Scott Goodyear said he was discouraged after finishing 27th in the Indianapolis 500. But his performance in the Longhorn 500 served as the perfect restorative.
Goodyear outlasted several mid-race challenges by local favorite Greg Ray and pulled away after a late caution to earn his second victory of the Indy Racing League's season last night in Fort Worth.
Goodyear, who also won March 28 in Phoenix, took the driver standings lead from Jeff Ward, who finished 18th. Goodyear's average speed of 151.177 mph was the fastest of the four IndyCar winners at Texas Motor Speedway. Ray was second, followed by Sam Schmidt. Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack was 13th.
"We're delighted, especially after Indy," said Goodyear, who won $134,700. "We were fast in every session."
For Ray, a native of nearby Plano, it was another disappointing second at the Texas Motor Speedway. He finished behind Billy Boat in the True Value 500 on the track last summer.
"We cracked a cylinder head with about 60 laps to go and were down on power after that," said Ray, who ended a streak of three straight 21st-place finishes. "We finally finished a race and finished well."
This was the IRL's first visit to a high-banked oval since three spectators were killed and eight were injured May 1 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Both tracks are owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc.
To help prevent another tragedy, $340,000 has been spent to modify nearly 4,000 feet of fencing along the front stretch. Catch fences were raised about six feet to 21 feet and the overhang was doubled to six feet.
WINSTON CUP: It has been a trying year for Jeff Gordon. The NASCAR poster boy, winner of three series titles, is suddenly mortal.
For some reason his Chevrolet -- the familiar No. 24 car -- has more days when it runs like a lemon off the used-car lot. Still, Gordon appears to be the man to beat today in the Kmart 400 at Michigan Speedway.
Gordon shattered his own track record with a qualifying lap at 186.945 mph. That earned him the right to start on the pole, next to Ernie Irvan. Gordon, who has won the Cup points series three of the past four seasons, has finished sixth or better in his last eight races at the two-mile oval.
And starting at the head of the pack frequently pays off at Michigan. In the 57 Winston Cup races held at the track since it opened in 1969, the winner has come from the first five rows 51 times. The pole winner has won 13 times.
"You've got to be able to run as fast as you can throughout the whole race," said Irvan, who won at Michigan in 1997. "Obviously, when you're in the lead, you'll use a little more fuel."
LE MANS 24 HOUR: Mercedes pulled its two cars out of the race after a horrific accident involving Peter Dumbreck in Le Mans, France. While in fifth place, one lap behind the leading BMW, the nose of Dumbreck's car suddenly flipped up.
At about 185 mph, the Mercedes CLR somersaulted five times before crashing into trees to the left of the track. The car was on its 75th lap, in the fifth hour of the race, between the Mulsanne and Indianapolis corners.
Mercedes said that Dumbreck was not injured, but it immediately withdrew its other CLR, driven by Bernd Schneider of Germany, Portugal's Pedro Lamy and Franck Lagorce of France.
BUSCH SERIES: Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed Jeff Green with 70 laps to go to win the Textilease-Medique 300 in South Boston, Va. It was the defending series champion's second consecutive victory.
Earnhardt, who started on the pole, did not lead a lap until he passed Green on the 231st circuit around the .4-mile oval. When he withstood a hard, contact-filled charge by Green over the last five laps, he became the first pole sitter to win a series race at South Boston since Sam Ard did it twice during the 1984 season. Hank Parker Jr. took a career-best third.
FORMULA ONE: Michael Schumacher snapped Mika Hakkinen's string of five straight poles in qualifying for today's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.
It was close, though, with Hakkinen's final lap coming within .029 seconds of Schumacher's Ferrari, which was on top right from the first lap.
Schumacher, who goes into the race holding a six-point lead over Hakkinen, the defending Formula One champion, got around the 2.747-mile, 13-turn road course in 1 minute 19.298 seconds.
MICHIGAN 200: Rookie David Keith took the lead with two laps remaining and went on to win the Automobile Racing Club of America race in Brooklyn, Mich.
In his second ARCA race, Keith finished .917 seconds ahead of Blaise Alexander by averaging 138.116 mph for the 100-lap race. Bob Strait took third.