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MOTOR RACING ROUNDUP

Ward Edges Unser in IRL Race

June 09, 2002|From Staff and Wire Reports

Jeff Ward overtook Al Unser Jr. just inches from the line Saturday night to win the Boomtown 500 in another incredible finish at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

Ward never led until he beat Unser, who had the preferred inside line, by a nose--only .0111 seconds--in the closest finish in Indy Racing League history. That broke the record set at Texas last fall.

Airton Dare finished third, .0595 seconds behind Ward, who won for the first time in 51 career starts with an average speed of 169.984 mph.

"I don't know how we did it on the outside," said Ward, who is in his first season with Chip Ganassi Racing. "This is a turnaround point. We can look forward now."

Helio Castroneves, who has won the last two Indianapolis 500s, finished fourth.

Castroneves passed fellow two-time Indy 500 winner Unser to take the lead on lap 195, but Unser went high on the backstretch two laps later and went back in front.

Ward was running in the top four throughout the final laps, and with a push from Dare on his tail, had just enough to win at the line.

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Jack Sprague finally got a NASCAR Busch Series victory to go with his lead in the series points standings.

Sprague, who gave up racing in the Craftsman Truck series after winning his unprecedented third championship last year, passed Greg Biffle to regain the lead with 23 laps to go and held on to win the Inside Traxx 300 at Gladeville, Tenn. Sprague has raced some in the Busch series since 1989 but had not won in 89 tries.

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Juan Pablo Montoya ended Michael Schumacher's string of poles at the Canadian Grand Prix, leading a record-breaking assault on Circuit Gilles Villeuve at Montreal.

The 26-year-old Colombian driver sped through the 2.747-mile, 13-turn course in 1 minute 12.836 seconds and 133.934 mph, easily breaking Schumacher's year-old record of 1:15.782, 130.494.

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