Steady rain during final qualifying at Zandvoort left Nelson Piquet in a Brabham-BMW holding the pole position for today's Dutch Grand Prix, but hoping for a dry race. World championship driving coleader Michele Alboreto had no chance of improving his Ferrari's eighth-row starting place. Rival Alain Prost will start his McLaren-TAG-Porsche from the second row . . .

At Watkins Glen, N.Y., Paul Newman won his third straight pole position in qualifying for a Trans Am series race. Newman, driving a Nissan, sped 107.888 mph. The 60-year-old actor then prepped for today's 101-mile event by winning a GT-1 race.

Willy T. Ribbs, the defending Watkins Glen champion and five-time winner this season, will join Newman in the front row after qualifying his Mercury Capri at 107.301 mph . . .

Dale Earnhardt nudged past Tim Richmond to win the NASCAR Busch 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) International Raceway. Earnhardt moved his Chevrolet past Richmond's Pontiac in the third turn on lap 483 and gained his third win of the season.

Following Richmond across the finish line in the lead lap were Neil Bonnett and Darrell Waltrip, with Bill Elliott a lap down in fifth.

Earnhardt has won three of the five races contested on half-mile tracks in 1985 by the Winston Cup drivers. He averaged 81.388 mph.