Sunday, July 20, 2003

Green holds on for Busch Series win

Enquirer news services

LOUDON, N.H. - David Green held off a hard charge from Kevin Harvick to win at New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday and retake the lead in the Busch Series standings.

Harvick, who started from the pole, led 152 of the 200 laps of the New England 200 and looked unbeatable. But a caution for debris on the track bunched up the field and gave Green a chance to pass him.

He did, pushing his Pontiac past Harvick's Chevrolet with 45 laps to go. Harvick tried several times to regain the lead, but Green raced off to his second win of the year and seventh of his career.

Green became the 17th different winner in 17 Busch Series events at New Hampshire.

"He raced me clean and I thought he was going to rattle my cage," Green said. "But I've been doing this a long time and I was looking forward to racing him. He was clean."

Green, who led the Busch standings for four weeks earlier this season, came into the race trailing Scott Riggs by 23 points.

But Riggs finished 14th, and Green jumped to the top of the standings. The 1994 Busch Series champion has a 36-point lead over Riggs.

Harvick finished second and fellow Winston Cup regular Matt Kenseth - the series points leader - was third.

CALL FOR EXTINGUISHERS: Many NASCAR drivers are calling for rear fire extinguishers for their cars after Bobby Labonte's car erupted in flames last week.

Labonte was not injured even though his car was engulfed in flames after it backed into the wall.

Count Ryan Newman and Sterling Marlin among drivers who want extinguishers in the trunks of cars, where the fuel cells are located.

"There's no justification for not having a fire extinguisher in the trunk ... There's always going to be fires as long as you have fuel and oil on board," Newman said.

Marlin was burned several years ago when his car burst into flames after a wreck at Bristol Motor Speedway. His fire was an oil fire, and changes have been made to the placement of the oil tank.

Still, Marlin thinks extinguishers are long over do.

"Back when I had my accident I thought that they should put in an automatic fire extinguisher in the back trunk," he said. "All of the drag cars have them. The driver doesn't have to do anything."

ROOF HATCH: NASCAR recently called on Ken Schrader to test the roof escape hatch it is developing. Schrader went to NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., to test the hatch, which is designed for the roof of the car and give drivers another escape route.

"To me it's a wonderful improvement, looks fairly easy to implement, and it's not complex," Schrader said. "It's going to make a big difference, especially after an accident that ends with the driver's side up against the wall.

"Now, you can't get out of the driver's side in that situation, because a lot of these walls are higher than the top of the car. With the escape hatch you can get out just as quickly as any other situation. It's also easier for emergency workers to get to the driver."

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