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Motor Racing Roundup : Fittipaldi Has a Day to Forget

February 25, 1985| From Times Wire Services and

Emerson Fittipaldi lost all the way around Sunday in the Lowenbrau Grand Prix of Miami.

Fittipaldi and co-driver Tony Garcia finished third behind the Porsche 962 of winners Derek Bell and Al Holbert, had a protest turned down following the race and the two-time world champion from Brazil was fined $1,000 for hitting an official.

The incident occured late in the first hour of the three-hour International Motor Sports Assn. Camel GT sports car race through the streets of downtown Miami.

Fittpaldi, driving a Chevrolet-March GT prototype racer, was leading the race and Frenchman Bob Wollek was second in a Porsche 962 prototype when a caution flag came out on the race course.

The pace car pulled onto the track to pick up the leader and Fittipaldi said he and Wollek both were waved past by someone inside the pace car.

Both drivers did in fact drive past the pace car and were immediately black-flagged into the pits and assessed penalties of about half a minute.

Fittipaldi was irate, leaping from his car after pitting and dashing up to IMSA pit official Bob Raymond. The driver allegedly struck Raymond as he protested what had happened on the track.

Darin Brassfield and David Hobbs of England wound up second in a Chevrolet-March.

"We did exactly what they asked us to do," Fittipaldi said after the race, still angry. "Bob and I are both experienced drivers. We wouldn't do a stupid thing like that. I think they must understand that they are wrong."

Wollek, too, said he thought they were both waved past the pace car, adding, "I saw the pace car wave Fittipaldi through and followed him by."

Fittipaldi's team still could appeal the decision and the fine. Such an appeal, which has no time limit, would go before IMSA Commissioner John Gordon Bennett.

Juan Manuel Fangio II of Argentina grabbed the lead on the first lap and went on to an easy victory in the second annual Mazda InterAmerican Challenge earlier in the day in Miami.

Roberto Guerrero of Colombia was second and two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi of Brazil third in the 30-minute celebrity challenge for drivers from South America and North America.

Dale Earnhardt shot past Tim Richmond on a restart after a caution flag late in the race and outran Geoff Bodine and Darrell Waltrip to win the $264,000 Miller High Life 400 NASCAR Grand National stock car race at Richmond, Va.

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