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Esau Wins Race at Riverside by 3 Seconds With the Help of a Break on Final Lap

June 01, 1986|PAT RAY

RIVERSIDE — Veteran short-track racer Ron Esau of Lakeside, Calif., used a big break on the final lap to pull out a hard-fought victory over Duke Hoenshell of Orange in the Von's 200-kilometer race for NASCAR All-American Challenge Series cars at Riverside International Raceway.

For the final five laps of the 48-lap event on the 2.62-mile road circuit, Hoenshell and Esau had staged a fender-rubbing battle for the lead, with Hoenshell holding a narrow lead.

The pair made final contact on Turn 8 of the final lap, Hoenshell still managing to hold off Esau and seemingly headed for his third straight victory in this preliminary event to the NASCAR Budweiser 400 for Winston Cup cars.

It wasn't to be, however, for as Hoenshell started down the back straight, the engine of his Pontiac Firebird expired, allowing the Chevy Camaro driven by Esau to post a three-second victory.

Hoenshell nursed his ailing car around to the finish line for second place. Pole-starter Doug Taylor finished third in a Camaro.

Esau, who collected $4,770 with his unexpected victory, averaged 98.442 m.p.h. Hoenshell collected $2,875.

Esau will try to add to his winnings today when he starts 29th in the featured 400 in a Chevy.

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