Morgan Shepherd held off Dale Earnhardt in the final four laps to win the Motorcraft 500 at Atlanta International Raceway by one car length and claim his first victory in 112 races.

It was Shepherd's first triumph on the Winston Cup circuit since April 1981, when he won the Virginia 500 in Martinsville. It also was the first victory for car owner Jack Beebe since August 1981 in Talladega, Ala., in the Talladega 500.

With 11 laps remaining in the 328-lap event, Shepherd held a one-second lead over Bill Elliott. But at that point, Ken Schrader's Ford smacked the backstretch wall on the 1.5-mile oval, and Mike Waltrip and Tommy Ellis spun. The ninth caution flag was waved, and the field closed.

With four laps remaining, NASCAR displayed the green again, and Shepherd managed to hold off the hard-charging Earnhardt, who led four times for 167 laps.

Shepherd's Buick finished one car length ahead of Earnhardt's Chevrolet. Terry Labonte was third and Darrell Waltrip took fourth, both in Chevrolets. Bill Elliott placed fifth in a Ford.

Shepherd, 44, who averaged 132.126 mph, won $62,350, a career high for the Conover, N.C., driver whose previous top earning for a race was $27,125 for his performance in the 1983 Firecracker 400.