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Auto racing briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 2000

J. Burton gets his 4th BGN victory

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Jeff Burton overpowered the field in the Outback Steakhouse 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.

The Winston Cup regular earned his fourth Busch Grand National victory in 13 starts this season, leading 148 of the 200 laps on the 1-mile oval and giving Roush Racing its 12th victory in 31 races.

Burton's teammates, Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth, have won five and four races this year.

Rookie Jason Leffler, who started from the pole and led 42 laps, ended a career-best second, finishing 0.962 seconds behind Burton.

"These guys did a great job in the pits and made us look a little more dominant than we really were," Burton said. "I really think Jason was faster than we were, but the pit stops made the difference."

Leffler, whose best finish was seventh at Pikes Peak, agreed that pit stops were the difference.

"I messed up both times getting into my pit box and it cost us some time," he said.

In the waning laps, Burton, who had built leads of nearly two seconds, used up his brakes and got caught in heavy traffic, allowing Leffler to close.

"I ran the brakes off and had no brakes at the end," Burton said. "I wanted to make sure we got through traffic. I felt if he ever got up to us, we'd be in trouble. I was really glad when the race was over."

Mike Skinner finished third, followed by Jeff Green, who clinched the series championship a week earlier, Ron Hornaday and Kenseth. Martin, who will retire from the series after racing in Saturday's season-ending race in Homestead, did not run at Phoenix.

With only one caution flag for five laps, Burton averaged 115.415 mph.

SKINNER'S SON ARRESTED: Skinner's 22-year-old son Jamie was arrested Thursday night in Randleman, N.C., and charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, possession of valium, possession with intent to sell or deliver anabolic steroids and possession of marijuana.

Jamie Skinner was being held in the Randolph County jail under $100,000 bond.

Mike Skinner will start 30th in today's Winston Cup race.

CHECKER AUTO PARTS/DURA LUBE 500K: Nine drivers failed in qualifying to make it into the 43-car field by speed.

Positions 26 through 36 went to drivers who stood on their first-round qualifying speeds, with provisionals going to defending winner Tony Stewart, Terry Labonte, Joe Nemechek, Jerry Nadeau, Ted Musgrave, Michael Waltrip and Rick Bickle.

Stewart was particularly upset about his showing this weekend, saying: "I don't know what to do right now. We've got a lot of work to do for (today)."

Failing to make the field were Robby Gordon, who was too slow in his backup after crashing his primary car during Friday's qualifying, Stacy Compton, Steve Grissom, Hut Stricklin and Dave Marcis.

O'REILLY FALL NATIONALS: Gary Scelzi won his third Top Fuel championship, and Bob Panella Jr. earned his second Pro Stock Truck title.

Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., lost to Melanie Troxel in the semifinals, but finished with a 226-point lead over Larry Dixon to clinch the championship at the Texas Motorplex.

Panella lost to Steve Johns in the semifinals, but mathematically eliminated series runner-up Randy Daniels.

Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Kurt Johnson (Pro Stock) won their events.

DODGE TESTING: Dodge teams will conduct tests this week at Talladega, Ala., and Lowe's Motor Speedway as they prepare for their debut at the Daytona 500.

Bill Davis, owner of the No. 22 and No. 93 Pontiacs that will be switch to Dodge, said his teams and those from Petty Enterprises will be at Charlotte working with the engine package that needs NASCAR approval.

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