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Rice wins Formula Ford race at Phoenix

March 23, 1997

PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) _ Series points leader Buddy Rice won his first United States Formula Ford 2000 race before a hometown crowd in a support event Sunday to the Phoenix 200.

Rice beat Duncan Dayton by a tenth of a second to win the 50-lap contest that preceded the IRL event at Phoenix International Raceway. He averaged 60.017 mph.

Dayton actually passed Rice for the lead on lap 36. But an accident involving teammate Michael Fitzgerald and three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond brought out a caution, putting Dayton and Rice back in their lap-35 order.

Rounding out the top-five were Zak Morioka, of Brazil, Robby McGehee and Ric Rushton.

The race was marred by four caution periods for accidents. The most seriously injured, Don Burgoon (concussion) and Fitzgerald (possible neck and back injuries), were transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

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