Sunday, May 4, 2003

Driver Nadeau critical but improving

Suffered head, lung, rib injuries in Friday crash

The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. - NASCAR driver Jerry Nadeau was in intensive care with head, lung and rib injuries from a crash in Winston Cup practice, and his vital signs are "very good," team general manager Jay Frye said Saturday.

Nadeau remained in critical condition after Friday's crash at Richmond International Raceway. He has not spoken since the accident, Frye said, but has been communicating with visitors despite being sedated.

"He was aware that I was there," said Frye, who has seen the 32-year-old driver three times since the accident in practice Friday afternoon. Frye said Nadeau acknowledged his presence by squeezing Frye's hand.

Nadeau continues to undergo a series of tests, Frye said, but he could not specify what those tests were or what they have shown to this point. He also could not say whether Nadeau was breathing on his own again, but said each time he has seen Nadeau, he looked better than the previous time.

"We're very encouraged," Frye said. "We'll know so much more tonight or tomorrow morning" after more testing has been completed and studied.

"We feel like he's in great, great care," Frye said.

Nadeau suffered a partially collapsed left lung and rib injuries, although Frye said, "We don't know how many or which ones."

The driver was injured during the final practice for Saturday night's Pontiac Excitement 400 when his car skidded entering the first turn, spun and slammed into the wall between the first and second turns.

NASCAR impounded the car for further testing, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said.

Investigators already have ruled out early speculation that the accident was caused by a stuck throttle or a blown tire, he said.

PONTIAC EXCITEMENT 400: Joe Nemechek overcame a pit-road blunder that cost him 24 spots by gambling on tires and getting help from late-race cautions and rain to win the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond, Va., Saturday night.

Nemechek was declared the winner during a red-flagged stoppage with 6 1/2 laps to go when rain showers that caused the pause persisted. The red flag followed three cautions in the last 30 laps that also helped him prevail despite his challengers' fresher tires.

Bobby Labonte was second, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Robby Gordon, giving Chevrolet a sweep of the top four spots. Mark Martin was fifth in a Ford.

The race featured a track record-setting 15 cautions for 91 laps, and the rain deprived Labonte and Earnhardt from making a late push.

"We really didn't need any of those cautions," Earnhardt said.

Gordon and Nemechek gambled by staying on the track with four others during a caution with 100 laps to go. When the race went back to green, Gordon was leading, Nemechek was fifth. A handful of contenders were right behind them, counting on fresher tires to carry them forward.

On lap 331, Nemechek passed Gordon for the lead. He built his advantage to almost 2 seconds and was easily disposing of lapped traffic when Dale Jarrett spun out on the 363rd lap, the caution erasing the lead and setting up the closing shootout.

CART: Paul Tracy, trying to become the series' first driver to win the first four races of the season, won the provisional pole for the London Champ Car Trophy, securing a front-row spot for Monday's race at West Kingsdown, England.

Tracy turned a fast lap of 37.006 seconds at an average speed of 115.960 mph on the narrow 1.192-mile circuit at Brands Hatch. Final qualifying is today.

FORMULA ONE: Michael Schumacher won the pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix for the fourth straight year, driving his new Ferrari to the fastest time in qualifying. The two-time defending race champion had a lap on the 2.93-mile Circuit de Catalunya of 1:17.762.

Schumacher's teammate, Rubens Barrichello, qualified second in 1:18.020. Renault's Fernando Alonso was third in 1:18.233, and teammate Jarno Trulli qualified fourth in 1:18.615. Season leader Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren failed to record a time and will start last.

NASCAR BUSCH SERIES: Kevin Harvick took the lead with 51 laps to go but needed a late caution to hold off Scott Riggs and win the Hardee's 250 at Richmond, Va., Friday night. An event-record 14 cautions slowed the race for 93 laps.

Locals win Flying Pig
Complete results

Giants 6, Reds 1
Reds Box, Runs

Giants 9, Reds 6
Reds notebook: Riedling prepared to start
Harnisch putting in his innings
First win of season gives Graves shot of confidence
Aussie takes American game for a kick and a jog
Reds chatter
Reds Q&A

Fay: MLB power rankings
NL: Pujols, Cards hot
AL: Pedro twirls five-hitter
Notes from Saturday's games
Louisville 4, Buffalo 1
Cy Young vs. Cy Old
Mix up makes Choi the NL rookie of month
Ex-Astro Lugo says he didn't strike wife

Funny Cide up in Derby
Jockey Santos realizes dream with a gelding
Frankel accepts defeat in stride
A win for owners, and their home state
In a N.Y. minute - or two
No fade at finish for humbled Patton

Bengals begin to take shape
Newest receiver should fit right in
Bengals Q&A
Kitna comes out with early praise for Warrick

Price fired as Alabama football coach
Tide president made the right call
Alabama players upset by coach's firing

Daugherty: O.J. Mayo
Prep Insider
Prep results, schedule

Cronin's goal is to outfox ex-employers UC, U of L for recruits
Pictures worth 1,000 words for Missouri English major
Court: newspaper may be entitled to Knight records
Duncan to repeat as MVP

Ky. Speedway still hoping for Cup race
Driver Nadeau critical but improving

Giguere pulled in loss to Stars
Clones lose finale

Verplank maintains 3-shot lead

Venus advances

De La Hoya stops Campas

Ignorance is bliss for Thomas More
Some college coaches can't be trusted
'I made some very, very poor decisions'
Division II Lewis beats BYU for NCAA title
Top Of The Second power rankings

This weekend's sports on TV, radio