Saturday, October 05, 2002

NASCAR qualifying washed out


Motor sports notebook

Enquirer staff and news services

        TALLADEGA, Ala. - Qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR EA Sports 500 race was rained out, and the 43-car field for Sunday was determined by season points. That puts Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace, all locked in a tight battle for the Winston Cup championship, up front for the start of the 500-mile race.

        Missing is fifth-place Sterling Marlin, who will miss the final seven races of the season after fracturing two vertebra in his neck in a race crash. Rookie Jamie McMurray will take his place Sunday.

        Marlin's doctors have said he will recover, but not in time to race again this season.

        “I'll just hang around Sunday and check things out,” Marlin said cheerfully. “The way these cars are right now, the chassis change so much from week to week, I'll just try to stay abreast of what they're doing. If Jamie has any questions, I'll try to help him out.”

        CART: Drivers figure the winner of Sunday's CART Grand Prix of Miami could be determined today.

        Qualifying always has been crucial in CART. Add a twisting, temporary road course unfamiliar to all the drivers makes moving up trickier.

        “I think the pole winner is definitely going to have an advantage here,” Michael Andretti said.

        Tony Kanaan got the early upper hand Friday, after going fastest in the first round of qualifying with a lap time of 1:01.264, at 81.503 mph.

       



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