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THE INSIDE TRACK | Newswire

Franchitti Has Quiet Drive to Victory in Toronto Race

July 19, 1999|From Staff and Wire Reports

Dario Franchitti said he was in heaven in the waning laps of Sunday's Molson Indy race in Toronto. Not only because he was winning the race but because he wasn't hearing much of anything.

"My radio stopped working late in the race," Franchitti said with a wide grin after finally conquering the downtown street circuit that has been his CART FedEx Series nemesis the past two seasons.

"Don and Kim kept getting quieter and quieter," Franchitti said, referring to engineer Don Halliday and Kim Green, general manager of Team Kool Green. "That was my idea of heaven, to tell the truth."

Two years ago, Franchitti started from the pole and crashed with Bobby Rahal on the first turn of the race.

A year ago, Franchitti again started from the pole and led 76 of the 95 laps before his brakes gave out. He crashed again in turn one of the 1.755-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit and finished 20th.

This time, the day was all his as he started second but passed pole-winner Gil de Ferran for the lead three turns into the race and stayed in front to the finish, despite a balky gearbox.

It was a big day for the team as Paul Tracy, a local favorite from Toronto, trailed his teammate across the finish line by 2.624-seconds.

Franchitti, 26, used his first win of the season and the fourth of his career to vault from fourth to second in the standings and move within seven points of series leader Juan Montoya after 11 of 20 races.

In a PPG-Dayton Indy Lights race at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Geoff Boss notched his first career victory. Boss finished 1.305 seconds ahead of championship leader Oriol Servia, though his average speed was slowed to 76.441 mph by five cautions.

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Indy Racing League driver Steve Knapp remained in serious but stable condition in an Atlanta hospital, doctors said.

Knapp fractured bones in his back in a four-car crash Saturday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The crash happened on the 88th lap of the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500.

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Greg Biffle recovered from two early pit stops to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series NAPA AutoCare 200 at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway.

Biffle, 29, started from the pole, but dropped to 20th after pitting on the 50th lap. With a lengthy stretch of caution-free racing in his Ford, he got back in front by passing teammate Mike Bliss on the 135th lap.

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Jeg Coughlin edged his brother Troy and set an elapsed-time track record to win the pro stock final at the NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Morrison, Colo.

Jeg, who also won the event last year, covered the quarter-mile in 7.267 seconds at a speed of 188.67 mph in his Oldsmobile Cutlass. Older brother Troy finished second with a time of 7.345 seconds at 187.73 mph.

Joe Amato earned his third top fuel victory of the year by running a 5.710-second pass at 253.85 mph and Tony Pedregon posted his third funny car win of the year by running a time of 5.209 seconds at 279.96 mph in a Ford Mustang.

urisprudence

A 21-year-old man was charged with at least 19 criminal counts in the crash that killed one man and injured former Indiana basketball player Luke Recker.

Bob Conley Hardwick Jr. was charged Friday in Durango, Colo., with vehicular homicide, and five counts each of vehicular assault and vehicular assault while driving under the influence. He was also charged with seven counts of careless driving resulting in bodily injury and driving under the influence.

State Trooper Mike McGuire said Hardwick's truck drifted across the center line at about 70 mph on July 10, sideswiping a pickup carrying 11 people and then hitting head-on the car in which Recker was riding.

John A. Hollberg, 23, of Senoia, Ga., was killed. The other four passengers riding with Recker, who transferred to Arizona after last season, were hospitalized.

Miscellany

Virginia Athletic Director Terry Holland is no longer a candidate to replace Clem Haskins as basketball coach at Minnesota after telling the school he is leaning toward not taking the job. Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Dienhart said he needed to move ahead with the search process.

Dominique Moceanu, citing back and knee injuries, pulled out of a gymnastics meet scheduled for Aug. 25-28 at Sacramento.

Sailing

The 25-foot Vapor, the smallest boat in the race, finally finished the Transpacific yacht race at dusk Saturday in Honolulu, posting the longest elapsed time in 44 years.

The two-man entry from the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach, the smallest boat to sail in a Transpac race, completed the 2,225-mile race in 19 days 8 hours 16 minutes 40 seconds.

Skipper Bill Boyd said Vapor was moving at 20 knots the second night of the race when it broke its rudder. He and navigator Scott Atwood patched the split rudder and it held together until the last 500 miles, Boyd said. Then they switched to a smaller backup rudder, which limited their speed to five or six knots.

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