Rear View Mirror
June 3, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
WINSTON CUP - MBNA PLATINMUM 400
Jimmie Johnson didn't need to win Sunday in order to prove he's the real deal. Jeff Gordon's protege has been the dominant driver on the Winston Cup circuit for the last three weeks and could easily have The Winston and the Coca-Cola 600 trophies on his mantle to go along with his wins at Fontana and now Dover.
It proved to be a tough day for the veterans with Mark Martin's lead wiped out when he was collected in a crash and Ricky Rudd's sure second place run taken away by a loose lug nut late in the race. Rudd's crew chief Michael McSwain probably made every local market sportscast in the country Sunday night when the FX cameras caught him slamming his fist against the war wagon in dismay.
There was the usual amount of scuffling during the 400 mile grind. Steve Park wasn't pleased with Ryan Newman sending him into the wall, Joe Nemechek had strong words of former teammate Todd Bodine turning him around and into the fence and a last-lap duel between Sterling Marlin and Robby Gordon looked like it might flare up into something big but cooler heads prevailed.
BUSCH SERIES - MBNA PLATINUM 200
NASCAR's phantom rulebook showed up again when a late race crash brought out the red flag rather than ending the race under caution. While certainly the better option, the sanctioning body's total inconsistency with this situation has become comical.
Fortunately for Greg Biffle, who made the right call by staying out during the last pit stop opportunity rather than chancing tires, the shootout rule didn't take away the victory he earned. Biffle was able to pull away from the field on the restart to win his first race of the season.
CART - Miller Lite 250
Paul Tracy and car owner Barry Green still think they won the Indianapolis 500 and have filed a formal protest to prove it. But the impending hearing didn't take away their focus as Tracy picked-up his first CART victory since September, 2000 Sunday in Milwaukee.
There were only 19 cars in the field, the smallest Champ Car line-up at Milwaukee in nearly forty years. But it turned out to be an entertaining race with a furious Adrian Fernandez trying all he could to catch Tracy in the waning laps.
Unfortunately there wasn't much side-by-side racing, which doesn't bode well for CART's next short oval stop in Chicago at the end of the month. The new wing package employed was to promote more passing, but it didn't materialize in Milwaukee. However with only 19 cars spread around a mile-long track, the opportunity for passing is a bit remote.
NHRA - ROUTE 66 NATIONALS
Larry Dixon is having the kind of dream season all drivers hope for. The Top Fuel pilot edged out the legendary Kenny Bernstein Sunday to pull away even further in the division points standings.
Dixon, Whit Bazemore and Bruce Allen were the winners Sunday at the state-of-the-art facility outside Chicago. Allen's win turned out to be the day's biggest surprise as he became the first repeat winner in the highly-competitive Pro Stock division, defeating former NBA star Tom Hammonds in the finals.
ARCA - KANSAS SPEEDWAY
If Frank Kimmel were running at a weekly race track, there'd be a bounty on his head by now. Kimmel won his fourth of five races this season and second straight at Kansas.
ASA - BERLIN RACEWAY
Butch Miller can drive around the Berlin Raceway in his sleep. The veteran Michigan short track ace came back Saturday night and proved he can still get the job done, even if he's not a full-time competitor any longer. His win snapped the Joey Clanton express and was possibly the most popular win of the weekend.