Earnhardt wins close Diehard 500

July 29, 1991

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Dale Earnhardt held off challenges by Davey Allison and Bill Elliott in the final four laps yesterday to win the DieHard 500, one of the most competitive races ever at Talladega Superspeedway.

Earnhardt, who won both races at Talladega in 1990 and finished third in May, was at or near the front throughout the 188-lap race on the 2.66-mile oval, leading seven times for 101 laps. He held off Elliott by a car length to become the track's career victory leader with five, including three in the Winston 500.

There were 32 lead changes among 12 drivers, 15 cars finished on the lead lap and a blanket could almost be thrown over the huge lead packs throughout the race. But at the end, Earnhardt took control with 28 laps to go.

Allison, with drafting help from pole starter and fellow Ford Thunderbird driver Sterling Marlin, made a run at Earnhardt's Chevrolet Lumina on lap 185. Allison, a two-time winner at Talladega, was able to get alongside the leader on the main straightaway, but couldn't get past.

After that, Allison faded back into the pack, but Elliott, in another Thunderbird, was suddenly right on Earnhardt's rear bumper. He tried moving up the banked oval, then to the low side, but Earnhardt was able to block every move and went on to his third win of the season and first in nine races.

Earnhardt padded his season point lead with his 51st career victory, leaving the four-time Winston Cup champion alone in seventh on the career victory list.

Mark Martin wound up third, Ricky Rudd fourth and Marlin fifth.

A crowd estimated at more than 100,000 was on its feet most of the hot, hazy day.

Seven drivers led in the first 25 laps and 31 cars were still bunched in the lead draft.

1. (4) Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet Lumina, 188, $88,670, 147.383; 2. (5) Bill Elliott, Ford Thunderbird, 188, $51,815; 3. (2) Mark Martin, Ford Thunderbird, 188, $46,390; 4. (18) Ricky Rudd, Chevrolet Lumina, 188, $29,400; 5. (1) Sterling Marlin, Ford Thunderbird, 188, $27,075; 6. (8) Rusty Wallace, Pontiac Grand Prix, 188, $16,250; 7. (13) Michael Waltrip, Pontiac Grand Prix, 188, $16,050; 8. (40) Dale Jarrett, Ford Thunderbird, 188, $14,400; 9. (7) Davey Allison, Ford Thunderbird, 188, $19,120; 10. (19) Joe Ruttman, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 188, $15,800.

11. (21) Bobby Hillin Jr., Pontiac Grand Prix, 188, $16,330; 12, (6) Chad Little, Ford Thunderbird, 188, $8,250; 13. (34) Buddy Baker, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 188, $9,930; 14. (22) Morgan Shepherd, Ford Thunderbird, 188, $14,860; 15. (14) Darrell Waltrip, Chevrolet Lumina, 188, $10,135; 16. (10) Alan Kulwicki, Ford Thunderbird, 187, $14,550; 17. (28) Larry Pearson, Chevrolet Lumina, 187, $7,385; 18. (20) Richard Petty, Pontiac Grand Prix, 187, $10,880; 19. (33) Greg Sacks, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 186, $7,100; 20. (24) Dick Trickle, Pontiac Grand Prix, 186, $9,160.

21. (41) Dave Marcis, Chevrolet Lumina, 186, $9,980; 22. (32) Phil Barkdoll, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 185, $6,625; 23. (36) Jimmy Means, Pontiac Grand Prix, 185, $6,370; 24. (35) Terry Labonte, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 184, $9,215; 25. (31) Mike Chase, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 184, $6,110; 26. (27) Ted Musgrave, Pontiac Grand Prix, 182, $7,635; 27. (39) Eddie Bierschwale, Chevrolet Lumina, 181, $5,865; 28. (17) Rick Mast, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 166, crash, $8,645; 29. (15) Hut Stricklin, Buick Regal, 150, crash, $8,475; 30. (11) Geoff Bodine, Ford Thunderbird, 150, crash, $14,455.

31. (23) Stanley Smith, Buick Regal, 147, engine, $5,985; 32. (29) Brett Bodine, Buick Regal, 146, engine, $8,215; 33. (3) Ernie Irvan, Chevrolet Lumina, 146, handling, $13,645; 34. (16) Bobby Hamilton, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 130, $5,400; 35. (37) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet Lumina, 117, oil leak, $13,755; 36. (12) Lake Speed, Pontiac Grand Prix, 109, crash, $7,995; 37. (38) Jimmy Spencer, Chevrolet Lumina, 102, crash, $7,945; 38. (30) Rick Wilson, Buick Regal, 102, crash, $7,895; 39. (9) Harry Gant, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 90, crash, $7,815; 40. (25) Ken Schrader, Chevrolet Lumina, 77, engine, $7,150; 41. (26) Wally Dallenbach Jr., Ford Thunderbird, 2, crash, $5,150.

Race statistics Time of race: 3:23:35. Margin of victory: 1 car length. Caution flags: 7 for 43 laps. Lead changes: 32 among 12 drivers. Lap leaders: Martin 1-2; Earnhardt 3-16; Elliott 17; Allison 18-19; Marlin 20-21; Mi.Waltrip 21-22; Stricklin 23; Mi.Waltrip 24; Marlin 25; Earnhardt 26-49; Mast 50-52; Da.Waltrip 53; Marlin 54-64; Earnhardt 65-72; Allison 73; Earnhardt 74-81; Stricklin 82-85; Allison 86-92; Mast 93-99; Rudd 100-101; Martin 102; Marlin 103-120; Little 121-127; Mi.Waltrip 128; Marlin 129-130; Allison 131; Earnhardt 132-146; Allison 147; Earnhardt 148-151; Jarrett 152-159; Wallace 160; Earnhardt 161-188.

German Grand Prix

HOCKENHEIM, Germany -- Britain's Nigel Mansell won his third consecutive race to close within striking distance of Formula One leader Ayrton Senna of Brazil.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.