Motor Racing Roundup : Bump-and-Grind Win for Michael Andretti
Michael Andretti had the lead, but he knew better than to expect smooth sailing.
Andretti was able to overcome the adversity that has dogged him all season when he survived a bump with Emerson Fittipaldi with two laps remaining to win the Molson Indy race Sunday at Toronto.
“I’m just sorry that it ended that way,” Andretti said after snapping a 23-race winless string. “I didn’t know he was there. He was just a spot in my mirror before that. He must have had a lot of straightaway speed.
“I was a little surprised by him. I was braking later in that turn. I guess I didn’t give him enough room. I’m sorry.”
“Other than that, it was just our day.”
It could have been Andretti’s year. He had the lead in seven of the previous eight races before mechanical problems or accidents knocked him out.
Fittipaldi, angry and accusatory when he jumped from his car after finishing second, calmed down by the time he and Andretti were face-to-face in Victory Circle.
“He apologized and I believe him,” Fittipaldi said of Andretti’s account of the bumping incident. “I’m very disappointed. I was there already. I don’t know what happened to Michael.
“I’m happy, with the circumstances, to finish second.”
The 26-year-old Andretti led for the final 23 laps of the 103-lap, 183-mile race, Fittipaldi charged into the picture in the final 10 laps, coming from an eight-second deficit to challenge for the lead on the main straightaway on lap 102.
Fittipaldi tried to squeeze his Penske PC18-Chevrolet beneath Andretti’s Chevrolet-powered Lola as the two darted toward the first turn on the 1.78-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit.
Andretti’s left rear tire touched Fittipaldi’s right front, and Fittipaldi slid into a runoff area. He finished 12.08 seconds behind Andretti.
Fittipaldi, who holds a big lead in the CART-PPG season point battle, has two straight second-place finishes added to four victories in the previous five races.
Danny Sullivan, who finished second in each of the three previous Toronto races, was third a lap behind the leaders. Teo Fabi of Italy was fourth, another lap back, followed by Rick Mears.
Defending champion Bill Elliott passed Rusty Wallace with six laps left and held on to win the caution-filled $527,567 AC Spark Plug 500 NASCAR race at Long Pond, Pa.
Elliott, defending Winston Cup series champion, took the lead on the 195th of 200 laps and held on for his fourth career victory on the 2 1/2-mile tri-oval at Pocono International Raceway.
Elliott, driving a Ford, edged Wallace, in a Pontiac, by 2.21 seconds. Mark Martin finished third, followed by Darrell Waltrip and Harry Gant.
Before Elliott made his charge, Wallace was busy holding off Geoff Bodine’s Chevrolet after taking the lead on lap 173. But Bodine spun in lap 187 and couldn’t challenge again. He finished 17th.
Elliott’s second victory of the year gave him a boost in his bid to close the gap on leader Dale Earnhardt in the season points race. Elliott picked up 180 points, giving him 2,153 and moving him from fifth place to fourth. Earnhardt, who finished ninth and gained 143 points, has 2,314.
Mauro Baldi of Italy and Kenny Acheson of Britain drove a Mercedes to victory in a World Sports Prototype Championship auto race at Brands Hatch, England.
The Mercedes finished 115 laps around the 2.6-mile track in 2 hours 41 minutes 37.7 seconds, giving the West German manufacturer its third victory in four races this season.
The Baldi-Acheson Mercedes finished 77 seconds ahead of a Porsche driven by Bob Wollek and Frank Jelinski. Another Mercedes, driven by Jean-Louis Schlesser and Jochen Mass, placed third.