Rick Mast led the last 90 laps and held off Bobby Labonte's late charge to capture the NASCAR Grand National Chevy Dealers of New England 250 yesterday in Loudon, N.H.
Mast, winner of three of the last six Grand National races, averaged 96.406 mph over the one-mile oval at New Hampshire International Speedway to win $27,850. Labonte, who started 35th, finished six car lengths back.
Mike McLaughlin came in a distant third in an Oldsmobile. Pole-sitter Ricky Craven was fourth in a Pontiac and Tommy Ellis fifth in a Buick.
Mast and Labonte battled for most of the race. Mast had his Buick in front for 145 of the final 148 laps, while Labonte was second for the last 130 laps in his Olds.
"I had to keep my eye on Bobby all day," Mast said. "When he got close, I ran it hard for four or five laps and pulled away some. That's when I knew I had it in the bag."
Labonte closed to within two car lengths with about 15 laps to go, but Mast accelerated and took a 1.5-second lead. Labonte made one final charge, but wound up .64 of a second behind.
"I burned up my right front tire trying to catch Rick Mast," Labonte said. "There was nothing I could do with him. Our cars were just too equal. There was no way I could catch him."