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MOTOR RACING ROUNDUP : Villeneuve Wins in Cleveland With Late Charge

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From Associated Press

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve shot from third place to first less than two laps from the end Sunday, surviving a race that at times resembled a demolition derby to win the Cleveland Grand Prix by 1.16 seconds over Bryan Herta.

Villeneuve, the PPG Cup points leader, was trailing Michael Andretti and Herta after 88 laps in the 90-lap race. But when Herta pressured Andretti for the lead, Villeneuve shot past both of them and briefly touched tires with Andretti before regaining control.

“It was a lot wilder than I could have imagined,” Villeneuve said.

The 2.37-mile, 10-turn course is set up temporarily on the runways and taxiways of Burke Lakefront Airport, making it wide enough for drivers to be aggressive. It has developed into the fastest road course on the Indy-car circuit.

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Villeneuve averaged 130.113 m.p.h. for the 213.21-mile race.

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Pole-sitter Sterling Marlin stayed in front of a hectic scramble for position to win the DieHard 500 at Talladega, Ala.

In a race slowed only twice by caution flags, Marlin cruised to the front of a lead pack that included from four to nine cars.

Dale Jarrett, who scooted into the lead draft with about 40 laps to go, finished second after overtaking Dale Earnhardt with a daring inside move with five laps left.

By winning from the pole, Marlin collected a bonus check worth $121,600. He is the first pole-sitter to win since Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag at Rockingham, N.C., in the second race of the season.

It was Marlin’s third victory this season, the others coming in the Daytona 500 and at Darlington, S.C.

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Australian Anthony Gobert won the first race but was edged by Australian Troy Corser in the second at the U.S. World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif. . . . In a $1,289,950 Winston Drag Racing Series event at Morrison, Colo., Scott Kalitta claimed his third consecutive Top Fuel victory and John Force of Yorba Linda notched his fifth Funny Car victory of the season.

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