Racing Results: 9/15/2003

September 15, 2003


9/14 Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy (53 laps; 1:14:19.838 Race Time; 5.294-Sec. Victory Margin) -- Michael Schumacher brought Ferrari their coveted 50th victory in the Italian Grand Prix, with Juan Pablo Montoya's HP/Williams-BMW in second, with Schumacher's teammate Rubens Barrichello in the second Marlboro Ferrari scoring another podium finish for the home team. Schumacher took a huge step closer to his dream of a recording sixth Formula 1 World Championship title by winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, despite race-long pressure from the Williams/BMW of Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya made a brave bid to take the lead on the opening lap, with a sensational around-the-outside pass attempt, but Schumacher just fended him off on the exit and kept his lead. The critical moment came on lap 39, when the pair came up to lap Hainz-Harald Frenten’s Sauber. Schumacher was able to quickly pass the German, but Montoya was less fortunate. He found himself stuck behind the Sauber for nearly half a lap, losing over a second in the process. This seemed to dampen the Colombian's enthusiasm somewhat, and he slowly dropped back from Schumacher, allowing the World Champion to back off in the closing laps and cruise to victory. Rubens Barrichello also had to withstand his fair share of pressure on the way to third. The second Ferrari driver was passed by the fast-starting Renault of Jarno Trulli into the first chicane, and was right on the Italian's tail when he slowed suddenly with a terminal hydraulic problem coming out of Lesmo 2 on the opening lap. The Brazilian kept pace with the lead duo through his opening stint, and it looked for a while as if he might aid his teammate by challenging Montoya. Unfortunately for Barrichello, his second set of tires upset his car's balance, and over the stint he dropped away from the leaders. This put him into the clutches of Kimi Raikkonen, who was extremely consistent in his McLaren MP4-17D, even if he couldn't match the ultimate pace of the leaders. Raikkonen emerged from the final pit stop just a second behind Barrichello, but could never quite get close enough to make a move in the closing laps. In the championship race, Michael Schumacher now enjoys a three-point cushion over Montoya, 82-79, while Raikkonen is still in with a chance at 75. All other contenders have been mathematically eliminated. Next Race: 9/28 U.S.Grand Prix, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, IN (1:30 p.m. ET; SPEED Live)


9/14 Sylvania 300, New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, NH (1.058-Mi. Oval; 300 Laps) – Another exercise in fuel calculations and pit strategy, Jimmie Johnson's worked to perfection, bringing home the #48 Lowe's Home Improvement/ Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo in first place, followed by Ricky Rudd’s #21 Motorcraft/Wood Bros. Ford 6.24 seconds back, the #25 UAW Delphi/Hendrick Chevrolet of Joe Nemechek, Bill Elliott’s #9 Dodge Dealers/Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s #8 Budweiser/DEI Chevrolet. Earnhardt Jr. picked up a few points on standings leader Matt Kenseth, who wound up 7th in his #17 DeWalt Power Tools/Roush Racing Ford, still 404 points in front of Earnhardt. Next Race: 9/21 MBNA America 400, Dover International Speedway, Dover, DE (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC)


Next Race: 9/20 Stacker 200 presented by YJ Stinger, Dover Int'l Speedway, Dover, DE (1.0-Mi. Oval; 1:00 p.m. ET; TNT)


9/13 New Hampshire 200. New Hampshire Int'l. Speedway, Loudon, NH (1.058-Mi. Oval; 200 Laps) -- Jimmy Spencer held off Carl Edwards, bouncing the rookie off the wall on the way to a victory in just his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Edwards, winner of three of the previous seven races, appeared to have a faster truck but found himself stuck behind Spencer, a Winston Cup regular, on a restart with just 16 laps to go. As the two came off turn four on lap 185, Edwards, in the #99 Superchips/Roush Racing Ford moved up to the rear of Spencer's truck and the two came together, sending Edwards banging off the concrete wall. Edwards kept his truck under control and held off veteran Bobby Hamilton’s #4 Square D Dodge to finish second. Spencer, who started from the pole, led 124 laps, including the last 85. In his only other truck start, last week in Richmond, Spencer crashed. The man nicknamed "Mr. Excitement" during his modified racing days in the Northeast, was put in the #2 Team ASE/CarQuest/Ultra Motorsports Dodge truck as an interim driver. Jason Leffler, who started the season in the truck, recently left for a Winston Cup ride. Dennis Setzer’s #46 Acxiom/Computer Associates Chevrolet finished fourth, followed by series leader Brendan Gaughan’s #62 The Orleans Hotel Dodge. That increased Gaughan's lead over Travis Kvapil from five points to nine. Next Race: 9/20 American Racing Wheels 200, California Speedway, Fontana, CA (4:00 p.m. ET; SPEED LIVE)

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