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The Inside Track : Newswire : Montoya Continues CART Reign in Vancouver Rain

From Staff and Wire Reports

Not even Mother Nature can slow down Juan Montoya.

The sensational CART rookie led for all but one lap Sunday in the Vancouver Molson Indy, a race filled with trouble on a rainy afternoon.

The event, scheduled for 90 laps on the narrow, 1.871-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit near downtown, began in a heavy downpour with standing water and rooster tails of spray challenging the 27 starters.

Before it ended, 16 laps short because of a two-hour time limit, more than half the cars had spun or slid into tire walls or concrete barriers, causing six caution flags for a total of 34 laps of yellow.

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Montoya finished 7.585 seconds in front of Patrick Carpentier as the sun finally broke through the clouds.

A single lap assured Montoya, a 23-year-old Colombian, of his series-high seventh victory in 16 races this season.

Dario Franchitti, who came into the race trailing Montoya by only five points for the series title, was right behind the leader’s Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard-Honda for a restart on lap 60.

As the leaders came up to speed on the drying track, Franchitti dived to the inside of Montoya’s red No. 4 and tried to slip past in a tight right-hand turn. The cars bumped and Franchitti spun, backing hard into a tire barrier and knocking his rear wing askew.

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“I knew he couldn’t get me there, but he went for it. If I would turn, I would spin as well, so I just gave him more room and he just touched me and he spun.”

Franchitti was able to drive his car back to the pits and salvage a 10th-place finish, but he fell 23 points behind with four races remaining.

Also at Vancouver, rookie William Langhorne of Washington, D.C., earned his first Toyota Atlantic Championship victory, speeding from fifth to first on the opening lap and leading 25 of the 33 laps.

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Jeff Burton won the rain-shortened Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C., giving him a victory in NASCAR’s oldest race and a sweep of the Winston Cup events this year at Darlington Raceway.

He also picked up a $1-million promotional bonus for himself and Phylis Farmer of Hillsboro, Mo. The victory was his fifth this year, tying Burton with Jeff Gordon for the most on the Winston Cup circuit and ending Gordon’s record run of Southern 500 victories at four.

Like Burton’s TranSouth 400 victory at Darlington in March, this one was ended prematurely because of rain with 97 laps remaining. The stoppage came with Ward Burton in second place and resulted in the first 1-2 finish by brothers in the Labor Day weekend classic.

Pro Hockey

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The Phoenix Coyotes signed free-agent goaltender Bob Essensa to a one-year contract. Essensa, 33, was 12-14-6 with a 2.75 goals-against average in 39 games with the Edmonton Oilers last season. . . . New York Ranger center Tim Taylor had his appendix removed and his status is day-to-day. Taylor signed a four-year, $5.8-million contract with the Rangers in July.

Miscellany

Organizers of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta left a few gifts off their report to the federal government, including the offer of 50 city buses to a city councilman from Peru, a newspaper reported.

The councilman was International Olympic Committee member Ivan Dibos.

Though the buses were never presented to the Peruvian capital of Lima, the offer came the night before Dibos was to cast his vote for the city to host of the 1996 Olympics. The offer is documented in letters and memos contained in three dozen boxes federal investigators are now reviewing, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in Sunday’s editions.

The new documents reveal a number of expensive gifts, such as college assistance, jobs and excursions to Disney World and Augusta National Golf Club, that were not included in the Atlanta bid committee’s report to the U.S. House Commerce Committee in June. The committee had determined the report was incomplete and gave the bid committee a chance to revise it.

Noah Ngeny of Kenya broke the world record for the men’s 1,000 meters at the Rieti Grand Prix II meet in Italy, clocking 2 minutes 11.96 seconds to beat the 18-year-old mark of 2:12.18, set by Sebastian Coe of Great Britain at Oslo, Norway, in 1981.

A Louisiana high school football player has been in a coma since his heart stopped while his father was driving him to a hospital after a Thursday night game at Shreveport.

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Rhett Wallace, a junior who started at running back for Huntington High, remained in critical condition, a nursing supervisor at Willis-Knighton Medical Center said. An electrocardiogram showed that he has Wolff-Parkinson-Smith syndrome, which can cause spasms of rapid heartbeats leading to a heart attack. It is congenital, but can go undetected until late in life.

Lubos Kubik’s goal in the 73rd minute lifted Chicago to a 2-1 victory over New York-New Jersey at East Rutherford, N.J., sending the MetroStars to a MLS-record 12th consecutive loss.


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