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APRIL 30, 2007

Here and there

It has been a relatively quiet weekend for racing around the world although the Indy Racing League and NASCAR teams were in action in the United States. At the Kansas Speedway Dan Wheldon led 177 of 200 laps to win the Kansas Lottery Indy 300. The Target Chip Ganassi driver took the lead early in the race and only lost it during pit stop sequences. Tony Kanaan's hopes of a challenge were ruined when he suffered damaged front suspension after a pitlane incident with team mate Danica Patrick. With Wheldon’s teammate Scott Dixon delayed with a penalty it was left to Dario Franchitti to lead the chase, but he was more than 11 seconds behind by the end. Helio Castroneves was third, Dixon was fourth for Penske with Tomas Scheckter fifth in his Vision Racing entry. It was Wheldon's second win of the year and he now leads the championship comfortably from team mate Dixon as attention turns to the Indianapolis 500.

At Talladega in Alabama it was Jeff Gordon who was leading the way for Hendrick Motorsport with a second consecutive victory in the Nextel Cup, this time ahead of team mate Jimmie Johnson. Penske's Kurt Busch was third in his Dodge and an impressive David Gilliland fourth in his Robert Yates Ford. Juan Pablo Montoya was classified 31st after an incident with Ryan Newman.

Gordon's victory takes him ahead of the great Dale Earnhardt in the list of career wins and the Earnhardt fans (who hate Gordon) used the opportunity to shower the track with beer cans. Gordon's victory burnout served only to annoy them more. Several fans were later arrested for post-race unpleasantness.

In the Busch Series race Bobby Labonte won for the Harvick team while Montoya finished seventh.

Over at Brands Hatch the A1 Grand Prix Series ended its season with victory for the championship winning German team in the main event. Once again it was Nico Hulkenberg at the wheel of the winning car. He held off a strong challenge from Robbie Kerr, who had won the earlier Sprint race for Great Britain.

Elsewhere there was little action with only the German F3 Series opening its season at Hockenheim. This witnessed victory in the first race for Belgian Frederic Vervisch, who has been racing single-seaters for five years, but the second event provided the excitement of a win for a rookie, Holland's Carlo Van Dam giving Van Amersfoort Racing its first F3 victory for nine years.