With a big assist from crew chief Frankie Stoddard, Jeff Burton finally got it right yesterday at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham.

Burton took the lead when he barely beat his older brother, Ward, coming out of the pits on the final stop and cruised in first place for 68 laps in winning the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400.

With all the leaders pitting on Lap 325 of the 393-lap event--the final caution period, Stoddard decided to set Burton's No. 99 Ford up for a shorter run and to get his driver a big lead before the tires wore down.

"That last caution was definitely a blessing for us," Burton said. "[Ward] had a better car on a long run. Frank made the decision to go try to get everything he could on a short run."

Cycling

Fiedler Finishes Strong

Germany's Jens Fiedler won the Keirin in a photo finish at the World Track Cycling Championship in Berlin. Fiedler defended his title with a late charge to edge American Marty Nothstein and New Zealand's Anthony Peden. Marion Clignet won the women's points race, giving France its seventh gold in 12 events.

Tennis

Rafter Recovering

Patrick Rafter, the two-time U.S. Open champion, is expected to make a full recovery after surgery on his troubled shoulder. . . .

Sixth-seeded Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador beat Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 6-2, in the final of the $725,000 Lyon Grand Prix in France. . . . Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo of France defeated Kim Clijsters of Belgium, 6-3, 6-3, in Bratislava, Slovakia, to win the Eurotel Slovak Indoor for her first WTA tournament triumph. . . . Nathalie Tauziat of France upset Barbara Schett of Austria, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, at the $1.05 million Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Boxing

Adams Falls

Philadelphia's Aaron Mitchell (15-1-1) dominated Washington's Mo Adams (15-3-1) to win the International Boxing Council's continental middleweight title at D.C. Armory. Mitchell floored Adams twice using a dominating overhand right, and the fight was stopped after two rounds. . . .

Cuba's champion super heavyweight boxer Teofilo Stevenson was arrested in Miami after he was accused of roughing up an airline worker. Miami-Dade County police said Stevenson hit a United Airlines employee with his head on Saturday as he tried to force his way past an airport checkpoint.

Triathlon

Leskes Complete Race

Brian Leske, 33, a Washington lawyer and below-the-knee amputee, finished the Ironman Triathlon as planned, with a time of 16 hours 44 minutes 14 seconds in the annual event held in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Leske's twin brother, Kevin, also a Washington resident, finished in 11:07.08, and their 61-year-old father, Gary, finished in 13:26.23.

Basketball

Magic to Make Return

On Tuesday, Magic Johnson will play competitively for the first time since retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996. The 40-year-old Johnson will play for a Swedish League team that bears his nickname, Magic M7, against a team from Uppsala.