Even though Jimmy Vasser never doubted he could still win, it was a relief when he saw the checkered flag Sunday in the Houston Grand Prix.
"It seems like an awful long time since the last one," the smiling winner said after pulling away from Ganassi Racing teammate Juan Montoya in picking up the ninth victory of his career and first since the finale of the 1998 season in Fontana, Calif.
"I've been in a position to win a couple of races this year, but things just didn't go our way," said Vasser, who is looking for a new ride for 2001 after team owner Chip Ganassi bought out the last year of his contract. "I've had a lot of top-10s in the last few years and, if I stay in this series, I think I'll continue to get similar results."
While 1996 series champion Vasser celebrated, Gil de Ferran quietly assessed his chances of winning his first CART title after gaining a measure of control in the still-tight championship battle with a third-place finish.
If he can add four points to his 19-point lead over runner-up Paul Tracy in the race Oct. 15 in Australia, de Ferran will clinch the championship.
The opening round of in Region 3-AAAA high school softball begins today as Lakeside plays host to Hephzibah in a best-of-three series beginning at 5 p.m. Game two is slated for Tuesday at Hephzibah with a 3 p.m. start, and game three to follow, if necessary.
As authorities investigated the shooting death of his father in Grand Island, Neb., John Parrella was on the field with his teammates as the San Diego Chargers lost 57-31 Sunday to the St. Louis Rams.
He planned to return to Nebraska until Wednesday, then rejoin the team for Thursday's practice.
The elder Parrella's body was found Friday by sheriff's deputies responding to a home security alarm several hours before dawn at his home south of Grand Island. He had been shot twice.
Parrella's wife, Shirley, was in the house at the time of the shooting.
Queen of Oz beat favored Dinner Pardner by 3 1/4 lengths to win the $50,000 Cut The Charm Handicap for fillies and mares at Calder Race Course in Miami on Sunday.
Queen of Oz, ridden by Abdiel Toribio, ran a mile and a sixteenth in 1:47 2-5 and paid $5.60 and $2.40. Dinner Pardner, the odds-on favorite, paid $2.40 to place.
Queen of Oz, a 5-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Silver Buck, is owned by White Cross Stable. She has earned $189,704, winning eight of 32 starts and finishing in the money 17 times.
Le Grande Danseur took the lead entering the stretch and went on to a 5 3/4 -length victory in the $82,350 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes at Belmont Park on Sunday.
Winning for the second time in two career starts, Le Grande Danseur beat seven horses in the 23rd running of the race for 2-year-olds.
Le Grande Danseur, ridden by Jorge Chavez and carrying 117 pounds, finished the seven furlongs in 1:23 2-3 on a fast track.
The winner earned $49,410 for Team Five Star Stable and returned $10.00, $4.30 and $3.00. Backstreet Blues paid $3.10 and $2.40 and Native Rhythm was $2.40.