Busch repeats at Food City 500

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2003

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Kurt Busch, a runner-up three times this season, earned his first win of the year Sunday and defended his Food City 500 title by gambling on pit strategy and avoiding all but one of the 17 cautions at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Coming off last week's thrilling door-to-door battle with Ricky Craven that he lost, Busch had little competition as his Ford Taurus led the final 96 laps and easily held off Roush Racing teammate Matt Kenseth by .390 seconds.

Bobby Labonte was third in a Chevrolet, Ricky Rudd finished fourth in a Ford, Roush Racing rookie Greg Biffle was fifth and Sterling Marlin scored his highest finish of the season by coming in sixth in a Dodge.

The ending lacked the drama of last year, when Busch scored his first career victory by knocking Jimmy Spencer out of his way. This year, he stayed patient as he coasted around the .533-mile bullring -- he spun out once midway through the race -- and let the bumping and banging go on behind him. There were 17 cautions, three short of the race record, but only one was serious: Kyle Petty needed help getting out of his car after he hit the wall with 75 laps to go. Walking tenderly, he was placed on a stretcher and taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center for evaluation.

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Tony Kanaan, the fifth driver in IndyCar Series history to earn consecutive pole positions, led the Purex Dial Indy 200 for the final 41 laps to win his first Indy Racing League race.

Kanaan, who finished fourth at Homestead, Fla., on March 2, drove the last 90 laps without a pit stop. The Brazilian was able to save fuel because five of the race's 10 cautions occurred after he pitted for the last time, and he benefited from the bad luck of close pursuers, including Sarah Fisher, Michael Andretti and Gil de Ferran.

After the last caution flag, there were only two laps left, and Kanaan's Honda-powered Dallara beat Castroneves, driving a Toyota-Dallara package, by .9328 seconds -- half a straightaway in front.

MONTERREY, Mexico -- Paul Tracy made it two-for-two this season, racing to an easy win in the CART Monterrey Grand Prix.

Tracy, by far off to the best start of his 13-year Champ Car career, held off Michel Jourdain Jr. for the same 1-2 finish as the season-opener last month in St. Petersburg, Fla.

It was almost a carbon copy of that race for Tracy, who again took the lead when rookie pole-winner Sebastien Bourdais pitted and never gave it up, this time leading the final 69 of 85 laps around the 2.104-mile, 14-turn road circuit in Fundidora Park.

It was the 21st victory for the 34-year-old Canadian driver. About the only thing that went wrong for Tracy was stalling his Ford-powered Team Player's Lola while trying to do victory doughnuts after beating Jourdain's Team Rahal entry to the finish line by 2.039-seconds -- about half the final straightaway.

Formula One

SEPANG, Malaysia -- Kimi Raikkonen of Finland won the Malaysian Grand Prix for his first Formula One victory, and five-time world champion Michael Schumacher again failed to place among the top three.

Rubens Barrichello of Brazil was second, 39 seconds behind, giving Ferrari a podium finish after an absence of one race. Pole-sitter Fernando Alonso of Spain, driving a Renault, was third.

The McLaren team has won both races this season, and Raikkonen leads the drivers' standings with 16 points following a win and a third-place showing.

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