The last laps of the Southern 500 yesterday at Darlington, S.C., winnowed down to two of the "gooder 'n' older" boys, and Cale Yarborough -- just a part-timer on the 1982 Grand National stock car circuit -- put it in perspective after he'd defeated Richard Petty for an unprecedented fifth victory in the event.

"I've won races all over the world, but to win at Darlington is the biggest thing to me," Yarborough said. "My home is just up the road (in Timmonsville, S.C.) and these are my people. They only see me race twice a year and I'm just tickled to death that I've beat this place five times and nobody else has done it more than three times."

Yarborough won by about two lengths of his red, white and black Buick Regal, after passing Petty's Pontiac Grand Prix eight laps from the finish of the 367-lap race.

What with 14 caution flags, Yarborough averaged 115.224 mph around the 1.366-mile oval in earning $34,300 of the $336,000 purse. Dale Earnhardt placed third, after leading when the final caution came out 23 laps from the end because of debris on the track. Harry Gant and Darrell Waltrip, leaders at various intermediate stages, lost out with a broken suspension, blown engine, respectively.