Darrell Waltrip took the lead for the fifth time six laps from the finish and went on to a narrow victory over Terry Labonte in yesterday's $262,000 Wrangler 400 NASCAR Grand National stock car race in Richmond.
Waltrip took the lead from Labonte with an inside move on lap 294 and sped to the checkered flag for his second victory of the season. Waltrip earned $35,300 for the race, which he completed with an average speed of 72.508 mph after starting 22nd.
Waltrip, who came into the race trailing leader Bill Elliott by 206 points in the Winston Cup standings, gained 53 points to narrow the gap to 153 points. Elliott finished 12th . . .
In St. Pie, Quebec, Pancho Carter nipped Johnny Rutherford by inches in a controversial final-lap duel to win the wild, crash-filled Molson-Indy 200. The two-car sprint to the finish of the 225-lap race was set up when Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve, running in second place, crashed into the rear of leader Bobby Rahal on lap 206 and sent both cars ramming into the concrete wall in the first turn of the .826-mile tri-oval. Seconds later, Indy-car rookie Enrique Mansilla of Argentina slammed into the wall in turn two.
That left Rutherford, who has not won an Indy-car race since the 1981 season opener at Phoenix, leading as crews cleaned up the wreckage. Neither Rahal nor Villeneuve was injured, but Mansilla apparently suffered a mild concussion.
Carter, whose only previous Indy-car victory came in the 1981 Michigan 500, was running second to Rutherford as the race wound down under the caution flag. On the last lap, the warning lights around the track suddenly went green and starter Nick Fornoro waved the checkered flag as the two leaders came by nearly side by side.
Carter said, "The green light came on and I was outside of John in turn three. I don't know why, but I just had a feeling we were going green."
The shocked Rutherford couldn't believe he did not get the victory. "I don't know what happened. I didn't think there was a green. Carter did not win this race, I did.
"I saw the checkered flag, not the green flag. I saw Pancho in my mirror and wondered what he was doing, and he passed me. There's no way you can start a race on a checkered flag. Had I known they were going to do that, he'd never have gotten away with it." . . .
In Monza, Italy, France's Alain Prost drove his McLaren-Tag car to victory in the Italian Grand Prix, strengthening his overall lead in the world drivers championship. Brazilians Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna placed second and third, respectively.