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For Labonte, It's a Special Victory

September 01, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Terry Labonte gained a piece of history Sunday, winning the final NASCAR Winston Cup Series Southern 500 run on Labor Day weekend while ending a 156-race winless streak.

Labonte took control of the 367-lap event at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C., late in the race with a lightning-fast pit stop, and went on to win the 54th running of NASCAR's oldest 500-mile race.

"It's really special for me," said Labonte, whose first of 22 wins came in the 1980 Southern 500. "I was running with Bill Elliott [late in the race] and thinking to myself, 'I hope one of us wins it, because we appreciate this place more than some of the young guys do.' "

Labonte, whose previous win came in Texas in March 1999, ran among the leaders all day and finally went ahead for the first time on Lap 335 when his crew changed four tires and filled his Chevrolet with gas in 13.11 seconds during a caution-period stop.

That moved him from third to first and it was no contest the rest of the way. Labonte got a great restart when the green flag waved for Lap 338, built a lead of more than two seconds over Kevin Harvick, weaving expertly through lapped traffic. He beat Harvick's Chevrolet to the finish line by 1.651 seconds -- about 15 car-lengths. He averaged 120.733 mph

Next year, the Labor Day weekend race date will be at California Speedway in Fontana. The Southern 500 is moving to November, possibly under the lights, at stock-car racing's oldest venue.

Jimmie Johnson finished a distant third in a Chevrolet, followed by Jamie McMurray in a Dodge, three-time Southern 500 winner Elliott in a Dodge and Jeremy Mayfield, also in a Dodge.


Bruno Junqueira won the CART Grand Prix of Denver, overtaking Oriol Servia midway through the race and leading the final 44 laps.

Junqueira, in a Ford-Cosworth/Lola, held off rookie Sebastien Bourdais at the end, beating his teammate by 0.335 of a second on the 1.65-mile street course. Servia finished third in a Ford-Cosworth/Lola, followed by Paul Tracy, also in a Ford-Cosworth/Lola.

Bourdais trailed Junqueira by no more than 1.8 seconds over the final 16 laps of the 106-lap event but couldn't catch him.


Ricky Carmichael clinched his fourth consecutive AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship by winning the 250cc race at Delmont, Pa.

Carmichael, 23, of Havana, Fla., is the first rider to win four AMA 250cc motocross titles. The win gave him a record 10 AMA national titles.

In addition to the four 250cc championships, he has three titles each in 125cc and Supercross divisions.


China retained its No. 1 ranking at the World University Games in Daegu, South Korea, and the United States finished with its fewest gold medals at the Games since 1975.

China's diving team -- featuring eight world or Olympic champions -- won 12 of its 41 gold medals. In all, China won 81 medals.

The U.S. finished with 36 medals, including five gold, from nine sports. The Americans didn't participate in men's basketball or track and field.

The United States won the men's coxed four and finished second to Canada in the men's eight at the World Rowing Championships in Milan, Italy.

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