in Friday's practice crash. He was treated and released from a nearby hospital Friday. He was replaced in the race by Ed Berrier, who finished 29th.

MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX: Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, hoping to give Ferrari its first double title since 1979, won the pole for the today's season-ending race at Sepang.

Schumacher ran in 1 minute, 37.397 seconds around the 3.44-mile circuit at 127.334 mph. Mika Hakkinen (1:37.860) was second, followed by McLaren teammate David Coulthard and Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello.

Schumacher won the drivers' title two weeks ago, and if either Ferrari finishes fourth or better the team will clinch the constructors' title.

The qualifying was overshadowed by a harsh exchange of letters between governing body president Max Mosley and McLaren team boss Ron Dennis. Mosley is upset because of comments Dennis recently made that criticized the way the International Automobile Federation was handling the series.

"You do a lot of damage when, as a team principal, you constantly suggest that the F1 World Championship is not fairly run," Mosley said in a four-page letter.

Two weeks ago, Dennis appeared to object to the appointment of an Italian, Robert Causo, as a permanent steward in Formula One. Mosley said the comments implied that Causo would not be impartial in matters pitting Italy-based Ferrari against McLaren, a British team.

O'REILLY FALL NATIONALS: Persistent rains and an unfavorable weather forecast for the rest of the weekend forced NHRA officials to postpone the event at Ennis, Texas. The $1.9-million event was rescheduled for Nov. 3-4.

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