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Nemechek steers clear on way to win

Published Sep. 13, 2005

Joe Nemechek avoided four multicar crashes and fended off a late challenge from Phil Parsons to win Saturday's Touchstone Energy 300 NASCAR Busch Grand National stock car race.

Nemechek, the first repeat winner in nine races this season, started from the pole and led the first 21 laps. He then slipped back into the field and didn't get to the front again until 12 laps from the end of the 113-lap event at Talladega Superspeedway.

Parsons and third-place finisher Mike McLaughlin came along with Nemechek when he regained the lead by driving his Chevrolet around the outside of Buckshot Jones' Ford on Lap 102.

Parsons, driving a Chevy, got some drafting help from McLaughlin's Monte Carlo but trailed Nemechek across the finish line by .171 seconds, about four car lengths.

A lot of the drivers complained about the shock absorber settings that NASCAR required in the race, with several blaming the big rebound in the shocks for the accidents in the race.

"That was the roughest ride I've ever had in a race car," said Nemechek, a former Busch Series champion who has seven victories. "But we were strong and I was trying to use my head all day."

Nemechek, who earned $34,950, averaged only 118.196 mph in the race slowed by seven caution flags for 40 laps.

In the first big crash, a windshield popped out of a car and sailed over the fence and into the crowded fourth-turn grandstand. Track officials said three spectators, among about 80,000 who turned out Saturday, were treated at the track for cuts, abrasions and bruises. A fourth person was transported to a hospital and was scheduled to undergo surgery for a deep cut on the hand. None of the injured spectators were identified.

CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS 200: Stacy Compton ended Ford's short-track drought, leading almost the entire 100 miles at Portland Speedway.

Compton, who started on the outside of the front row, took the lead on the third lap when pole starter Greg Biffle was penalized for jumping the start. Compton led the next 197 laps and was ahead of Randy Tolsma's Chevrolet by 1.063 seconds at the end.

Compton averaged 62.101 mph in a race slowed eight times for 48 laps by caution. A six-truck accident on the 28th lap blocked the track in Turn 4, but all drivers were able to restart and finish.

BOSCH G.P.: The last of 28 drivers to take his time test at the .946-mile Nazareth Speedway, Patrick Carpentier was so fast that the quickest of his two laps _ only the fastest is scored in qualifying _ was the first.

"The rear of the car felt especially good," Carpentier said after his record-setting lap of 18.419 seconds at 184.896 mph gave him the first pole of his Indy-car career. "I could plant the front end, and the rear would not go loose."

SAN MARINO G.P.: David Coulthard won his second consecutive pole position, edging McLaren teammate Mika Hakkinen by .102 seconds in qualifying at Imola, Italy. Coulthard turned his fastest lap on the 3-mile Ferrari track in 1:25.973, 2.6 seconds off the lap record set by Jacques Villeneuve in a Williams car last year.

PENNZOIL NATIONALS: Kenny Bernstein and John Force set track records to lead NHRA qualifying at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie. Bernstein was quickest in Top Fuel, producing track records for elapsed time (4.637 seconds) and speed (314.79 mph). Force had a track-record 4.887 run at at 310.66 mph in a Ford Mustang to lead Funny Car qualifying. Barry Grant and Matt Hines led Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, respectively.