Bobby Rahal pulled away from pole-winner Mario Andretti after a yellow flag three-quarters of the way through the race and won the Meadowlands Indy by 3.8 seconds yesterday for his fourth victory this month.

He went ahead for good on the 32nd lap of the 100-lap event. He built his lead to more than 18 seconds before a full-course yellow flag allowed Andretti to be within a second when the green flag was waved on lap 85.

But from there on on the 1.68-mile road circuit, Rahal drove his Lola-Cosworth away from Andretti's Lola-Chevrolet.

"After that yellow, it was a trophy dash, I guess," he said. "I knew Mario was going to come after me. Fortunately, my car was running well all day and, really, it was a comfortable drive."

Emerson Fittipaldi was third. Rahal averaged 86.03 mph, well off the track mark of 92.340 set last year by Danny Sullivan.

Sponsors said the race's financial problems will be overcome in the next five years because of a new operating arrangement . . .

Dale Earnhardt held off Davey Allison in the Miller American 400 Winston Cup NASCAR race in Brooklyn, Mich. His victory was his seventh this season and came before a crowd of nearly 78,000. He averaged 148.454 mph over the 400 miles and beat Allison by .29 seconds to earn $60,250. Kyle Petty was third . . .

Actor Tom Cruise wasn't top gun at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., were he and a partner finished 14th in an IMSA Firestone Firehawk Grand Sports endurance race. It was his first pro race. He drove the first 1 hour 20 minutes of the three-hour race, and was ninth when he pitted. Refueling problems hurt . . .

Toby Burton, 13, of Edinburgh, Ind., was killed when he was hit by a stock car at the Twin Cities Racetrack in Vernon, Ind.