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Six straight for Schumacher

Michael Schumacher won his sixth straight Formula One race, capturing Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix despite tropical rain, a botched pit stop and a ride in a backup car.

The three-time world champion also overcame a spinout and two aborted starts.

Schumacher, whose streak dates to last season, is second in consecutive wins, three short of the record set by Ferrari's Alberto Ascari in 1952-53. Schumacher was the fastest qualifier for all six races, breaking the record for consecutive events won from pole (Ascari and Nigel Mansell won five).

"It's great being somehow dominant, but we know that won't be the case for every race," Schumacher said. "It was special conditions, special circumstances. And we made the most use of it."

Schumacher averaged 105.67 mph in his 46th victory, five shy of Alain Prost's record.

Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello was 20 seconds behind. David Coulthard, who briefly led after a series of spinouts and the downpour, was third in his McLaren.

Schumacher's day did not begin promisingly. As he headed to the starting grid, he thought he saw oil on the back of the car, so he returned to the pits and switched cars.

After two false starts, the skies opened on the second lap. The Ferraris spun out into the gravel. They came to the pits, where Schumacher waited about a minute as the crew tried to clear gravel from the underside of Barrichello's car.

Both came out in the middle of the pack, but the field was bunched behind a safety car. By Lap 15, Schumacher passed Coulthard for the lead and was never threatened.

PENNZOIL 200: Sam Hornish Jr. became the youngest Indy Racing League winner at the season opener in Avondale, Ariz.

Team Penske had a mixed day, with both cars contending then falling out. CART series champion Gil de Ferran crashed out while leading. Teammate Helio Castroneves blew his engine while running second.

Hornish broke the mark of Buzz Calkins, 24 when he won the inaugural IRL race in January 1996. Hornish led 140 of 200 laps on Phoenix International Raceway's mile oval.

Asked when he knew he had a chance at winning, Hornish grinned and said: "I think about Lap 1 when I got in the lead passing on the outside. I knew we were going to have a good day."

Hornish slipped to fifth after a pit stop on Lap 69 but went in front for good on Lap 127 and beat Eliseo Salazar by 1.378 seconds. The winner averaged 125.072 mph in a race slowed by five caution flags.