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MOTOR SPORTS ROUNDUP : Mansell Wins Indy Car Title

September 20, 1993|From Associated Press

Nigel Mansell, driving with the aggressive abandon that has characterized his career, overpowered the field in Sunday's Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at Nazareth, Pa., and wrapped up the Indy car PPG Cup championship.

The 40-year-old Briton, who had tears in his eyes after climbing from the cockpit of his Ford Cosworth-powered Lola, joins his closest competitor, Emerson Fittipaldi of Brazil, and teammate Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win both Formula One and Indy car titles.

Mansell is the first Formula One champion to come across the Atlantic to win the American open-wheel series on the first try. He also is the first Englishman to win the title since Dario Resta in 1916.

Mansell did it by winning six poles and five races, including four on oval tracks--a very different type of racing than the traditional road courses he was raised on.

"I just love racing and I just like this kind of racing," Mansell said. "I just forget I'm on an oval and it's just pure racing."

Mansell's victory, combined with a fifth-place finish for Fittipaldi, gives the Englishman an insurmountable 25-point lead going into the season finale on Oct. 3 at Monterey. Each race has a maximum of 22 points.

The 26-car lineup for Sunday's 200-lap race on the one-mile Nazareth Speedway oval was set by season points because qualifying was rained out. That put Mansell on the pole and Fittipaldi alongside for the start.

An eager Mansell got on the gas too soon and the first lap was run under the only caution flag of the race.

It was Fittipaldi who got the jump at the green, leading until teammate Paul Tracy, who wound up third, moved into the top spot on lap 11. Meanwhile, Mansell was struggling with his car's handling and slipped back to fourth.

"I had terrible understeer," Mansell said. "I had a nightmare for the first 20 or 30 laps, but I was sort of able to rethink and redrive the car as it was for a while. Then my car started to come more into balance."

Mansell shot past a faltering Tracy on lap 47 and led the rest of the way, beating runner-up Scott Goodyear of Canada to the finish line by 19.042 seconds.

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Rusty Wallace went from spoiler to winner to contender when he won the crash-filled NASCAR SplitFire 500 at Dover, Del.

Wallace, who started from the pole, won his second consecutive race by overcoming a two-lap deficit and edging Ken Schrader by less than a half-second. He won $77,645 and trails Dale Earnhardt by 181 points with six races left in the series championship.

But it was Wallace who was blamed for the multicar crash that ruined Earnhardt's race. He went on to beat Schrader and Darrell Waltrip in a 21-lap sprint out of the record 16th caution of the day.

The winning speed of 100.334 m.p.h. was the slowest ever for a 500-mile Winston Cup race at Dover Downs International Speedway, but it was fast enough to cut Earnhardt's season points lead from 284 to 181.

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Shelly Anderson of Ontario became the fourth woman in NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series history to win a national event title in a professional category at the Keystone Nationals at Mohnton, Pa.

Anderson won the top fuel title, John Force clinched his third Winston funny car season championship with a victory and Kurt Johnson defeated his father, Warren, for the pro stock title.

The $1,330,550 event was the 15th stop in the 18-race NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Anderson earned a place alongside Shirley Muldowney, Lori Johns and Lucille Lee in the NHRA record book with the victory in her first final-round appearance. She made her debut in top fuel racing last year at midseason.

Anderson, 27, took the victory over Mike Dunn, covering the quarter-mile distance in 4.984 seconds at 281.42 m.p.h. to Dunn's 4.993 at 278.46. Anderson defeated Jim Head, Pat Dakin and current point leader Eddie Hill en route to the finals.

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