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A look at the weekend in racing

5/19/2004

Nextel Cup

Last race: Dale Earnhardt Jr., gambling on tires and fuel,
outlasted Jimmie Johnson and Bobby Labonte to win the Chevy
American Revolution 400 in Richmond, Va. Earnhardt's third victory
of the season gave him a 40-point lead over Johnson in the
championship standings.

Last year: Jimmie Johnson won The Winston and a record $1
million prize. Johnson took the lead away from teammate Jeff Gordon
three laps into the final 20-lap segment, then pulled away to an
easy victory over Kurt Busch in NASCAR's annual all-star race.

Fast facts: Eligible drivers are race winners from the previous
and current seasons and the winner of the Nextel Open, a
preliminary race for teams that have yet to win in 2003 and 2004.
One driver among the losers of the Nextel Open is voted into the
main event by the fans via the Internet. ... The race will be run
in three segments of 40, 30 and 20 laps, but unlike past years, no
drivers will be eliminated after the first two segments. The field
will be inverted after the first segment and the number of cars
inverted will be determined by a random draw. ... This event does
not count in the standings. ... The race's only three-time winners
are Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Next race: Coca-Cola 600, May 30, Concord, N.C.

Formula One

Last race: Michael Schumacher pushed his season-opening winning
streak to five races, matching the best start in Formula One
history, by taking the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 9.
Nigel Mansell also did it in 1992.

Last year: Juan Pablo Montoya ended Michael Schumacher's
three-race winning streak at the Monaco Grand Prix. Montoya held
off Kimi Raikkonen in the final laps on the twisting street course
for his second career victory and first for Williams-BMW at Monaco
since 1983.

Fast facts: Race was first held in 1929. ... Britain's Jenson
Button missed last year's race after crashing during a practice
session. ... Montoya, Schumacher, David Coulthard and Olivier Panis
are the only drivers on the current grid to win at Monte Carlo. ...
Schumacher will try to equal Ayrton Senna's record of six Monaco
victories. ... The track is considered one of the more dangerous on
the circuit because dirt from regular road traffic makes the
surface slippery.

Next race: European Grand Prix, May 30, Nuerburgring, Germany.

Busch Series

Last race: Polesitter Kyle Busch led 236 laps and earned his
first career Busch victory in the Funai 250 at Richmond
International Raceway. Busch now holds a 10-point lead over Todd
Bodine in the championship standings.

Last year: Ron Hornaday Jr. beat Brian Vickers by less than half
a second to win the Goulds Pumps ITT Industries 200, ending a
63-event winless drought.

Fast facts: Busch has seven straight top-10 finishes and 11 in
18 career starts. ... Hornaday Jr. made his Busch debut at Nazareth
in May 1998 and recorded his first series victory there in 2000.
... Jason Keller has three top-five finishes in his last four
starts at Nazareth. He made his 300th career Busch start at last
year's event. ... Matt Kenseth won the 1999 race after a five-hour
rain delay.

Next race: Carquest Auto Parts 300, May 29, Charlotte, N.C.

Craftsman Trucks

Last race: Jack Sprague passed Dennis Setzer and led the last 54
laps to win the inaugural UAW/GM Ohio 250 race at Mansfield
Motorsports Speedway. It was Sprague's first truck victory since
Sept. 9, 2001.

Last year: Ted Musgrave held off Brendan Gaughan after a
late-race restart to win the inaugural Hardee's 200 at Lowe's Motor
Speedway. Musgrave was penalized for speeding on pit road earlier
in the race.

Fast facts: Last week's race featured a series-record 94 caution
laps. ... Nextel Cup regulars Kevin Harvick and Michael Waltrip
were expected to compete this weekend. ... Sprague started from the
pole in each of the last two events. ... Setzer holds a 32-point
lead over Carl Edwards in the championship standings.

Next race: MBNA America 200, June 4, Dover, Del.

Champ Cars

Last race: Canadian Paul Tracy passed teammates Bruno Junqueira
and Sebastien Bourdais on the second lap and went on to win the
season-opening Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 18. It was Tracy's
fourth win at Long Beach, including three of the last five.

Last year: Tracy became the first CART driver in 21 years to win
the opening two races of the season after taking the Grand Prix of
Monterrey. Mexico native Michel Jourdain Jr. finished second.

Fast facts: There will be a new qualifying format for this
event. The driver who survives the elimination sessions Friday will
receive one championship point. The final grid will be determined
after Saturday's qualifying. ... Tracy opened last season with
three straight wins en route to his first career championship. He
has 27 career victories in the series, tying him with Johnny
Rutherford for eighth on the all-time list. ... Mario Habfield has
12 top-10 finishes in 19 career Champ Car starts.

Next race: The Milwaukee Mile, June 5.

NHRA

Last event: Cory McClenathan won Top Fuel for the first time
since 2002 at the Southern Nationals in Atlanta. Whit Bazemore
earned his first Funny Car victory of the season, Greg Anderson
took Pro Stock for the fifth straight week and Angelle Savoie won
Pro Stock Bike.

Last year: Tony Schumacher earned his first win of the 2003
season and at the Route 66 Nationals, holding off defending
champion Larry Dixon in the Top Fuel final. Bazemore, Kurt Johnson
and Savoie won their categories.

Fast facts: Dixon has had first-round exits in consecutive
events for the first time since 1999, when it happened three
straight times. ... John Force Jr.'s only finals loss during the
1999 season came at Joliet against Tim Wilkerson. ... Savoie's
previous win came at last year's Joliet event.

Next event: O'Reilly Summer Nationals, May 31, Topeka, Kan.

IRL

Last race: Dan Wheldon recorded his first career IRL win and
gave Honda its first victory on its home track at the Indy Japan
300 on April 17. Honda was winless in five CART races and one IRL
event in Japan entering the weekend.

Next race: Indianapolis 500, May 30