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STARTING LINE

Winston Cup

Event: EA Sports 500

Site: Talladega, Ala.

Schedule: Friday, qualifying (CNN/SI, 4 p.m.); Sunday, race (NBC, 1 p.m.)

Track: Talladega Superspeedway (tri-oval, 2.66 miles, 33 degrees banking in turns).

Race Distance: 500.08 miles, 188 laps.

Last year: The late Dale Earnhardt raced from 18th to first in four laps, then held off Kenny Wallace and Joe Nemechek for the last of his 76 career victories. Earnhardt beat Wallace by about two car-lengths, earning his record 10th Talladega victory.

Last week: Ricky Craven held off Dale Jarrett in a final-lap duel and won the Old Dominion 500 in Martinsville, Va., for his first victory in 174 starts in the Winston Cup series. Craven pulled away from Jarrett on a restart with 13 laps to go, opening a wide lead. Craven's Ford beat Jarrett's across the line by .141 seconds, giving owner Cal Wells his first victory in NASCAR's premier series.

Fast Facts: Jeff Gordon added 97 points to his lead in Martinsville and is 334 ahead of Ricky Rudd with six races remaining. . . . Craven was the 16th driver to win this year, a modern record. He was also the fourth first-time winner, joining Elliott Sadler, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch. . . . Two-time series champion Terry Labonte is the only driver competing in all 30 races who has yet to lead a lap this season. . . . There were 75 lead changes during the 1984 race.

Next race: Phoenix 500, Oct. 28, Avondale, Ariz.

Busch

Last week: Randy Lajoie won the Sam's Town 250 in Millington, Tenn., after a one-day rain delay, slipping under leaders Jay Sauter and Jeff Green as they went high toward the wall with 1 1/4 laps to go. Lajoie watched Sauter and Green vie for first place and waited for them to make contact in Turn 4. As their cars went up the bank, Lajoie went under them and held off Green for the finish.

Next race: Outback Steakhouse 200, Oct. 27, Avondale, Ariz.

CART

Last week: A perfect fuel strategy by Team Rahal gave Max Papis a victory in the Honda Grand Prix in Monterey, Calif. Papis, earning his second victory of the season and third of his career, started 25th in the 26-car field. He became the first winner on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca Raceway road course to start farther back than sixth. While the rest of the contenders made two pit stops, Papis came in five times as he worked his way toward the front.

Next race: Honda Indy 300, Oct. 28, Surfers Paradise, Australia.

Formula One

Last week: Michael Schumacher came up with a perfect ending to a championship season, winning the Japan Grand Prix for his record-tying ninth victory of 2001. The German started from the pole in his Ferrari, opened a three-second lead on the first lap, and was in control the rest of the way. The victory allowed Schumacher to pass Alain Prost's record of 798.5 career championships points. Schumacher has won nine races in a season three times.

Indy Racing League

Last week: Sam Hornish Jr. overtook Scott Sharp just a few feet from the finish line to cap his championship season with a win at the Chevy 500 on Oct. 6, in the closest 1-2-3 finish in IRL history. Hornish led 114 of 200 laps. Hornish won by .0188 seconds. Robbie Buhl, who led 31 laps, was just .0468 seconds, or about a half-car-length, behind in third. Hornish, the only driver to finish every race this season, had already clinched the Northern Light Cup and a $1 million bonus.

Craftsman Trucks

Last week: Ted Musgrave, whose crew elected to change an engine and start at the rear of the field, passed Jack Sprague with 17 laps remaining and went on to win the Orleans 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Musgrave battled from the 34th position at the start to reach the top 10 by the 20th lap. He dived low under Sprague's truck in Turn 2 to take the lead for good on the 130th lap. Sprague finished 0.906 seconds -- about three truck-lengths -- behind Musgrave.

Next race: Chevy Silverado 150, Oct. 26, Avondale, Ariz.
Compiled by the Associated Press

LEADERS
WINSTON CUP
Jeff Gordon 4,366
Ricky Rudd 4,032
Sterling Marlin 3,923
Dale Jarrett 3,905
Tony Stewart 3,873
Rusty Wallace 3,789
Dale Earnhard, Jr. 3,740
Kevin Harvick 3,739
Bobby Labonte 3,697
Jeff Burton 3,519
BUSCH
Kevin Harvick 4,261
Jason Keller 4,075
Jeff Green 4,048
Greg Biffle 3,929
Elton Sawyer 3,652
Tony Raines 3,572
Mike McLaughlin 3,466
Jimmie Johnson 3,444
Chad Little 3,408
Kenny Wallace 3,297
CRAFTSMAN
TRUCKS
Jack Sprague 3,420
Joe Ruttman 3,323
Scott Riggs 3,312
Travis Kvapil 3,263
Ted Musgrave 3,262
Ricky Hendrick 3,199
Dennis Setzer 3,070
Terry Cook 3,031
Rick Crawford 2,970
Coy Gibbs 2,684
CART
Gil de Ferran 179
Kenny Brack 153
Helio Castroneves 141
Michael Andretti 125
Dario Franchitti 105
Cristiano da Matta 100
Scott Dixon 98
Max Papis 86
Patrick Carpentier 86
Tony Kanaan 83
IRL
x-Sam Hornish Jr. 503
Buddy Lazier 398
Scott Sharp 355
Billy Boat 313
Eliseo Salazar 308
Felipe Giaffone 304
Al Unser Jr. 287
Eddie Cheever 261
Buzz Calkins 242
Airton Dare 239
FORMULA ONE
x-Michael Schumacher 123
David Coulthard 65
Rubens Barrichello 56
Ralf Schumacher 49
Mika Hakkinen 37
Juan Montoya 31
Nick Heidfeld 13
Jacques Villeneuve 12
Kimi Raikkonen 9
Jarno Trulli 9
x-clinched championship
HOLLAND
SPEEDWAY
Final Late Model
Pro Stock
Vern Bliss 1,194
Mark Bliss 1,040
Troy Williams 976
Marty Kling 936
Rick Jones 924
Mark Deney 772
Nick Crassi 754
Art Logsdon 700
Greg Hoover 648
Dan Domanowski 626
Final Pro Modifieds
Neil Hopkins 1,192
Neal Dietz 1,180
Steve Kreitzbender 1,108
David Hannahs 884
Tom Webber 848
Final Pro Trucks
Brandon Metz 1,162
John Matuszak 1,108
Bob Manko 1,064
John Stout 980
Jeff Brown 816
LANCASTER
SPEEDWAY
Final Modifieds
Sege Fidanza 826
Danny Knoll Jr. 775
Jim Flanigan 714
Billy Putney 690
Don Staubitz 687
Tom McGrath 685
Karl Hehr 639
Brett Scherrer 630
Rich Littlefield 616
Tim Mangus 486
Final Late Models
Tim Windnagle 875
Tom Macleod 862
Bob Weber 854
Joe Carbone 758
Randy Frantz 751
Final Sportsman
Jerry Gradl 973
Kevin Eckerich 841
Jim Pierce 796
Nick Capelli 793
Michael Shields 789
LANCASTER
DRAGWAY
Super Pro
Thurnherr I-II 1120
Muro-Passero 1060
Pease-Flanigan 1040
M. Owczarczak 1000
Bigham-Staschak 950
Vic Puglia 950
Andy Gregoire 930
Christian-Yacos 910
Ron Spank 880
RANSOMVILLE
SPEEDWAY
Final Modifieds
Danny Johnson 765
Pete Bicknell 718
Todd Burley 674
Vic Coffey 668
Robbie Krull 633
Ricky Richner 632
Billy Krull 603
Todd Gordon 573
Don Spatarico 549
Sam Crogan 457
Final Sportsman
Chad Brachmann 814
Don Martin 760
Stewart Friesen 716
Randy Chrysler 683
Jeff McGinnis 674
Final Pro Stocks
Joe Stefanski 736
Jason Boyle 705
Pat McCoy 676
Pete Stefanski 632
Steve Lewis 626

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