Racing Results: 8/25/2003

August 25, 2003


8/24 Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring Sport RT, Budapest, Hungary (1:39:01.46 Race Time) -- Renault's Fernando Alonso in the Mild Seven Renault lapped the field to win the race. The 22-year-old Spaniard became the youngest driver ever to win a Grand Prix, which was achieved in a convincing and dominant fashion. While much was made of the historic overtones of Alonso's first victory, the most impressive aspect of it was how it was achieved. He used the Renault's renowned launch system to catapult himself into the lead at the first corner, and then romped away from the pack at an incredible pace. After four laps Alonso already had a 10-second lead, which he increased with a series of fastest laps before his first pit stop. Raikkonen briefly grabbed the lead until his stop two laps later, after which Alonso held sway once again. Such was his pace that he lapped World Championship leader Michael Schumacher and teammate Jarno Trulli in the latter stages, and cruised to victory. If the destiny of the winner was never in doubt, second place was also a foregone conclusion by half-distance. Raikkonen's super start in the West McLaren/Mercedes from seventh to fourth, was the catalyst for his runner-up position, 16.768 seconds behind Alonso. He got ahead of Jaguar’s Marc Webber at the first round of pit stops and never looked back, rejuvenating his own World Championship hopes. Williams was forced to play catch-up after its disastrous start. Montoya was stuck behind Michael Schumacher before his first stop, but once ahead of him he closed right on to the tail of the second Ferrari of Barrichello, just as Rubens suffered a frightening left-rear suspension failure that pitched him off the road and into the tire wall. Rubens was uninjured in the head-on impact, and Montoya continued his charge. Meanwhile, Ralf Schumacher was carving his way through the lower order and had virtually negated the time lost in his first lap spin by his second pit stop. His highlight was an impressive pass on brother Michael, just as Montoya failed to make a move stick on Trulli's Renault ahead of him. Montoya used his second stop to leapfrog ahead of both Trulli and Webber, as did Ralf Schumacher. The duo charged until the end, and Montoya even found time for a quick spin. The reigning champ's poor finish of eighth means his World Championship advantage has all but evaporated. With three races to go, Williams/BMW’s Juan Pablo Montoya and McLaren/Mercedes’ Kimi Raikkonen are just one and two points respectively behind Marlboro Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher. It will take a remarkable set of events for this championship not to go down to the last round. After Michelin swept the first seven positions in Budapest, the question now is whether Schumacher, Ferrari and Bridgestone can fight back at Monza, Indianapolis and Suzuka. The Ferrari package figures to be much more competitive at the remaining circuits, with Schumacher particularly strong at Suzuka. Next Race: 9/14 Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy (7:30 a.m. ET; SPEED)


8/23 Sharpie 500, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN (.533-Mi. Oval; 500 Laps) – Winning his fourth race of the year and third in that past four events, Kurt Busch in the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie/Roush Racing Ford Taurus is winning fans and silencing critics as he continues showing them the way home. In the half-mile ‘ring’ that is the Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch stayed out of trouble for the most part, and never appeared to be seriously challenged by Kevin Harvick’s #29 GM Goodwrench Service/ Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, who again finished in the runner-up spot, this time ending up about 2-3 car lengths behind Busch at the finish. Points leader Matt Kenseth in the #17 DeWalt Power Tools/Roush Racing Ford finished 4th, going from 329 points in front of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to 351 with Jr. finishing 9th. Jamie McMurray in the #42 Havoline/Chip Ganassi Dodge was third, admittedly blocking to keep Kenseth from gaining another position, and in fifth was the #48 Lowe’s Home Improvement/Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson. Next Race: 8/31 Southern 500, Darlington Raceway, Darlington, SC (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC)


8/22 Food City 250, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN (1.0-Mi. Oval; 250 Laps ; MPH Ave. Speed; 1:51:07 Race Time) – Michael Waltrip, in the #99 Aaron’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo, put a slight ‘bump-and-run’ on Ron Hornaday’s #2 ACDelco Chevrolet to win his first Busch series race of the season. With 34 laps to go, Waltrip pulled up to Hornaday’s bumper, tapping him just enough to loosen him up, allowing Waltrip to go by for the lead, which he held to finish 1.501 seconds in front. Ted Musgrave was third in the #6 Bill Miller/Food City Dodge, followed by Shane Hmiel’s #48 Goulds Pumps/Innovative Motorsports Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick’s #21 Payday/Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in fifth. Next Race: 8/30 South Carolina 200, Darlington Raceway, Darlington, SC (2:00 p.m. ET; NBC)


8/20 O’Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline Maxlife, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN (.533-Mi. Oval; 88.813 MPH Ave. Speed; 200 Laps) On the white flag lap with less than one to go, Kevin Harvick’s cut a tire allowing Travis Kvapil in the #16 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet Silverado to win his first NCTS event of the season. Harvick’s #6 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet stalled, rendering him unable to complete the final lap and relegating him to 10th. Kvapil finished 3.403 seconds ahead of Robert Pressley’s #159 Melling Engine Parts Dodge Ram, with Rick Crawford in the #14 Circle Bar Motel/RV Park Ford in 3rd, Brendan Gaughan’s #62 Orleans Hotel Dodge in 4th, and Dennis Setzer ‘s #15 Acxiom/Computer Associates Chevrolet rounding out the top five. Next Race: 9/4 NCTS 200, Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, VA (8:00 p.m. ET; SPEED)

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