Elliott endures rain, makes late-race move to set Pocono record

Monday, July 29, 2002

LONG POND, Pa. -- Bill Elliott stalked Sterling Marlin throughout the race, finally passed him with 21 laps remaining Sunday and took the crash- and rain-delayed Pennsylvania 500 to set a record with his fifth career victory at Pocono Raceway.

The win was the first on the mountaintop since 1989 for the 46-year-old driver from Dawsonville, Ga. It also was the 42nd in the career of the 1988 NASCAR champion, who went winless in six years as an owner-driver before selling his team and joining Evernham Motorsports last season.

The race lasted 6 hours, 35 minutes, 51 seconds because of the rain and a spectacular accident involving Steve Park on the first lap. Park was not injured in the crash, which forced a delay of 1:05 while repairs were made to the infield retaining wall.

"I'm not getting any younger," Elliott said after winning what amounted to a marathon on wheels. "It took a toll on my clock."

Less than a half-hour later, rain caused another red flag, which halted the event for 2:02. The race ended 25 laps short of its scheduled distance because of darkness.

Polesitter Elliott led 35 laps in his Dodge, and beat the Ford of Kurt Busch by 1.721 seconds. Marlin was third, followed by June Pocono winner Dale Jarrett and rookie Ryan Newman.

Marlin, the series leader after all but the first race this season, is 106 points ahead of Mark Martin as the circuit heads for Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400. Martin finished 13th

Elliott broke a tie for Pocono victories with Rusty Wallace, Darrell Waltrip and Tim Richmond.

Elliott praised car owner Ray Evernham and his crew.

"They make it easy to come out here every Sunday and do my job," Elliott said.

FORMULA ONE: Michael Schumacher followed up his record-tying fifth Formula One championship by winning the German Grand Prix to match another milestone at Hockenheim, Germany.

It was Schumacher's ninth victory of the season, the fourth time he equaled his own record for wins in a year. Nigel Mansell did it once, in 1992. Schumacher also extended his record for career victories to 62.

Schumacher, who claimed his fifth season title last Sunday by winning the French GP, led virtually from start to finish in his Ferrari the relatively uneventful race.

Colombia's Juan Montoya took advantage of a late unscheduled pit stop by Michael's younger brother, Ralf, to move into second place. Montoya finished 10.5 seconds back in his BMW-Williams, strengthening his hold on second place in the season standings.

Ralf Schumacher finished third.

CART: Scotland's Dario Franchitti drove away from Canadian teammate Paul Tracy in a five-lap sprint in a Vancouver Molson-Indy race full of crashes and attrition at Vancouver.

Only seven of 18 starters were running at the end of the 100-lap race on the 1.781-mile street course as Franchitti won for the first time since July 2001 in Cleveland.

Franchitti's Honda-powered Lola crossed the finish line 1.239 seconds -- about 10 car-lengths -- ahead of Tracy. Brazil's Tony Kanaan was third, followed by Mexico's Michel Jourdain.

IRL: South African rookie Tomas Scheckter raced to his first Indy Racing League victory, beating teammate Buddy Rice by 1.703 seconds in the inaugural Michigan Indy 400 at Brooklyn, Mich.

Scheckter, the 21-year-old son of 1979 Formula One champion Jody Scheckter, started from the pole and overcame a stalled engine on his final pit stop. Rice was making his first IRL start, driving for Red Bull Cheever Racing.

NHRA: Rain forced the postponement of the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, with the remaining rounds of eliminations set to resume today at Kent, Wash.

Top Fuel qualifying leader Kenny Bernstein won his first-round race, and Funny Car top qualifier Tony Pedregon also advanced to the second round.

IRL INFINITI: A.J. Foyt IV won the rain-shortened IRL Michigan 100 Infiniti Pro Series race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. Foyt won after completing 30 of 50 laps.

-- From wire reports

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