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Waltrip Can Enjoy This Victory at Daytona

July 07, 2002|From Staff and Wire Reports

Finally, a win for Michael Waltrip to savor.

Waltrip, whose only other career win was marred when Dale Earnhardt died in the Daytona 500 last year, finished first again at NASCAR's most famous track Saturday night, defeating Rusty Wallace in a Pepsi 400 race that finished under caution at Daytona Beach, Fla.

Fans were upset that the race ended under caution. They pelted the cars with debris in what appeared to be a protest to NASCAR's inconsistency. There is no clear-cut rule on stopping races.

Just as Earnhardt did when he finally broke through at the Daytona 500 in 1998--and as Dale Earnhardt Jr. did last year in his emotional victory here--Waltrip celebrated by spinning doughnuts in the infield.

Waltrip led 99 of the 160 laps and held off his teammate, Earnhardt, on a pair of late restarts that more or less decided the race.

"We led the whole last half of the race," Waltrip said. "I didn't want to see it get away from me. The key was the way the car handled."

Counting Earnhardt's stirring victory here last year, in the first race at Daytona since his dad's death, Dale Earnhardt Inc. cars have won five of the last seven races on restrictor-plate tracks.

Wallace had his best finish ever at Daytona. Winston Cup points leader Sterling Marlin raced near the front all day and was third.

The finish under yellow was fitting for a race that was run in fits and starts.

The worst wreck of the night came with 16 laps left. It sent flames shooting out of Brett Bodine's car and sent many good cars, including Dale Jarrett's, out of the race.


Rookie Tomas Scheckter won the pole for the IRL's Ameristar 200, shattering the Kansas Speedway record and knocking his Red Bull Cheever Racing owner and teammate off the front row as Infiniti-powered cars took three of the top four spots at Kansas City, Kan.

The 21-year-old South African turned in a fast lap of 218.547 mph on his second time around the 1.5-mile tri-oval, just after defending champion and 2002 points leader Sam Hornish Jr. set a short-lived record of 217.743.


Cristiano da Matta rose to the challenge again, winning a shootout with Paul Tracy to wrap up the pole for the CART Toronto Molson-Indy.

Tracy, who started the day third on the 18-car grid, took the top spot with a 108.609 with just over two minutes remaining, but Da Matta answered at 1:55 to go with a lap of 108.648, then kicked that up to 108.678 just 45 seconds before the checkered flag.


Juan Pablo Montoya will be on the pole for the fourth consecutive Formula One race. The BMW Williams driver clocked a time of 1 minute 18.998 seconds on his final lap of qualifying for today's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, England.

Montoya grabbed the pole on his final lap, bumping Ferrari's Ruben Barrichello and Michael Schumacher from a 1-2 finish. Barrichello qualified second in 1:19.032 and was followed by teammate Schumacher in 1:19:042.


Mike Bliss won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway.


Ben Walker of Santa Clarita continued to hold fast to the Miller Lite Big 10 Challenge series as he won the 75-lap Jani-King Super Late Model series feature before 4,496 at Irwindale Speedway.

In the 75-lap Southern California Automobile Club Late Model series feature, Tim Huddleston benefited from an early crash and led the final 65 laps of the race to win his fourth race of the season.

Terry Young won the American Race Truck series feature and Ricky Wildman won the King Taco Legend Cars feature.

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