Dover is up next

May 29, 2001 10:32 AM

Sunday’s 85th running of the Indianapolis 500 established for the second year in a row that CART is clearly superior to the Indy Racing League.

The CART superiority starts with the well-financed owners, the top engine builders, better crews, and of course, just better drivers. Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IRL President, Tony George, has to be reconsidering allowing the rival league to come into his series biggest race and dominate.

Beyond the public perception of the massacre, in which the first six finishers were all CART affiliated, the money aspects could also doom the IRL. Several of the under-financed IRL teams rely on the huge Indy 500 payday to keep their team surviving. If more CART teams, particularly Team Green, enter next season, they will ultimately squash the IRL, both financially and on the track.

Las Vegas sports books saw steady action for the annual Memorial Day weekend race.

"We had the race up for over a month, and it was slow at first," said Excalibur’s sports book director Kevin Klein, "But when the weekend crowd came in, we quadrupled our handle that we had done in our previous four weeks."

Mandalay Bay sports book director Hugh Citron reported the same type of action at his strip property. "Saturday Night, we just had a ton of money wagered on the race. Every bettor that came to the window was either betting the Indy 500, the Lakers, or Jeff Gordon."

On the local scene, Station Casinos’ race and sports book director Rob Terry said action was consistent throughout for the two months they had the race up.

"We had the race handicapped very well, except for Michael Andretti (who finished 3rd) who we had a major liability on," he said. "Overall, I was extremely pleased with the type of action we got on our odds to win, match-ups, and propositions. Auto racing has definitely made its mark on the betting scene in Las Vegas."

This weekend’s betting schedule consists of four races. All three major racing series are running at Dover Downs in Delaware starting Friday night. The CART FedEx series runs Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile.

Sunday’s Winston Cup race on the concrete of Dover will be a welcome sight for Tony Stewart (3-1) who has tamed the one mile high banked track like no other. Based on his first four career races, indications are that Stewart is going to run well again.

Things are going great for Stewart right now. He’s in a groove. After a spectacular dual duty performance where he finished sixth in the Indy 500 and third in the Coca-Cola 600, Stewart finds himself sixth in the point standings, only 149 pts behind Dale Jarrett. The Gibbs racing team has also found itself after wandering for the first quarter of the season.

Stewart’s teammate Bobby Labonte (5-1) also seems to be dialed in lately. Dover hasn’t been too bad for him either. He’s had six straight Top 5 performances there, which includes one victory.

Ricky Rudd (8-1) is a four-time winner at Dover. Last season, in his first attempt driving for Yates racing, he rolled out two strong Top 5 performances at his favorite track. Look for Rudd to be a major contender in this race and maybe even break through for his first win in three years.

Friday’s Truck Series has Ted Musgrave (5-2) favored to win. Rookie points leader Scott Riggs
has been the shock of the NASCAR season. He has shown patience, poise, and toughness that are not usually seen from someone so green. It won’t be long before he finds himself racing on Sundays.

Top 5 finish prediction:

1. No. 20 Tony Stewart  


2. No. 28 Ricky Rudd  


3. No. 18 Bobby Labonte  


4. No. 6 Mark Martin  


5. No. 88 Dale Jarrett