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ON THE TRACKS | This weekend's events



Published: Sun, April 13, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



NASCAR WINSTON CUP

Virginia 500

Schedule: Today, qualifying (Speed Channel, 3 p.m.); Sunday, race (Fox, 12:30 p.m.).

Track: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (oval, 0.526 miles, 12 degrees banking in turns).

Race distance: 263 miles, 500 laps.

Last race: Dale Earnhardt Jr. started at the rear of the field because of an engine change but rallied and took a controversial lead with three laps to go in winning the Aaron's 499, his fourth straight win at Talladega Speedway. Earnhardt appeared to drive below the "out of bounds" line in passing Matt Kenseth, but NASCAR ruled it was legal because he was forced out.

Last year: Bobby Labonte took the lead with seven laps to go and won the Virginia 500 under caution for his 19th career victory. Kenseth finished second after a late-race battle with Dale Jarrett.

BUSCH SERIES

Pepsi 300

Schedule: Today, qualifying (Speed Channel, 4:30 p.m.); Saturday, race (FX, 4 p.m.).

Track: Nashville Superspeedway (tri-oval 1.33 miles, 14 degrees banking in turns), Gladeville, Tenn.

Race distance: 300 miles, 225 laps.

Last race: Dale Earnhardt Jr. had just enough gas to wiggle across the finish line and win the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. A caution with two laps to go allowed him to slow enough to conserve fuel by pulling down on the apron and moving his car back and forth to move the gas around.

Last year: Scott Riggs led only once for the final 47 laps and recorded his first Busch Series victory in just his seventh start on the circuit at the Pepsi 300, tying the record for the quickest victory by a rookie. Johnny Rumley also won in his seventh start, in 1993.

Next race: Auto Club 300, April 26, Fontana, Calif.

CHAMPIONSHIP AUTO RACING TEAMS

Toyota Grand Prix

Schedule: Today, qualifying, 5:50 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 4:30 p.m.); Sunday, race (Speed Channel, 4 p.m.).

Track: Long Beach (Calif.) Street Circuit (temporary road course, 1.968 miles, 11 turns).

Race distance: 177.120 miles, 90 laps.

Last race: Paul 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 on March 23. Mexico native Michel Jourdain Jr. finished second for the second straight week.

Last year: Americans finished 1-2 in a CART event for the first time since 1996 when Michael Andretti edged out Jimmy Vasser to win the Toyota Grand Prix.

Next race: Brands Hatch, May 5, Kent, England.

CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS

Advance Auto Parts 250

Schedule: Saturday, race (Speed Channel, 1 p.m.).

Track: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (oval, 0.526 miles, 12 degrees banking in turns).

Race distance: 131.50 miles, 250 laps.

Last race: Dennis Setzer won the Lucas Oil 250 in Bakersfield, Calif., on March 23, and tied a Craftsman record by recording at least one victory in six straight seasons. Jack Sprague set the original mark in 2001.

Last year: Setzer, who started 33rd, avoided double-digit cautions to win the Advance Auto Parts 250. Setzer initially qualified fifth but was relegated to his starting position after an illegal left-front spring was found after qualifying.

Next race: Hardee's 200, May 16, Concord, N.C.

INDY RACING LEAGUE

Indy Japan 300

Schedule: Saturday, qualifying, midnight; Saturday, race, 11:30 p.m. (Sunday, ABC, 1 p.m., tape).

Track: Twin Ring Motegi (oval, 1.5 miles, 10 degrees banking in turns), Suzuka, Japan.

Race distance: 300 miles, 200 laps.

Last race: Polesitter Tony Kanaan pulled away on a restart with three laps remaining and won the Purex Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix on March 23 for his first career victory. Kanaan edged Helio Castroneves by .9328 seconds, the second time in as many races this season the margin of victory was less than one second.

Last year: Inaugural race.

Next race: Indianapolis 500, May 25.

NHRA

O'Reilly Nationals

Schedule: Today, qualifying, 4:15 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 11 a.m. (ESPN2, 10 p.m., tape); Sunday, eliminations, noon (ESPN2, 5 p.m., tape).

Track: Houston Raceway

Last event: Larry Dixon earned his second victory of the season and third-straight at Las Vegas by winning the Top Fuel division at the NHRA Summit Racing Nationals. Tony Pedregon moved into the Funny Car points lead with his win while Greg Anderson picked up his second straight Pro Stock victory.

Last year: John Force became the third driver in auto racing history to reach 100 victories by winning the Funny Car event at the O'Reilly Nationals, beating Tommy Johnson Jr. with a speed of 310.20 mph. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Jim Yates (Pro Stock) also won in Houston.

Next event: Mac Tools Nationals, April 27, Bristol, Tenn.

-- Associated Press




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