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MOTOR RACING ROUNDUP

This Time, Kanaan Has Something to Celebrate

July 26, 1999|From Staff and Wire Reports

The first person Tony Kanaan thought of after winning his first CART Indy car race was his mom in his native Brazil.

When Max Papis ran out of fuel while leading a half lap from the end of Sunday's U.S. 500 at Michigan Speedway, Kanaan was amazed to find himself in victory lane on a day when his radio malfunctioned and he had to make up a lost lap.

When a television reporter approached him after he scrambled out of his Forsythe Racing Reynard-Honda, Kanaan grinned widely and said, "Mom, I did it! I didn't crash this time."

Papis, who had never led in his first 50 CART races, drove his Team Rahal entry into the lead on the 84th of 250 laps on the two-mile, high-banked oval.

Behind him, it was one of the most competitive races in CART history, with passes all over the track on practically every lap. But Papis, who replaced team owner Bobby Rahal in the cockpit this season, drove away from the field.

Papis held a lead of just over three seconds at the start of the final lap. But, driving into turn three, his engine stopped, out of fuel.

Kanaan raced past Papis' coasting car with Juan Montoya bearing down. As they approached the flag stand, series leader Montoya darted low and nearly caught Kanaan, crossing the finish line just .032 seconds behind, or less than a car length.

The only closer CART finish was at Portland, Ore., in 1997 when Mark Blundell beat Gil de Ferran by .027 seconds.

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Although Bobby Labonte might not win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, his team certainly is leading in calculating fuel economy.

For the second time this season, he nursed his car home on little more than fumes, winning the Pennsylvania 500 for the first two-race sweep in 13 years at Pocono International Raceway at Long Pond.

With two late-race caution flags as his final ally, Labonte went the final 45 laps to win for the third time this season. Last month, at Dover, Del., Labonte disdained a final fuel stop and won the MBNA Platinum 400.

This time, the economy run was less dramatic because series points leader Dale Jarrett and Mark Martin also made it to the end.

The fuel window on the 2 1/2-mile track is generally 40 laps, but 10 laps of caution helped them finish ahead of cars that repeatedly pitted to top off their tanks.

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Eddie Irvine won the Austrian Grand Prix at Spielberg, keeping alive Ferrari's hopes of its first Formula One championship in 20 years.

Irvine held off David Coulthard to win for the second time this season. The victory moved him within two points of Mika Hakkinen, the defending champion who leads the drivers' standings.

Irvine was timed in 1 hour, 28 minutes, 12.438 seconds over the race distance of 191 miles. Coulthard was .313 seconds behind, with Hakkinen a further 22.282 seconds back.

Hakkinen started from the pole and survived a first-lap collision with Coulthard, his McLaren-Mercedes teammate. He surged from the back of the field to finish third and earn four points for a total of 44. Irvine picked up 10, giving him 42.

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Late Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway, Bakersfield's Dan Holtz was awarded the win in the NASCAR super late model race after Greg Pursley of Newhall failed a post race inspection and was disqualified for an engine violation. T.K. Karvasek of North Hills won the NASCAR super stock main event.

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