NORTH WILKESBORO,N.C. — NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. -- Darrell Waltrip broke a 34-race winless streak yesterday, keeping his car out of trouble and capturing the First Union 400 NASCAR race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Waltrip, who passed Jimmy Spencer with 52 laps remaining on the .625-mile track, became the seventh driver to win this season as many events. He also has won 10 of 34 races on this short track in the North Carolina mountains.
But Waltrip, 44, from Franklin, Tenn., had to avoid one more pileup, the 17th caution flag of the day, to capture his 80th NASCAR victory. He became the fifth driver to reach that plateau.
Ernie Irvan, Dick Trickle and Dale Jarrett spun between turns one and two and forced a restart with 21 laps left.
Waltrip, a car owner for the first time this season, got off quickly to open a 10-car lead on Dale Earnhardt and hold off a late charge by the defending Winston Cup champion to win by 1.5 seconds.