Motor Racing Roundup : Elliott Edges Earnhardt to Take the Delaware 500
Bill Elliott had two races on hand Sunday at the $450,485 NASCAR Delaware 500 at Dover, and one victory took care of both of them.
Elliott edged two-time defending Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt by 1.48 seconds to win the 500, his second victory at Dover Downs International Speedway this year.
Elliott, of Dawsonville, Ga., also earned his sixth victory of the season, which helped pad his lead in the driver standings over Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace, who finished third. Six races remain on the 29-race schedule.
“The thing of it is, to beat Rusty and Dale (in season points), you’ve got to win the race,” said Elliott, whose 3,548 points is 127 more than Earnhardt and 139 more than Wallace.
Davey Allison finished fourth in Sunday’s race and Geoff Bodine was fifth.
Elliott, who won $56,400, battled Earnhardt through the last 100 laps on the mile oval, where Elliott won the Budweiser 500 June 5. Elliott last won earlier this month in the Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C.
“I wasn’t going to worry about Earnhardt until he got to me,” said Elliott, who ran a backup car after crashing in practice on Friday. “I felt tires could still be a problem and I didn’t want to abuse the car.”
Earnhardt, winless at Dover, said he ran on used tires but they worked well.
“I’m in good shape,” said Earnhardt, of Kannapolis, N.C.
Tire problems plagued drivers through much of the race, claiming pole-sitter Mark Martin on the 35th lap and second qualifier Alan Kulwicki on the 326th.
Elliott shredded his right rear tire as drivers entered a caution on the 465th lap. But an inner liner held long enough for him to make it into the pits to have the tire replaced, and he lost no ground.
“I guess luck was with me,” Elliott said.
He then came on strong to stop Earnhardt and Wallace, who had overcome car trouble to challenge.
“Three times we came back and made up laps,” Wallace said after narrowly beating Allison for fourth. “I had to drive so hard to get the laps back. We got two back, one to go and then another flat tire.
“I needed a little better position at the end to work on Elliott.”
Elliott took the lead from Martin on the first lap, taking him on the inside off the second turn.
He led 392 laps, including one stretch from the 150th lap to the 355th.
“The car ran good all day long,” Elliott said.
Kenny Bernstein, Winston Funny Car champion, and Top Fuel racer Darrell Gwynn won their events at the $591,000 National Hot Rod Assn. Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.
Winston Pro Stock champion Bob Glidden earned his 65th career victory in front of 38,000.
“We went into this event with tremendous concentration,” Bernstein said. “We needed to win badly to increase our lead in the points. We’ve won three championships, and we’re fighting very hard to win our fourth.”
Gwynn raced his dragster to his fifth Winston Series victory this season when he defeated Dick LaHaie. Gwynn ran a time of 5.145 seconds at 266.9 m.p.h. to defeat the defending Top Fuel champion. LaHaie ran a time of 7.9 seconds at 106 m.p.h.
Junior Hanley of Canada won Molson 300 at the Sanair Super Speedway at St. Pie, Quebec.
Hanley passed hometown favorite Jean-Paul Cabana for the lead on the 216th circuit of the 225-lap event for his first Coors Tour victory of 1988.
Italy’s Mauro Baldi and Sweden’s Stefan Johansson won the 1,000-kilometers of Francorchamps, Belgium in a Sauber-Mercedes, but the 1988 title for prototypes went to Jaguar, which placed second.
Baldi and Stefansson finished in 6 hours, 1 minute, 34 seconds--25 seconds ahead of Jan Lammers of the Netherlands and Martin Brundle of Britain in a Jaguar.