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THE INSIDE TRACK | NEWSWIRE

Victory Belongs to Martin, but Gordon's Still in Charge

October 05, 1998|From Staff and Wire Reports

Jeff Gordon needs to finish in the top five of the remaining NASCAR races to win his third Winston Cup in four years.

That's exactly what he did Sunday.

Battling handling problems over the final third of the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Concord, N.C., Gordon finished fifth as Mark Martin won his seventh race this year.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Martin led for 215 laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The net effect is that Gordon, who came to Charlotte 199 points ahead of Martin atop the season standings, saw his lead cut to 174 with five races left.

Martin knows he still has a lot of work.

"This won't cut it," Martin said. "We've got to pick up a bunch of points someplace to have any chance of catching up to him."

The event was slowed by 11 caution flags, and a broken sewer line near the speedway resulted in a backup that produced a stream of water flowing down the backstretch, causing the race to be red-flagged for 42 minutes. The race took nearly five hours to complete.

Martin's victory highlighted an impressive day for Roush Racing, which had four of the top eight finishers. Jeff Burton was third, Kevin Lepage sixth and Chad Little eighth.

*

Dario Franchitti won his third race of the season as rain played havoc with the inaugural CART FedEx Series Texaco Grand Prix at Houston, delaying the start and cutting it short.

The race, scheduled for 100 laps on the 1.527-mile, 10-turn temporary street course in downtown Houston, was flagged to a halt after 70 laps as rain poured down and standing water began to form on the track.

Franchitti started on the front row of the 28-car field, next to pole-winner Greg Moore. The 25-year-old Scot wound up leading virtually the entire way.

He defeated Moore to the first turn to take the lead, then pulled away after the Canadian driver was sidelined by a spin on the fourth lap.

*

Rain forced the postponement of final eliminations for the NHRA Parts America Nationals at Topeka, Kan.

The $1.8-million event was rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17.

*

Anthony Lazzaro slipped by pole-sitter Alex Tagliani at the first turn and held him off to win the rain-shortened KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, the final race of the season.

Lee Bentham finished third, but he won the Atlantic tour's season title.

*

Steve Crevier won the American Motorcyclist Assn.'s 600cc Supersport championship with an eighth-place finish at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Miscellany

Michelle Kwan and Todd Eldredge each earned 6.0 presentation marks on their free skate to win titles at the Keri Lotion Figure Skating Classic at Daytona Beach, Fla.

Kwan, the world champion and 1998 Olympic silver medalist, earned two perfect marks.

Eldredge, the 1998 world championships runner-up, received one 6.0 mark.

American Michael Weiss finished second, followed by Ukraine's Viktor Petrenko and Olympic champion Ilia Kulik.

Angela Nikodinov was second in the women's competition. Russia's Maria Butyrskaya finished third and Surya Bonaly of France fourth.

Trainer Juan Serey drew a 30-day suspension because one of his horses, Shesibg, tested positive for Albuterol after finishing second in a race at Belmont on Sept. 11.

The suspension originally was for 45 days, but was reduced because Serey withdrew his appeal.

Blyth Tait won the individual gold medal and led the New Zealand team to victory in the three-day event at the 1998 World Equestrian Games at Rome.

Fellow New Zealander Mark Todd took the silver on Broadcast News, while Sweden's Paula Tornquist on SAS Monaghan finished third.

David O'Connor had the U.S. team's best result, finishing sixth on Giltedge.

The U.S. men's soccer team was drawn into a group with World Cup champion France, World Cup runner-up Brazil and Oceania champion New Zealand for competition January in the FIFA Confederations Cup at Guadalajara, Mexico.

The other first-round group, which will play in Mexico City, includes Bolivia, Egypt, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

Andrew Musuva of Kenya won the Twin Cities Marathon at St. Paul, Minn., for the second consecutive year and Zinaida Semenova of Russia took the women's division.

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