Jeremy Mayfield was happy to leave his winning car behind and walk to Victory Circle yesterday.
The winner of the chaotic NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn blew two tires as he celebrated his first victory in nearly a year with a burnout in front of the front-stretch grandstand.
No matter. Mayfield was still grinning widely when he stepped out of his crippled No. 19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge.
"Every win I've ever won in this series is like that, full of drama," Mayfield said. "Right up to the wire you never know."
He came out on top of the GFS Marketplace 400 by running the last 52 laps on a single tank of fuel, but he still had enough gas to do a slow victory lap and the crowd-pleasing burnout.
"I blew out the rear tires on that burnout and that was pretty cool," Mayfield said. "I still had enough fuel to do it."
Mayfield, whose most recent win came last September in Richmond, was never close to the lead earlier in the race. But one by one, the leaders were forced to pit for fuel, and Mayfield inherited the top spot with six laps to go in the 200-lap event.
It was Mayfield's fifth career victory and moved him from seventh to sixth in the season points, solidifying his hold on a spot in the Chase for the Championship.
Many of the teams in the 43-car field had problems with cut tires or engines that overheated when windblown garbage collected on grills, cutting off air to radiators.
Scott Riggs, fighting to keep his ride, also stretched his gas to the end and finished a career-high second, followed by Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, who had been battling for the lead prior to the late pit stops.
Series points leader Tony Stewart -- who came into the race as the hottest driver in stock-car racing with five wins in his last seven starts -- finished fifth.
Reigning Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch took seventh, while pole sitter Joe Nemechek, who dropped far back into the pack after a flat tire, came back to finish eighth.
* IRL: In Fountain, Colo., Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon took the lead with 60 laps left and ran away with the Honda Indy 225 for his record-tying fifth win of the season.
"That statistic of most race wins in a season is something pretty special to me," Wheldon said. "I love the Indianapolis 500 and that's always going to be my favorite race in the world and it's going to be one of the fondest memories of my life, but that statistic somewhat means as much to a championship for me."
Wheldon started 11th and gradually worked his way to the front on the mile tri-oval at Pikes Peak International Raceway, taking the lead when he whipped past defending champion Dario Franchitti on Lap 153. Franchitti took the lead back on Lap 159 when Wheldon went to the pits, but the Englishman had the lead back six laps later on Franchitti's final pit.
Tony Kanaan finished third.
* FORMULA ONE: Kimi Raikkonen won the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul for his fifth victory of the season. Points leader Fernando Alonso finished second, and Juan Pablo Montoya was third.
Raikkonen finished in 1 hour 24 minutes 34.454 seconds and averaged 136.417 mph for his seventh career victory.
* SPECTATORS KILLED: A racecar crashed into the stands Saturday night at a track in Mount Vernon, Ill., killing two spectators and injuring six others, officials said. The driver also was hurt.
State police were trying to determine what caused the car to shoot off the quarter-mile dirt oval track at Mount Vernon Raceway. It was the only vehicle on the track at the time. The driver was doing a qualification run.
The track, about 75 miles southeast of St. Louis, features late-model stock-car races.