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Castroneves Takes Quick Route in Firestone 400

From the Associated Press

Helio Castroneves won the Firestone Indy 400 on Sunday at Brooklyn, Mich., beating Vitor Meira by 1.62 seconds and averaging 193.972 mph -- the third-fastest event in the Indy Racing League’s 11-year history.

It took Castroneves 2 hours 3 minutes to win his series-high fourth victory and move past teammate Sam Hornish Jr. for the points lead after a 2 1/2 -hour rain delay.

“Thumbs up to every driver for keeping it clean -- it was different than Milwaukee,” said Castroneves, taking a shot at Ed Carpenter after their cars collided at last week’s race.

Only two caution flags slowed the race, a record low for a 400-mile race at Michigan International Speedway.

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Castroneves took the lead for the last time on Lap 177 after his final pit stop. He won the 11th IndyCar series race of his career.

Meira, who led 75 of 200 laps, was followed by defending champion Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan and Tomas Scheckter.

Hornish finished only 61 laps because of an engine problem. He earned only 12 points with his season-worst, 19th-place finish and has 368 points with three races left. Castroneves has 376 points.

Danica Patrick finished 17th in the 19-car field. She stomped around angrily and threw her helmet when her race was over because her car was slow and having technical problems.

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Sebastien Bourdais defended his 2005 victory in the inaugural Champ Car World Series Grand Prix of San Jose and added to his series points lead.

Bourdais led the most laps in the 97-lap race. He beat runner-up Cristiano da Matta by 6.686-seconds.

Paul Tracy said he fought a brake problem all day and, after sliding into a runoff area on Lap 52, he drove onto the track in front of Alex Tagliani, crashing both out of the race.

Tagliani confronted Tracy in the pit lane and the two Canadians got into a scuffle before bystanders pulled them apart.

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Michael Schumacher drove his Ferrari to victory in the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, his third consecutive Formula One race win.

Fernando Alonso finished fifth in a Renault and has an 11-point lead over Schumacher, who started the race 17 points behind.

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Schumacher’s teammate, Felipe Massa, was second and Kimi Raikkonen was third in a McLaren-Mercedes.

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Top Fuel rookie J.R. Todd upset three-time series champion Tony Schumacher for the second time in three weeks, winning the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Sonoma with a quarter-mile run of 4.619 seconds at a top speed of 309.27 mph.

Eric Medlen topped the Funny Car event, beating Tony Pedregon with a 4.854-second run at 316.30, Pro Stock points leader Jason Line got a hole-shot victory over veteran Vieri Gaines, and Chip Ellis benefited from Pro Stock Motorcycle finalist Antron Brown’s red-light start for his second win this year.

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Jorg Bergmeister and co-driver Colin Braun, 17, won the Porsche 250 at Birmingham, Ala., their second consecutive Grand-Am victory.

Bergmeister is the Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype points leader. Braun started the race from the pole and led throughout his driving stint before turning the car over to Bergmeister on Lap 36 of the 97-lap race.

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James Stewart took advantage of Ricky Carmichael’s late crash in the second moto to win the Toyota AMA Motocross Championship’s Unbound Energy National at Washougal (Wash.) Motocross Park.

Stewart had a 2-1 moto finish on a Kawasaki en route to his second overall win this season. Carmichael was second with a 1-2 finish on a Suzuki, ending his winning streak at six races.


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