Friday, August 27, 2004

Earnhardt wins pole for Bristol Busch race

Bourdais blazing through Champ Car season

The Associated Press

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned an event-record qualifying lap Thursday to win the pole for the NASCAR Busch Series Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt Jr. had a fast lap of 126.570 mph for his first pole in a Busch event since July 2003 at Daytona and his ninth in the series overall.

Tony Raines was second-fastest at 126.537 mph, and Kenny Wallace was next at (126.071.

Wallace held the pole with 49 of the 51 cars finished qualifying. The last two, however, were Earnhardt Jr. and Raines.

Kevin Harvick and David Green rounded out the top five.

Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. will start 12th.

"This place is so fast and so furious, I think it's going to be a great show," Earnhardt said.

CHAMP CAR: Sebastien Bourdais doesn't want to make too much of his strong first half in the 2004 Champ Car World Series.

"I don't feel any extra pressure for the championship at this point," the second-year driver said. "I am just keeping focused on what I'm doing right now."

Bourdais, a 25-year-old Frenchman, has put together a first half that rivals any in the history of the Champ Car series.

Going into this week's Molson Indy Montreal, Bourdais has five poles, five wins and holds a 56-point lead (248-192) over Newman-Haas Racing teammate Bruno Junqueira.

Practice and qualifying get under way today.

FORMULA ONE: Michael Schumacher is back at his favorite race, looking to claim a title opponents conceded to him months ago: an unprecedented seventh Formula One drivers' championship.

He has won a record 12 of 13 races this season, and five still remain. A victory isn't even required Sunday on the hilly circuit at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. All he must do is finish two points ahead of Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello.

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