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Schumacher continues red-hot start

From wire reports

Michael Schumacher equaled the best start to a Formula One season Sunday by winning the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, Spain, for his fifth consecutive victory.

The six-time world champion overcame an exhaust problem to record his 75th career victory and fourth in a row at the Spanish GP. He matched Nigel Mansell’s record start in 1992.

“A lot of nice numbers on one weekend to come together, which I am proud of,” Schumacher said.

Rubens Barrichello was second, 13.2 seconds behind, giving Ferrari it’s third 1-2 finish this season. Renault’s Jarno Trulli finished a further 19 seconds behind in third, his best result of the season. Teammate Fernando Alonso was fourth.

Schumacher leads the drivers’ standings with a perfect 50 points, ahead of Barrichello with 32.

Indianapolis 500 practice

It wasn’t exactly snail’s pace, but Sunday ushered in perhaps a new era of gentler, kinder speeds in open-wheel racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fastest in opening-day practice for the 88th Indy 500 was Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, who turned in the day’s best lap of 219.760 miles per hour – slower by almost 10 m.p.h. than last year’s top speed on the same day.

This season, smaller, less powerful engines are being run at Indy to reduce speeds and make it safer for drivers, who, in 2003, had to qualifying at better than 223 m.p.h. to make the race.

For much of Sunday, last year’s Indy 500 pole-sitter, Helio Castroneves, was quickest in his Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota, running a best lap of 219.752 m.p.h. A year ago, Castroneves, a two-time Indy 500 winner, claimed the pole for the 2003 race at 231.725 m.p.h.

Wheldon downplays success

Success hasn’t changed Dan Wheldon’s approach.

A month after winning his first Indy Racing League event, Dan Wheldon insists he still abides by the same, cautious philosophy.

“You’ve got to do what you can do,” he said after wrapping up practice Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “It’s one win. There are too many good cars out there to get excited.”

The 25-year-old Wheldon has emerged as one of the most consistent drivers on the IRL circuit since joining the series full-time last year.

He won the series’ rookie of the year award, was 11th in the points standings and finished 13 of 16 races. He had five top-five finishes, including a career-best third in the season finale at Texas.

But this has been Wheldon’s breakthrough season.

After three races, he leads the IRL standings with 123 points. Brazil’s Tony Kanaan, Wheldon’s teammate with Andretti Green Racing, is second at 117.

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