Monday, September 22, 2003

Newman tames Dover's Monster Mile yet again

Earnhardt Jr. OK after late-race crash

The Associated Press

DOVER, Del. - Ryan Newman overcame a flat tire that cost him two laps, then gambled on fuel and completed a sweep Sunday of the races at Dover International Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was injured when he crashed late in the race. He was taken to Bayhealth Medical Center for evaluation and released.

Earnhardt spun out and hit the wall in turn two late on lap 364. He was taken on a stretcher to the infield medical center and then was flown to the hospital.

A NASCAR spokesman said Earnhardt had a bruised right foot and a concussion.

He went the final 106 laps without stopping to get his seventh win this season, benefiting from two late caution flags that slowed the field for 12 laps. Newman didn't have to race hard to get the first lap back because of NASCAR's new rule awarding a lap to the highest-scored car off the lead lap.

Although it worked out for him, Newman is opposed to the new regulation.

"I just don't want to see guys get their lap back and not earn it," he said. "Once we got our lap back, it was just sort of a fuel mileage race."

This was the first Winston Cup event in history in which racing back to the flag stand under caution was prohibited. NASCAR outlawed the practice after Dale Jarrett's wrecked car sat precariously in the middle of the track as others attempted to unlap themselves or improve their positions a week earlier in New Hampshire.

Newman regained the second lap by staying on the track on lap 328. Then, on old tires, he held off hard-charging Jeremy Mayfield, who harassed him for 10 laps until Newman opened a five-car-length lead with 15 laps to go.

Newman's victory in the $4.6 million MBNA America 400 came 3 1/2 months after his first career win on The Monster Mile. Newman, the only Winston Cup driver with more than four wins this year, now has eight in his career.

Series leader Matt Kenseth finished ninth after starting from the pole, and increased his points advantage to a season-high lead 436 over Kevin Harvick.

IRL: Sam Hornish Jr. won the fastest open-wheel race in history Sunday at California Speedway and made a tense IRL championship chase even tighter with one race remaining.

His Chevrolet-powered Dallara was fast enough to average a sizzling 207.151 mph - breaking the previous closed course race record of 197.995, set here last year by Jimmy Vasser in a CART Champ Car event.

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Newman tames Dover's Monster Mile yet again

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