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AUGUST 28, 2006

Marco Andretti wins at Sears Point

At 19 years, five months and 14 days Marco Andretti, the scion of the Andretti racing dynasty, has become the youngest driver ever to win a major open-wheel race in the United States of America. Andretti drives for his father's Andretti Green Racing with backing from the New York Stock Exchange. Andretti beat his team mate Dario Franchitti across the finish line by just 0.65sec. while Panther Racing's Vitor Meira was third. The race has set up an interesting situation in the IRL Championship with Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves one point ahead of his team mate Sam Hornish Jr and reigning champion Dan Wheldon and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon not far behind. Dixon was the early leader at Sears Point but lost the lead on lap 51 when he pitted and was delayed with a tyre-change problem. Andretti was on a touch-and-go fuel strategy in the closing laps but a caution period gave him the opportunity to save enough fuel to make it to the finish, holding off Franchitti in the closing laps. Andretti also clinched the Rookie of the Year award for the series. The Champ Car race in Montreal was stopped after just six laps when AJ Allmendinger was leading Sebastien Bourdais. The decision to stop the race was taken because the rain was so intense that visbility was a problem. The race will be run on Monday morning, Montreal time.

At Bristol in Tennessee Matt Kenseth boosted his chances of winning the NASCAR Nextel Cup as he won the Sharpie 500, the Roush driver beating Kyle Busch by half a second. Dale Earnhardt Jr was third. Kenseth is now just seven points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson - a tiny margin with NASCAR's complex scoring system. Johnson finished 10th.

At Brands Hatch Mike Conway increased his lead in the British Formula 3 Championship with victory in one race and third place in the second while Oliver Jarvis's victory in the second race means that the Carlin Motorsport driver has now moved into second place in the championship ahead of Conway's Raikkonen Robertson Racing team mate Bruno Senna. Senna is also now under threat from Carlin's Maro Engel who had a good weekend with second places in both events. With eight wins this year Conway seems to be on his way to the title.

In Japan the sixth round of the Formula Nippon championship took place at Fuji with rain just before the race setting up some interesting strategies. On the warm-up lap poleman Takashi Kogure (ARTA) spun off and at the first corner Satoshi Motoyama (Arting Team Impul) braked too late and went very wide, allowing Benoit Treluyer (Mobilecast Impul) to take the lead. Tsugio Matsuda in the second Mobilecast Impul car had decided on wet tyres and soon took the lead and built up a 17-second advantage before he pitted but it was not enough and when he pitted for dry tyres, Treluyer took the lead and went on to his second win of the year ahead of Andre Lotterer (DHG TOM'S) and the recovering Motoyama who stormed back to third after his mistake. With three races to go Treluyer has a 14-point advantage in the championship over Matsuda with Lotterer third, just a point behind.