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Auto racing briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 30, 2000


BGN title to Green; Harvick wins race

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Kevin Harvick started too fast and rallied from a lap down to win the Sam's Town 250 on Sunday, while Jeff Green captured the Busch Grand National series championship by starting the race.

Green, who finished second in the points race last season, also made history by joining his brother David Green (1994) as the first brother duo to win the Busch championship.

"We just worked really hard all year to be able to get this points lead and be able to win the championship," Green said. "It's paid off for us early here. Like I've said all week and all year, we're here to win races."

Harvick came in as the series' top rookie, but he hurt himself by jumping the start ahead of pole-sitter Green. He appeared out of contention at Memphis Motorsports Park when NASCAR officials sent him into the pits for a stop-and-go penalty that dropped him a lap down.

But Harvick drove his Chevrolet through the pack at an average speed of 92.3 mph and finished .47 seconds ahead of Elton Sawyer for his third victory this season, tying Steve Park's rookie record set in 1997.

Harvick said he wanted to avoid disappointing his crew after his early mistake.

"I let them down again," he said. "I knew if I quit, they'd be mad at me."

Green was third, then came Randy LaJoie, Tim Fedewa, Casey Atwood, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jay Sauter and Jeff Purvis.

Green is guaranteed of winning the championship with two races left. He led the first 179 laps but was hampered when four of the seven cautions came in the final 50 laps. He missed his chance on the final restart with eight laps left.

"It's pretty good to be disappointed with third in this series when you're capable of winning," Green said.

Harvick used the first caution at Lap 74 to get back on the lead lap and started driving his way back into the race on the 0.75-mile oval.

He passed Sawyer on Lap 176 for second, then chased down Green, passing him on the front straightaway at the beginning of Lap 180.

MATCO SUPERNATIONALS: John Force wrapped up his 10th Funny Car title and Angelle Seeling won her first Pro Stock Motorcycle championship at Baytown, Texas.

Force, who tied Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden for most NHRA championships, lost to Cruz Pedregon in the final.

Seeling, eliminated in the quarterfinals, joined three-time Top Fuel champ Shirley Muldowney as the only female pro champions. Seeling secured the title when Matt Hines also lost in the quarterfinals.

"I was so disappointed when I lost because I thought I was going to have to wait until Pomona (next week)," Seeling said. "I couldn't believe it when they said Matt lost, too. I kept asking, "Did I win? Did I win?' "

Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel) and Warren Johnson (Pro Stock) also won their divisions.

MARLBORO 500: Rain postponed CART's season finale at Fontana, Calif., until 1 p.m. today. Wet weather reached California Speedway after 33 of 250 scheduled laps.

Before the red flag came out, Paul Tracy went out of the race on Lap 23 with a blown engine. He was eliminated from the championship race, leaving Gil de Ferran, Adrian Fernandez and Kenny Brack as the only drivers able to win the $1-million Vanderbilt Cup. The race will be telecast live on ESPN.

Also, Andrew Bordin and a passenger were injured in a pace-car crash before the start. Bordin, a driver in the Toyota Atlantic series, dislocated the fourth cervical vertebrae. Passenger Yoshimichi Inada was unconscious briefly at the scene of the accident, said Dr. Steve Olvey, director of medical affairs for CART.

* * *

Up next: Winston Cup Checker Auto Parts/Dura Lube 500, 2 p.m. Sunday.

TV: TNN.

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