Winston Cup Finals

Winston Cup Finals


All Times Mountain


Winston Cup

Southern 500

Site: Darlington, S.C.

Schedule: Today, qualifying (TNT, 1 p.m.); Sunday, race (TNT, 11 a.m.)

Track: Darlington Raceway (egg-shaped oval, 1.366 miles, 25 degrees banking in turns 1-2, 23 degrees in turns 3-4).

Race distance: 501.3 miles, 367 laps.

Last race: Jeff Gordon snapped his 31-race victory drought, bumping his way past Rusty Wallace with three laps to go to win the Sharpie 500 at Bristol. Gordon, the four-time and defending Winston Cup champion, passed Wallace by driving his Chevrolet up onto Wallace's bumper and sliding past in Turn 4

Last year: Ward Burton, who started 37th, passed Bobby Labonte with seven laps left and went on to win a wild Southern 500, ending a 53-race victory drought. Burton, who hadn't taken the checkered flag since Darlington Raceway's spring event in 2000, won the race under caution after a wreck two laps from the end. Gordon finished second.

Fast facts: Wallace is mired in a 50-race winless streak. Wallace has scored at least one Winston Cup victory in each of the last 16 years … Last week's race featured 15 cautions. … Jeff Burton was the last to win both Darlington races in 1999. In 45 years of racing at Darlington, there has been a sweep of the spring-fall events nine times. … Gordon won the event from 1995-98. … Sterling Marlin holds a 95-point lead over Mark Martin in the standings. Gordon is third, 111 points behind Marlin. … Dale Earnhardt Sr. set the fastest winning speed record of 139.958 mph in 1993. … Johnny Mantz won the inaugural race in 1950 despite starting 43rd.

Next race: Chevy Monte Carlo 400, Sept. 7, Richmond, Va.

Busch Grand National

Darlington 200

Site: Darlington, S.C.

Schedule: Today, qualifying, 11:30 a.m.; Saturday, race (TNT, 11 a.m.)

Track: Darlington Raceway (egg-shaped oval, 1.366 miles, 25 degrees banking in turns 1-2, 23 degrees in turns 3-4).

Race distance: 200.8 miles, 147 laps.

Last race: Jimmy Spencer dominated the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway, leading 131 of the 250 laps en route to the victory. Spencer battled Scott Wimmer in the closing laps before pulling away for his first win of the season and 12th of his career.

Last year: Jeff Burton won, holding off Elton Sawyer in the final 10 laps. Kevin Harvick and Chad Little were fined and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for fighting in the garage after the race. Rich Bickle was fined and placed on probation for intentionally hitting another car during a caution, and Wimmer was fined for reckless driving.

Fast facts: Chevrolet has 11 wins in 36 events at the track, Pontiac and Ford each have 10. … Burton also won the event in 1997, in addition to two wins at Darlington while driving on the Winston Cup circuit in 1999. … Steve Park suffered a brain injury following a crash during last year's event. Park was sidelined the rest of the season and returned to racing in March with the Winston Cup circuit. … Mike Harmon was involved in a spectacular wreck prior to qualifying last weekend and was miraculously unhurt. Harmon's car bounced off the wall before being sheared in half by Johnny Sauter's oncoming car. Harmon did not have another car for the race and may not have one this weekend.

Next race: Richmond 250, Sept. 6, Richmond, Va.

Craftsman Trucks

Last race: Mike Bliss recorded his fourth truck series victory of the season at the Federated Auto Parts 200 at Nashville Superspeedway on Aug. 10. Bliss overtook Ted Musgrave on a restart with 10 laps to go before fending off charges from Rick Crawford and Musgrave on a green-white-checker restart.

Next race: Craftsman 200, Sept. 5, Richmond, Va.

On the net:


Grand Prix of Denver

Site: Denver

Schedule: Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 1:30 p.m.); Sunday, race (Speed Channel, 1 p.m.).

Track: Streets of Denver (temporary road course, 1.65 miles, 9 turns).

Race distance: Two hours.

Last race: Dario Franchitti slowed Cristiano da Matta's momentum, holding off the runaway CART series leader in winning the inaugural Montreal Molson Indy. Franchitti won a strategic battle in the 80-lap race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, making one less pit stop than da Matta and crossing the finish line 2.588 seconds - about half the last straightaway - ahead.

Last year: Inaugural race.

Fast facts: Franchitti's win was his second of the year and ninth of his career and moved him past Patrick Carpentier and Bruno Junqueira for second place in the standings. He is 56 points behind da Matta with six races remaining.

Next race: Rockingham 500, Sept. 14, Corby, England.


Belgian Grand Prix

Site: Spa-Francorchamps

Schedule: Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 5 a.m.); Sunday, race (Speed Channel, 5:30 a.m.).

Track: Spa-Francorchamps (road course, 4.329 miles).

Race distance: 190.476 miles, 44 laps.

Last race: Rubens Barrichello edged teammate Michael Schumacher to win the Hungarian Grand Prix, and their 1-2 finish allowed Ferrari to clinch the Formula One team title with four races left in the season. By finishing 0.4 seconds behind Barrichello, Schumacher just missed becoming the first to win 10 races in a season.

Last year: Michael Schumacher became the winningest driver in Formula One history, taking the Belgian Grand Prix for his 52nd career victory. The German broke the mark he shared with Alain Prost in recording his eighth win of the season.

Fast facts: The Ardennes forest circuit is 60 miles from Michael Schumacher's hometown of Kerpen, Germany. He made his first F1 start in the 1991 race, and raced to his first career victory at the track in 1992. Schumacher was disqualified because of a technical violation after finishing first in 1994. … In 1998, 12 cars slammed into each other in a first-lap pileup during a rainstorm.

Next race: Italian Grand Prix, Sept. 15, Monza.


Mac Tools U.S. Nationals

Site: Clermont, Ind.

Schedule: Today, qualifying, 4 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying (ESPN2, 11 a.m.); Sunday, qualifying, 1 p.m.; Monday, eliminations (ESPN2, 9 a.m.)

Track: Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Last event: John Force raced to his 10th Funny Car victory in Minnesota, beating teammate Gary Densham in the final round of the Rugged Liner NHRA Nationals. Force has an NHRA-record 103 career victories. Kenny Bernstein, Jeg Coughlin and Geno Scali also won their divisions at Brainerd International Raceway.

Last year: Larry Dixon won the Top Fuel division on the newly track at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Whit Bazemore (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Angelle Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won.

Fast facts: Bernstein's win in Minnesota was his 35th in Top Fuel, tying him with "Big Daddy" Don Garlits for second on the all-time list. Joe Amato holds the mark with 52. … Last year's event was the 500th event in NHRA history. … The event began in 1961.

Next event: Keystone Nationals, Sept. 15, Mohnton, Pa.


Last race: Gil de Ferran beat teammate Helio Castroneves to the finish line in the IRL Gateway 250 at Madison Ill., and now they are also running 1-2 in the points standings with only two races to go. Castroneves leads the series with 437 points, one more than de Ferran. Sam Hornish Jr., who led the standings heading into the race, finished fifth to drop eight points back at 429.

Next race: Delphi Indy 300, Sept. 8, Cicero, Ill.


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