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Villeneuve leads in early qualifying at G.I. Joe 200

Jacques Villeneuve is halfway to his first Indy-car pole.

The 24-year-old Canadian, the PPG IndyCar World Series points leader, was fast from the first lap Friday as he took the provisional pole for Sunday's Budweiser-G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway.

Villeneuve's Ford-powered Reynard got around the 1.95-mile, nine-turn road course at an average speed of 116.606 mph, just a few ticks of the stopwatch faster than runner-up Jimmy Vasser's 116.278.

"We went testing last week at Mid-Ohio and we had a very good test," Villeneuve said. "We knew we had a good road racing car, and it's good to hit the second half of the season, which is mostly road courses."

Mauricio Gugelmin of Brazil was listed third at 116.139 after first having his fast lap taken away and then having it returned by IndyCar's timing and scoring officials.

Michael Andretti was fourth at 115.863, followed by Gil de Ferran, who ran his fast lap of 115.855 with a punctured left rear tire.

Grand National: Terry Labonte shattered the Watkins Glen International track qualifying record in winning the pole for Sunday's Lysol 200, the only road course event on the NASCAR Busch Grand National schedule.

Labonte, the only two-time winner in the event's four years, and the defending champion, turned the 2.45-mile, 11-turn course at a speed of 115.309 mph in a Chevrolet, breaking Ernie Irvan's 2-year-old record of 114.632.

Labonte won the inaugural event in 1991, then again in 1994. He has finished in the top five in all four events.

NASCAR SuperTruck: Joe Ruttman roared back from a mid-race spin and tracked down Butch Miller with eight laps to go to win at Bristol International Speedway.

Ruttman, who'd finished second in three of his past four races on the circuit, led a 1-2-3-4 finish for Ford, which had failed to win in the series before the 80-mile event. The Upland, Calif. native, who lives in suburban Nashville, Tenn., won $27,000 in edging Geoff Bodine by 0.13 seconds.

World Sports Car: Mauro Baldi of Italy earned his third pole position of the season in qualifying for the three-hour Glen Continental race for Exxon World Sports Cars, Exxon Supreme GTS-1 and GTS-2 cars.

Baldi, in a Ferrari 333SP, had a fast lap of 120.86 mph, breaking the track record of 118.276 set by Eliseo Salazar in 1994 in a Ferrari.

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