January 6

Burton times it just right

first_imgIt was the third victory of the season and 25th of his Busch career for Burton, whose first win of 2007 came in Las Vegas when he spun out Busch just before the finish line. Nextel Cup drivers, set to compete today in the Sharp Aquos 500, took the top 11 spots in the Busch race, with Jimmie Johnson fourth, followed by Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon, rookie David Ragan and Reed Sorenson. Both Hamlin and Kahne overcame spinouts during the race on the track made more treacherous than usual by temperatures still hovering in the 90s after the sun went down. Runaway series points leader Carl Edwards, who went into the night leading David Reutimann by 690 points, was running in the top 10 until he was involved in a late crash. Edwards finished 25th and now leads new runner-up Harvick by 654 points. A hard, fiery crash midway through the race sent rookie Brad Keselowski to a hospital for evaluation of an apparent leg injury. ETC.: Two executives with the Arizona Diamondbacks have purchased majority interest in the NASCAR team owned by Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, The Associated Press has learned. Jeff Moorad, chief executive officer of the Diamondbacks, and Tom Garfinkel, the chief operating officer, will be introduced as the controlling owners of Hall of Fame Racing at a news conference today at California Speedway, two people familiar with the deal told the AP. They requested anonymity because the formal announcement had yet to be made. Detroit Indy Grand Prix Helio Castroneves won his IndyCar Series-record seventh pole of the season, edging Dario Franchitti for the top spot in the 18-car field. Castroneves, who averaged 103.401 mph, broke Billy Boat’s 1998 record of six pole position victories in a season and added to his series record total of 23. Series points leader Scott Dixon qualified third, and Tony Kanaan rounded out the second row. Rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth, followed by Marco Andretti. With two races left, Dixon and Franchitti are separated by four points for the series championship, while Kanaan is in third-place, 62 points off of the lead. Castroneves took exception to the idea that he and the rest of the field are content to go through the motions. “I don’t care if they are fighting for a championship,” Castroneves said. “They have got to be careful of me because I am going to go for it.” The pole win is only the latest of Castroneves’ successes in Detroit. The Brazilian won his first IndyCar race on Belle Isle in 2000, and followed up with another victory in 2001. Today’s race will be the first IndyCar race the city has hosted in six years, and Castroneves will be vying for a third straight win. Dutch Grand Prix Three-time champion Sebastien Bourdais won the pole at Champ Car’s maiden race at Assen, Netherlands, edging Justin Wilson for the top starting spot. Bourdais, hoping to become the first Champ Car driver to claim four straight titles, was timed in 1 minute 18.765 seconds around the 2.83-mile track. The pole was the sixth this season for the Frenchman, who is switching to Formula One next year. Wilson clocked 1:19.710 to take the second spot, and rookie Tristan Gommendy qualified third in 1:19.025. Ram Tough 200 Johnny Benson raced to his second straight NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory, holding off Ron Hornaday Jr. Points leader Mike Skinner had the pole position and led the first 30 laps on the 1.25-mile Gateway International Raceway oval in Madison, Ill., but dropped from contention after blowing out his right front tire. Hornaday finished second and two-time Gateway winner Ted Musgrave was third. Todd Bodine, Musgrave’s teammate and defending champion, finished fourth. NHRA U.S. Nationals John Force is close to missing Monday’s finals at Clermont, Ind. He needs a run of at least 4.826 seconds in his Funny Car today to qualify, after there was little movement at the top of the qualifying field. All four leaders from Friday stayed on top. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Jeff Arend (Funny Car), Max Naylor (Pro Stock), and Chip Ellis (Pro Stock Motorcycle) remained provisional No. 1s when no one topped their Friday runs. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! From news services Jeff Burton turned a late pit stop and fresh tires into a NASCAR Busch Series win Saturday night at California Speedway in Fontana. He passed Kyle Busch for the lead just eight laps from the end of the Camping World 300 and pulled away to win by 2.859 seconds – about 12 car-lengths – as Busch barely held off pole-winner Denny Hamlin for second place. “You’re never sure you can get around Kyle Busch,” Burton said. “He’s an incredible race car driver. We had much better tires than he did at that point, and that made my job easier. But by no means did I think it was a gimme.” Burton, knowing he was going to come up about three laps short on gas without a stop, gave up the lead to Busch, who stayed on track when Burton pitted on lap 127 during the fifth of six caution flags. Burton fell to sixth for the restart on lap 131 of 150 on the two-mile oval. But he quickly began to overtake Busch, whose last tire stop came on lap 96. Burton was up to second when the final caution waved on lap 132 for a four-car crash. When the green came out for the final time on lap 141, Burton began to pressure Busch. He managed to get his nose ahead to take the lead on lap 143 and the two drove side-by-side for nearly half a lap before Burton’s Chevrolet took control. “It was fun, I guess,” he said. “We had a car that was really, really fast at the beginning of the race, but it was so tight I told my guys to make some big changes on it and we got really, really loose.” Asked why he stayed on track during the last caution, Busch said, “I figured the tires were going to be a bigger deal than track position was. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hold him off, but I was kind of surprised I was able to hold him off as long as I did.” last_img read more