Senna captures U.S. Grand Prix 2nd year in row

March 11, 1991

PHOENIX -- Ayrton Senna, driving a new and previously untested Honda-powered McLaren, won the season-opening U.S. Grand Prix through downtown yesterday.

Senna, a Brazilian and defending Formula One champion, led from start to finish in winning this event for the second straight year. Former teammate Alain Prost of France, driving a Ferrari, was 16.322 seconds behind.

Senna earned a wire-to-wire victory for a record 15th time. The late Jim Clark did it 13 times.

"The car is good; the performance speaks for itself," Senna said quietly. "It's the first time we were out for distance on full (gas) tanks and it was a great performance. The car proved reliable and the engine was good, too."

"I had small problems only with the gearbox and the balance of the car," he said. "But every year we fight with it [the gearbox], and the balance problem is because we have a new car."

The victory was the 27th for Senna, tying him with retired Jackie Stewart for second place -- behind the 44 of Prost -- on the career victory list.

Senna, who started from the pole for a record 53rd time, never was challenged in the 81-lap race on the newly configured

2.312-mile (3.720-kilometer) circuit.

Miller 500

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Jimmy Hensley slipped past Harry Gant on lap 127 of the Busch Grand National at the Martinsville Speedway en route to victory in the last of three races in the Miller 500 tripleheader.

In the $83,895, 200-lap Winston modified tour race, Jeff Fuller's Chevrolet led from lap 100 to beat Carl Pasteryak by 0.16 seconds.

In the Busch race, Hensley beat Dale Jarrett to the flag by 0.47 seconds. Gant, who led for 83 laps, was put out of the race by an accident.

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