Brooklyn, Mich. – Bill Elliott swept past Dale Earnhardt with two laps remaining Sunday and held on to win the Champion Spark Plug 400, the sixth victory in his last eight starts at Michigan International Speedway.
It was the 20th career victory for Elliott, who also has 1987 NASCAR victories at Talladega and Daytona.
Elliott, driving a Ford Thunderbird, beat Earnhardt’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo by .76 of a second in a race that took two hours, 53 minutes, six seconds to complete. Elliott’s average speed around the two mile, high-banked oval was 138.648 mph.
Morgan Shepherd was third in the Buick LaSabre. Rusty Wallace, winner last week in the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, was fourth in a Pontiac Grand Prix. Rookie Davey Allison, who started on the pole, was fifth in a Ford; Alan Kulwicki, staring second was seventh in a Buick.
There were 15 lead changes among eight drivers in the race, which saw2 five caution flags for a total of 26 laps. There were no serious accidents.
The victory moved Elliott from third to second in the Winston Cup standings, 498 points behind Earnhardt who leads with 3151 points.
Elliott, 31, whose string of five consecutive wins at MIS was snapped by Earnhardt at the Miller 400 in June, started the race in the third position and played a waiting game through most of the afternoon.
Elliott took the lead on the 138th lap but gave it up to pit when the yellow caution flag went up 12 laps later.
Wallace, who led several times during the race watched by a crowd estimated at 72,000, took the lead again with 11 laps remaining, but hit the wall on the forth turn, allowing Earnhardt back into the lead with five laps remaining.
Earnhardt and Elliott running 1st and 2nd began a cat and mouse dual that lasted three laps before Elliott went high and passed Earnhardt on the third turn and held off Earnhardt the rest of the way.
(Courtesy of Associated Press and Citizen Times)