Racing Results: April 1-3, 2005

April 4, 2005

It was a busy weekend, with Formula 1 in Bahrain for their third event of the season; NASCAR packed ‘em in at the Bristol bullring with the Nextel Cup and Busch series (rain-postponed until Monday morning); the IRL wrote a new chapter in its history with the series’ first-ever road race on the streets of St. Petersburg, joined by the SCCA’s World Challenge series; and the Grand-Am took its rapidly-growing Daytona Prototype show to the oval at California Speedway.

So, to borrow a phrase from the late Marvin Gaye, let’s get it on!

Formula 1: Three for Three

It’s a strange new world in F1 this year. Remember Ferrari, who with Michael Schumacher have won every constructor’s title and all but one driver’s title since 1999? Backmarkers. BAR/Honda, who were second in the constructor’s championship last year? Ditto. Former series champs McLaren/Mercedes-Benz and Williams/BMW? Struggling. Renault is the big dog on the block this year, and Fernando Alonso won the team’s third straight race inBahrain on Sunday, his second on the trot and Renault’s 100th as an F1 engine supplier.

Alonso led from pole and dominated all 57 laps in very hot conditions, posting a 13.4sec margin of victory over Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, who was the runner-up for the second consecutive race. McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen was third, with Trulli’s teammate Ralf Schumacher and Raikkonen’s teammate Pedro de la Rosa (subbing for an injured Juan Pablo Montoya) rounding out the top five.

Williams’ Mark Webber, Sauber’s Felipe Massa and Red Bull (formerly Jaguar) Racing’s David Coulthard claimed the final three points-paying positions.

Ferrari debuted its new 2005 car at Bahrain, with disappointing results. M. Schumacher started second, but fell out early with gearbox woes. The same troubles plagued Rubens Barrichello in practice and qualifying, forcing him to start last. He worked his way up to fifth, but faltered late in the race and finished ninth. Both BAR/Hondas failed to finish for the second straight race, adding to Toyota’s glee. Other notable DNFs were Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella (engine), who won the season opener in Australia, and Williams’ Nick Heidfeld (engine).

The series moves on to Imola on April 24.

Bahrain Grand Prix Top Five:

1) Fernando Alonso, No. 5 Renault, 57 laps

2) Jarno Trulli, No. 16 Toyota, -13.4sec

3) Kimi Raikkonen, No. 9 McLaren/Mercedes-Benz, -18.6

4) Ralf Schumacher, No. 17 Toyota, -21.2

5) Pedro de la Rosa, No. 10 McLaren/Mercedes-Benz, -11.7

Driver’s Championship: 1) Alonso, 26 2) Trulli, 16; 3) Fisichella, 10; 4) R. Schumacher, 9; 4) Coulthard.

Complete Race Results

NASCAR: Bristol Stomp

Kevin Harvick overcame long odds to win a crash-fest at the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway today, scoring the first win for Richard Childress Racing in 18 months. Harvick not only had to race without his crew chief Todd Berrier, sitting at home for the second installment of a four-race suspension after being caught cheating the fuel-cell regs in qualifying at Las Vegas, but had to start last on the grid after an unauthorized repair (while the car was impounded) to a leaking power-steering unit before the race this morning.

Team owner Richard Childress filled the empty chair atop the No. 29’s war wagon, his first time on the box since late 2001, and coached his volatile charge through a myriad of crashes and cautions (14), one of which claimed 14 cars when Bobby Hamilton Jr. inadvertently tagged Ken Schrader, spun him into the wall and triggered a chain-reaction melee that ensnared such stars as Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurry, among others.

Polesitter Elliott Sadler finished second, ahead of Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (ending a recent streak of bad luck/performances) and Dale Jarrett. Points leader Jimmie Johnson, Travis Kvapil, resurgent Kyle Petty, Greg Biffle and Scott Riggs rounded out the top 10.

For Harvick, winning is the best revenge. He topped off the day with the quote of the week: “Losing sucks. Winning doesn’t suck. Losing sucks bad.”

The series heads off to Martinsville next weekend for another round of short-track mayhem.

NASCAR Nextel Cup Top Five:

1) Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 500 laps

2) Elliott Sadler, No. 38 Robert Yates Racing Ford Taurus, 500

3) Tony Stewart, No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 500

4) Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 500

5) Dale Jarrett, No. 88 Robert Yates Racing Ford Taurus, 500.

Driver’s Championship: 1) Johnson, 835; 2) Biffle, 741; 3) Stewart, 679; 4) Carl Edwards, 678; 5) Sadler, 657.

Complete Race Results

Busch Series: Rain Rain Go Away

The Busch Series race, originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, was postponed by rain until Monday morning. Kevin Harvick managed to keep the good mojo going from his Sunday Nextel Cup win and took the weekend sweep, just as Carl Edwards did at Atlanta two weeks ago. He was closely followed (by .159sec) to the flag by teammate Jeff Burton in a green-white-checker finish, with rookie Reed Sorenson, Matt Kenseth and Sterling Marlin filling the top five. Jeremy Mayfield, Carl Edwards, Ashton Lewis, Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle completed the top 10. Just like Sunday, Harvick had to come from the back of the field to claim the win, since the grid was set by owner points and Harvick was driving Childress’ seldom-raced No. 29, having ceded the regular RCR Busch No. 21 to Burton.

Also like Sunday’s Nextel Cup race, this was also a crash-fest, with 14 caution flags for 102 laps and three red flags over the course of the 250-lap race.

NASCAR Busch Series Top Five:

1) Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 256 laps

2) Jeff Burton, No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 256

3) Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge Charger, 256

4) Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Roush Racing Ford Taurus, 256

5) Sterling Marlin, No. 40 FitzBradshaw Racing Dodge Charger, 256

Driver’s Championship: 1) Carl Edwards, 1106; 2) Reed Sorenson, 1025; 3) Clint Bowyer, 955; 4) Kevin Harvick, 875; 5) Martin Truex Jr., 864.

Complete Race Results

IRL: Clean Sweep

The Indy Racing League’s inaugural road race through the streets of St. Petersburg turned out to be a big weekend for Michael Andretti, Kim Green and their Andretti-Green Racing organization. Not only did they promote the race, but their four IRL cars finished 1-4, and their Infiniti Pro Series entry for Marco Andretti won the IPS race earlier in the day (see below). On top of all that, it was Green’s 51st birthday.

In the feature race, Dan Wheldon took advantage of a wheel-banging incident between then-leader Ryan Briscoe (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Wheldon’s teammate and defending series champ Tony Kanaan to sneak into the lead with nine laps remaining, and held off Kanaan to the checkered flag to claim his second victory of the season. The other Andretti-Green entries of Dario Franchitti and polesitter Bryan Herta followed them home. Vitor Meira finished fifth, with Scott Dixon, Buddy Rice, Patrick Carpentier, Darren Manning and Alex Barron rounding out the top 10.

Attrition claimed its fair share of cars, including both Team Penske entries of Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr., plus Scott Sharp, Tomas Scheckter, Tomas Enge, Briscoe, Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV (all accidents) plus Kosuke Matsuura (mechanical).

Unconfirmed rumors after the race had Messrs. Andretti and Green headed to the airport to catch a plane to Vegas to cash in on their sudden lucky streak.

The series hops a plane itself for the next round at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi on April 30.

IRL Top Five:

1) Dan Wheldon, No. 26 Andretti-Green Racing Dallara/Honda, 100 laps

2) Tony Kanaan, No. 11 Andretti-Green Racing Dallara/Honda, -1.4577sec

3) Dario Franchitti, No. 27 Andretti-Green Racing Dallara/Honda, -4.9315sec

4) Bryan Herta, No. 7 Andretti-Green Racing Dallara/Honda, -18.9926sec

5) Vitor Meira, No. 17 Rahal-Letterman Racing Panoz/Honda, -19.8502sec

Driver’s Championship: 1) Wheldon, 134; 2) Kanaan, 110; 3) Hornish Jr., 105; 4) Castroneves, 82; 5) Meira, 81.

Complete Race Results

In the supporting races, Marco Andretti (son of Michael, grandson of Mario) posted his first victory in the Infiniti Pro Series, ahead of Wade Cunningham and Nick Bussell. In the SCCA Speed World Challenge races, Tommy Archer won the GT race in his Dodge Viper, beating the Porsche 911 of Robin Liddell and the Chevrolet Corvette of Lou Gigliotti, while the Touring race win went to the Mazda 6 of Randy Pobst, besting the Acura TSX entries of Pierre Kleinubing and Peter Cunningham. Chip Herr’s Audi A4 was originally scored second, but was disqualified in post-race inspection for a non-compliant intake manifold. The World Challenge next races with the American Le Mans Series at Road Atlanta on April 16-17.

Grand-Am: Familiar Faces in Familiar Places

Although the Grand-Am’s Rolex Sports Car Series event at California Speedway was shaping up to be a surprise domination by BMW-powered cars, at the end of 400km the podium looked fairly familiar.

The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus/Riley of Scott Pruett/Luis Diaz scored a come-from-behind victory, having overcome a failed power steering unit and a errant cone wedged into the bodywork to just nip the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac/Riley of Wayne Taylor/Max Angelelli by .0096sec, the closest finish in series history. Mike Borkowski and Paul Mears Jr. did a good job to finish third in a very strong field in their No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Pontiac/Riley, 6.795sec behind the leaders.

The early going saw some series newcomers tearing it up at the front of the field, namely Jorg Bergmeister and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 66 TRG/Krohn Racing Pontiac/Riley and Fabrizio Gollin and Matteo Bobbi in the No. 77 Doran Racing Lexus/Doran. The middle stages saw a great battle among three BMW-powered cars, the No. 19 Ten Motorsports BMW/Riley of Michael Valiante/Michael McDowell, the No. 3 BMW/Riley of Shane Lewis/Darius Grala and the No. 8 rx.com/Synergy Racing BMW/Doran of Burt and Brian Frisselle. However, they faded in the late going as the eventual top three carved their way through the field.

In the GT class, the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 of Bill Auberlen/Joey Hand claimed the class win in 17th overall, ahead of the No. 65 Auto Gallery/TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Marc Bunting/Andy Lally and the No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of David Murry/Craig Stanton.

The series, which continued its impressive growth at Fontana with 22 Daytona Prototypes and 24 GT cars on the grid, makes its next stop just up the road at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca over the weekend of April 29 – May 1.

Grand-Am top five:

1) Scott Pruett/Luis Diaz, No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus/Riley, 86 laps.

2) Wayne Taylor/Max Angelelli, No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac/Riley, -0.096sec

3) Mike Borkowski/Paul Mears Jr., No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Pontiac/Riley -6.795sec

4) Andy Wallace/Milka Duno, No. 2 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac/Crawford, -7.025sec

5) Tracy Krohn/Nic Jonsson, No. 67 TRG/Krohn Racing Pontiac/Riley, -9.118sec

Complete Race Results

In the Grand-Am Cup undercard, Gunnar Jeanette and James Gue piloted the Multimatic Ford Mustang to its second victory of the year in the GS class, besting the Zoom Motorsports Porsche 911 of Darren Law/Mike McCalmont and the Anchor Racing BMW M3 of Boris Said/Anders Hainer. The ST class honors went to the SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 of David Haskell/Sylvain Tremblay, ahead of the Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S of Bob Beede/Bill Fenton and the Turner Motorsports BMW 330i of Will Turner/Don Salama.

Racing on TV This Week (all times ET):

4/08:

3:00 pm, Speed: NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying, Martinsville

4/09:

1:00 pm, Speed: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, Martinsville

7:00 pm, espn2: NHRA PowerAde Drag Racing qualifying, Houston (same day)

4/10:

12:30 pm, Fox: NASCAR Nextel Cup race, Martinsville

4:00 pm, NBC: Champ Car World Series race, Long Beach

7:00 pm, espn2: NHRA Powerade Drag Racing finals, Houston (same day)

11:00 pm, Speed: World Rally Championship, New Zealand (same day)

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