Victory Is Sweet for Gordon
Jeff Gordon’s next trip will be to the bank, to deposit the Winston Million he won while earning a spot in the record book with a thrilling victory Sunday in the Southern 500 auto race at Darlington, S.C.
Gordon, 26, became only the second driver to win the prize, and the first to take NASCAR’s oldest race three years in a row. His two-car-length victory over Jeff Burton moved him closer to another $1.5 million--the season-ending payoff to the Winston Cup champion.
“It really is exciting to me to do things as a team that nobody has done before,” Gordon said. “When you look at the list of those who have raced here to know that we’ve accomplished that is something else.”
Mauricio Gugelmin’s first CART victory in the Vancouver Molson-Indy was overshadowed by series leader Alex Zanardi’s wild roller coaster ride that carried him to fourth place.
Gugelmin, a Brazilian who ran out of fuel while leading on the last lap at Detroit earlier this season, broke through with the victory in his 67th PPG Cup race, defeating defending series champion Jimmy Vasser.
Zanardi, Vasser’s teammate, came into the event holding a 39-point lead over runner-up Gil de Ferran of Brazil and could have wrapped up his first Indy-car title by adding five points to that margin.
Instead, he wound up finishing one place behind de Ferran, who now trails Zanardi by 37 points with a maximum of 44 available in the final two events.
Brazilian rookie Cristanode Matta won his second race of the PPG Firestone Indy Lights Championship season when he led from the start to win the Molson Indy Vancouver.
Kenji Okazaki earned $100,000 by winning the Big Bud Shootout special event for Funny Cars, and Joe Amato set an NHRA national speed record of 317.90 mph while qualifying No. 1 in Top Fuel at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Clermont, Ind.
Scott Hoch chipped in from 70 feet for an eagle on the par-five 18th hole to leapfrog defending champion Loren Roberts and win his second Greater Milwaukee Open in three years at Brown Deer, Wis.
Minutes after Hoch’s remarkable shot, David Sutherland knocked in an eagle putt from nearly the same spot that would have forced a playoff with Hoch. Instead, he finished tied for second with Roberts at 15-under-par 269.
Sweden’s Robert Karlssson won the BMW Open at Munich, Germany on the third playoff hole against England’s Carl Watts, while the 10 automatic qualifiers were decided for the European Ryder Cup team.
Seve Ballesteros postponed announcing his two captain’s picks for the European Ryder Cup team because of a wrist injury to Miguel Angel Martin.
Martin, who hasn’t played since missing the cut at the British Open in July, has until Wednesday to prove that he has recovered enough from surgery to play in the Ryder Cup at Valderrama, Spain later this month.
Hugh Baiocchi, playing in his second playoff in two weeks and third of the year, tapped in for par on the sixth extra hole then watched Bob Duval miss a par-saving putt and win the Pittsburgh Senior Classic at Midway, Pa.
Cindy Figg-Currier shot the best round of her career, a nine-under-par 63, and held a one-stroke lead over Kim Williams after two rounds of the State Farm Rail Classic in Springfield, Ill.
World champion Ivan Pedroso of Cuba claimed the final gold medal of the 19th University Games by winning the long jump with an event-record leap on his final attempt before 30,000 at Sicily, Italy.
Pedroso jumped 27 feet 6 3/4 inches, beating Jamaican James Beckford’s mark of 27-4 3/4. Pedroso’s leap bettered the games mark that had stood for 22 years.
Frankie Fredericks of Namibia completed a sweep by winning the 100 meters in 10.15 seconds, ahead of Americans Dennis Mitchell and Jon Drummond. Fredericks also won the 200 on Saturday.
In swimming, the United States won the men’s and women’s 400 relay titles, giving the Americans 22 consecutive University Games relay wins.
The United States ended the games with an overwhelming lead in the final medal tally, with 61, including 20 golds.
Marco Etcheverry and Roy Wegerle scored as the D.C. United defeated Kansas City, 2-0, before 18,123 in a Major League Soccer game at Washington, D.C. . . . Jason Kreis and Dante Washington each scored twice to lead the Dallas Burn to a 4-1 MLS victory over the Colorado Rapids before an all-time low 4,451 at Dallas.
Britain’s coxless foursome, led by one of the world’s most successful pairs, Matt Pinsent and Steve Redgrave, won its 2,000-meter heat in 6 minutes, 0.55 seconds to advance to the semifinals of the World Rowing Championships at Chambery, France.
Corey Beck led six players in double figures with 18 points as the United States beat Puerto Rico, 95-86, to win the Tournament of the Americas basketball tournament at Montevideo, Uruguay.
The International Olympic Committee virtually conceded that it has failed in its campaign to wipe out drug use in sports. The IOC executive board acknowledged that an agreement, signed with great fanfare in 1994 to harmonize anti-doping rules in all Olympic sports, had fallen short of its goals.
After losing out to Sydney to host the 2000 summer games, Beijing is set to enter the race for the 2008 Olympics, the Asahi Newspaper reported. . . . Dashing Perfection scored his second straight Grade I stakes victory, beating Royal Shake Em by a half-length in the $261,053 All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs, N.M.
Names in the News
World cycling’s governing body was forced to make an embarrassing retraction after announcing that one of its top officials, still alive after suffering a stroke, had died in a hospital.
Miron Baramia, 62, suffered a stroke Thursday. He remained in the Royal Perth (Australia) Hospital on Sunday night.
Jose Loiola and Kent Steffes, the winningest team on this year’s Miller Lite/AVP Tour, finished the season with a 15-6 victory over Canyon Ceman and Mike Whitmarsh at the $325,000 beach volleyball championship at Orlando.