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Motor Racing Roundup : Checkered Flag Goes Up Early, Causes Confusion

<i> From Associated Press </i>

Price Cobb of Evergreen, Colo., was leading the IMSA Grand Prix at Portland Sunday when the checkered flag was waved. There was one problem, though. There were still three laps to go in the 97-lap race.

Cobb said he backed off, then resumed racing when he saw that Australian Geoff Brabham was still racing. Brabham caught Cobb two laps later and ended up winning by .345 of a second.

Cobb’s Jaguar team protested, and the race will be reviewed. Official results are not expected until early in the week.

“Obviously, a huge error was made,” Brabham said. “It’s not my department and I’m not going to speculate. My team told me it was a mistake, and the Jaguar team told Price it was a mistake.”

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Terry Labonte held off Darrell Waltrip to win the DieHard 500 stock car race at Talladega, Ala., by less than a car-length.

Labonte, the 19th different winner in 21 summer races on the 2.66-mile Superspeedway oval, has come close before. He previously had three second-place finishes at Talladega, all by the narrowest of margins, and was third in the 1981 race, when Ron Bouchard beat Waltrip and Labonte to the finish line by less than a yard.

Labonte’s victory in a Thunderbird gave Ford a five-race winning streak, its longest since 1969.

The 188-lap race on the hot track saw 10 drivers change leads 49 times, the last coming on Lap 176 when Labonte drove his Thunderbird past Waltrip’s Chevrolet Lumina. Waltrip stayed right behind Labonte but couldn’t get past him.

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Waltrip remained second in the Winston Cup standings but gained 45 points on leader Dale Earnhardt, who finished 11th Sunday. Earnhardt has 2,444 points to Waltrip’s 2,354.

Labonte, who averaged 157.354 m.p.h., won $73,920.

Ayrton Senna of Brazil won the German Grand Prix, finishing ahead of McLaren-Honda teammate Alain Prost of France.

Senna passed Prost with two laps left in the 44-lap race on the 4.214-mile circuit at Hockenheim, West Germany.

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Senna finished the 185.41-mile race in 1 hour 21 minutes 43.302 seconds--18.151 seconds ahead of Prost. He averaged 139.231 m.p.h.


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