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Patience Pays Off Big for Junqueira in Japan

April 28, 2002|Tony Solorzano | From Staff and Wire Reports

Bruno Junqueira had the speed to win the Bridgestone Potenza 500. Yet it was patience that paid off for the Brazilian driver.

Junqueira, who had the fastest time in practice and started from the pole, used outstanding pit strategy Saturday at Motegi, Japan, to claim his second career CART FedEx championship series win.

"The car was good from when we started running Thursday," Junqueira said. "I knew that Tony [Kanaan] and Paul [Tracy] led early, but I also knew it would be a long race and I just tried to be patient."

Junqueira, driving a Toyota-powered Lola, took the lead for good four laps from the finish of the 201-lap race at the 1.5-mile Motegi oval, north of Tokyo, and crossed the finish line with a total time of 2 hours, 5.882 seconds.

Canada's Alex Tagliani held a brief lead after 162 laps but went in for a pit stop on the 169th lap and had to settle for second, 12.282 seconds back in his Ford-Cosworth Reynard. Scotland's Dario Franchitti was third in a Honda-Reynard.

Junqueira made his final pit stop on the 190th lap. Franchitti took a brief lead, but lost it when he made his final pit stop on the 197th lap.

The victory was the first for Toyota at the Honda-built oval, which opened in 1998.

American Michael Andretti, who won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach two weeks ago, was forced to pull out after 115 laps due to mechanical problems.


Michael Schumacher claimed his third pole of the season and was joined on the front row by Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, Spain.

Schumacher's final qualifying lap of 1 minute 16.364 seconds was fractions of a second faster than Barrichello's 1:16.690.

Schumacher averaged 138.585 mph en route to the 46th pole of his career.


Top Fuel points leader Larry Dixon earned his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season in the Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals at Bristol, Tenn. Dixon drove his Miller Lite Dragster to a 4.583-second run at 323.19 mph. Tony Pedregon and Troy Coughlin led the Funny Car and Pro Stock divisions.... Ricky Carmichael won his 10th 250cc class race of the EA Sports supercross series at Salt Lake City to clinch the championship. James Stewart won the 125 cc class.


Tony Green of Oak Hills increased his overall points lead as he won the 75-lap Jani-King Super Late Model Series feature race, the second round of the 10-race Miller Lite Big-10 Challenge, at Irwindale in front of 5,320.

Green, the winner of the first race of the season, surged to the lead on Lap 40, overtaking Mike Walker, who had led from the green flag. Walker finished third behind Green and Rip Michels.

In the 50-lap Ultra Wheels Super truck series feature, Manhattan Beach's Greg Adler survived a furious exchange with Ryan Arciero to win, despite a late crash with three laps left.

In the 60-lap USAC Formula Russell feature, 17 year-old Chris Carmody needed 13 laps to take over the lead and run away with the open-wheeled series' first race at the track, holding off Victor Hugo-Quieroz and Scott Sharp.

Michael May of Huntington Beach captured the 75-lap American Race Truck Series Feature.

Tony Solorzano

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