Gant takes SplitFire Spark Plugs 200DOVER, Del. -- Another...

AUTO RACING 3/8 3/8

September 15, 1991

Gant takes SplitFire Spark Plugs 200

DOVER, Del. -- Another race, another win for Harry Gant, who took the lead yesterday on the 105th lap and finished with a five-second victory over Robert Pressley in the SplitFire Spark Plugs 200.

The victory, at 126.538 mph in a Buick, was the second straight for Gant, 51, on NASCAR's Busch Grand National circuit and his fourth straight overall.

Gant has won the past two races on the elite Winston Cup circuit.

The race also gave Bobby Labonte a narrow lead over Kenny Wallace in a seesaw battle for the season championship.

Gant's win defended his championship in the September Grand National race at Dover Downs International Speedway.

"It handled just super all day," Gant said of his Buick.

He finished 4.97 seconds ahead of Robert Pressley's Oldsmobile. Ward Burton finished third, Dick Trickle fourth and Ken Schrader fifth.

Gant broke the race open with little more than half of it finished. He took the lead from Labonte out of the pits under caution on lap 101.

He quickly moved away from the pack, getting a full straightaway ahead by lap 115 and moving more than 10 seconds in front by 155.

"I wasn't really running that hard the last 40 or 50 laps," Gant said. "We had plenty of fuel, but I was worried about a tire blowing out."

Peak Antifreeze 500

DOVER, Del. -- Morgan Shepherd led second-round qualifying for the NASCAR race.

Shepherd's lap of 144.590 mph in a Ford on the high-banked, 1-mile oval at Dover Downs International Speedway moved him into the 21st starting position for today's race.

Alan Kulwicki won the pole with a lap of 146.825 mph in Friday's first round. Davey Allison starts second, followed by Geoff Bodine and Mark Martin. All are in Fords.

Pioneer 200

LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Michael Andretti got the point, and so did everybody else as the streaking second-generation Indy-car star moved closer to series point leader Bobby Rahal in the championship battle.

Andretti and his Chevrolet-powered Lola were overpowering again as he mastered the 2.25-mile, 15-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Circuit to wrap up the pole position for today's Pioneer Electronics 200 and break his track qualifying record.

The 28-year-old racer, the defending champion here, came away with his seventh pole of the season, again earning one point for taking the top qualifying spot and cutting Rahal's series margin to 157-155. Al Unser, the defending series champion, is third with 143.

Andretti's fast lap of 116.589 mph was clocked at 69.475 seconds, the first time any driver has been under 70 seconds on the hilly Central Ohio circuit. That broke the mark of 115.652 that he set here last September.

He had won the provisional pole on Friday with a lap of 115.230 and never lost the top spot, although there was plenty of shuffling going on behind Andretti yesterday.

Rick Mears, who was fourth after Friday's qualifying, moved all the way to second with a lap of 115.704, while Rahal, who was way off the pace in seventh on the first day of time trials, cut his time by a 1.6 seconds to move all the way to third at 115.491.

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