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Gordon Captures Victory No. 10

From Staff and Wire Reports

Jeff Gordon chalks up a lot of his amazing auto racing success to the expertise of crew chief Ray Evernham.

Gordon, 26, gave Evernham all of the credit Sunday for a call that helped him beat Ernie Irvan in a tense duel on a very slick race track to win the CMT 300 at Loudon, N.H.

“There’s a lot of magic between him and me,” Gordon said after earning his 10th victory of the season and the 29th of his Winston Cup career.

All of the leaders made their final pit stops on lap 228, during one of the eight caution periods in the 300-lap race.

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Irvan, who had been leading before Hut Stricklin hit the wall in turn two, took on right-side tires and came out fifth. Gordon, running second before the caution, got only enough gas to get to the end of the race and drove back onto the track with a lead he never relinquished.

“We were having radio trouble, so I didn’t really hear a whole lot about it,” Gordon said. “That’s why I’m glad I don’t make those calls. Ray is great on seeing the whole picture.”

Evernham, who has been Gordon’s mentor since his days in the Busch Grand National series, said, “I felt like the only way we could beat Ernie was if we got track position and hope we could snooker them somehow. And I know my little buddy here has got a ton of talent and we can lean on that sometimes.”

Gordon, who needs three victories over the final seven races to match Richard Petty’s modern NASCAR record of 13 in a season, didn’t need any tricks Sunday. He was able to fight off Irvan and win by less than two car-lengths.

Irvan, who came from last in the 43-car field, shrugged off the tough loss, saying, “If I was in front of him, he would probably have had a hard time passing me. But we couldn’t have beat those guys just taking gas. I wish we could have gone longer, but it’s only 300 laps.”

The race saw only two caution flags in the first 200 laps but was interrupted six more times before the end.

“We didn’t need those cautions at the end,” Gordon said. “Our car was great on the long runs.”

Gordon said he spun his tires on each of the last three restarts, including the final one on lap 299.

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“Ernie is really good on restarts and I just tried to anticipate the starts a little,” Gordon said. “I spun the tires a little bit and I thought I was in trouble.”

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Cory McClenathan continued his charge toward the top of the NHRA Top Fuel standings by beating Kenny Bernstein in the final of the Keystone Nationals at Mohnton, Pa., for his fifth victory in the last six races,

McClenathan covered the quarter-mile in 4.753 seconds at 305.29 mph in a dragster owned by former NFL coach Joe Gibbs. McClenathan pulled within 75 points of leader Gary Scelzi, who lost in the first round.

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Other winners at the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series event were John Force in Funny Car, Jim Yates in Pro Stock and Matt Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Force earned his fourth victory of the season by beating Chuck Etchells in the final and extend his lead to 194 points.

Yates beat Mike Bell for his sixth victory this season, extending his points lead to 185. First-time finalist Bell fouled, leaving the starting line seven-thousandths of a second too soon in a Firebird.

Hines earned his sixth victory of the season and extended his points lead to 266 by beating John Smith. Hines finished at 7.343, 178.04 on a Suzuki GSXR. Smith trailed at 7.403, 183.78 on a Suzuki.

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Cash-strapped Craig Breedlove received $50,000 from Shell Oil and an equal amount from AutoZone to help his bid for a sixth world speed record at Reno.

Breedlove is expected to match up against Briton Richard Noble on Tuesday. Noble holds the record of 633.47 mph.

Miscellany

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An overwhelming majority of Americans believe there is gender bias in the funding for college sports, according to a CBS News poll.

Eighty-six percent of respondents say funding for men’s and women’s sports should be equal. Seventy-seven percent say funding should be equal even if it means cutting men’s sports.

Though female undergraduates outnumber men, they are awarded only one-third of all athletic scholarships. And for every $1 colleges spend on female athletes, $3 is spent on men, according to an NCAA study of Division I athletic programs.

One in 10 Americans, 18% of men and 4% of women, believe funding shouldn’t be equal.

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The most popular reason given for unequal funding is that men’s college athletics generate more revenue and interest.

Majorities of both men and women say they regularly follow men’s sports, while only about one-third of both men and women regularly watch women’s sports.

On Friday at 10 p.m., HBO will televise Oscar De La Hoya’s World Boxing Council welterweight title victory over Hector Camacho.

Names in the News

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Col. Tiger Phong, the Vietnamese soldier whom golfer Tiger Woods was named after, died in a political re-education camp eight months after the golfer was born, Golf Digest reports.

Phong, a battlefield friend of Woods’ father, Earl Woods, lived barely a year after the fall of Saigon, dying Sept. 9, 1976, in the squalor of a Communist camp, the magazine says. Woods was born Dec. 30, 1975.

Miguel Figueroa, 33, an apprentice jockey from New Hampshire died of injuries he sustained in a fall from his horse during a race at the Great Barrington (Mass.) Fairgrounds.

Figueroa fell during a race Friday and suffered head and other injuries when he was hit by his own horse and another horse, said state police Lt. James Lane.

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Dr. Paul W. Brechler, the Western Athletic Conference’s first commissioner, died at his Denver home at the age of 86.

Brechler, who wrote the WAC’s original code of rules and regulations, was commissioner from 1962 through 1969.

He also presided over the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference from 1976-90.


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