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Motor Racing Roundup : Hillin, 22, Becomes Youngest NASCAR Winner

July 28, 1986| From Times Wire Services

Bobby Hillin Jr. became the youngest winner in the history of NASCAR Sunday, holding on to win the Talladega 500 at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Ala.

Hillin, 22, wrested the lead from Tim Richmond just eight laps from the end of the 188-lap event and managed to hold off Richmond, who had won two straight races and three of the last four.

Bobby Allison, 48, Hillin's teammate and the winner of the Winston 500 here in May, becoming the oldest driver to win a NASCAR event, ignited a six-car wreck at the start of the last lap as he tried to catch the leaders.

With Hillin driving his Buick LeSabre faultlessly to the finish line on the 2.66-mile, high-banked tri-oval, Allison skidded up the banking and ran into Rick Wilson. Cars driven by Joe Ruttman, Kyle Petty, Davey Allison and Jim Sauter also became involved.

Terry Labonte was the previous youngest winner. He was 1 year and 8 months older than Hillin when he won the Southern 500 in 1980.

Hillin, whose best previous finish was third in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona Beach, Fla., on July 4, picked up $60,055 from the total purse of $516,550.

He averaged 151.552 m.p.h. in the race slowed by nine caution flags for a total of 45 laps.

Rusty Wallace, driving in relief of Ricky Rudd, who was out with the flu, finished third.

Pole-sitter Bill Elliott was forced out with engine problems. Hillin, who won by about one-half a car length, said: "I was weaving all over the track to try to keep the guys behind me out of my draft. But when the green flag came out, I never had to take my foot off the floor. The pedal was getting so hot it burned my foot a little."

When the race ended, the excited Hillin missed the entrance to Victory Lane and drove nearly to the end of the pit road before noticing his jubilant crew signaling to him in his rear-view mirror.

Hillin, of Midland, Tex., came right out of the short tracks in Texas to race on the NASCAR circuit as a 17-year-old high school senior.

"I grew up with my father running sprint cars and Indy cars, and my granddad sponsored me in my first Winston Cup race in 1982," he said. "Without them, there's no way I'd be here."

Nelson Piquet of Brazil scored his second victory of the season and revived his world championship chances, holding off countryman Ayrton Senna to win the West German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, West Germany.

Piquet, driving a Williams, averaged 135.57 m.p.h. as he edged Senna in a Lotus.

"The tires were getting very, very bad," Piquet said. "We were short of fuel."

Britain's Nigel Mansell, benefitting from other cars running out of fuel in the closing laps, was third. He charged into fifth place five laps before the end and picked up another two places in the last lap.

Mansell still leads the world championship standings with 51 points. World champion Alain Prost of France stayed in second at 44 points with Senna third at 42 and Piquet fourth at 38.

Rene Arnoux of France, driving a Ligier, was the last driver to complete the full distance of 44 laps and finished fourth.

Finland's Keke Rosberg, who contested for the lead with Piquet for much of the race, finished fifth, a lap behind the winner, after his McLaren ran out of fuel. Prost, Rosberg's teammate, also ran out of fuel and finished sixth.

Prost tried to push his car to the line, but abandoned the effort as impossible with about 100 yards to go.

Pete Halsmer of Anaheim pulled ahead of Wally Dallenbach Jr. in the final laps to win the 100-mile Trans-Am race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Halsmer, in a Mercury Merkur, kept ahead of Dallenbach's Chevrolet Camaro through the final four laps and won by 1.23 seconds. He averaged 95.857 m.p.h. He earned $12,000.

Chip Hanauer of Seattle won his third race on the 1986 unlimited hydrolane circuit, piloting the Miller American to victory over Tom D'Eath of Fair Haven, Mich., in the Columbia Cup at Pasco, Wash.

In a major disappointment, Miss Budweiser, piloted by Jim Kropfeld of Cincinnati, was unable to start the final heat.

The Miller American and Miss Budweiser had won their elimination heats and the crowd, estimated at 60,000, was anticipating a showdown between the two rivals.

Hanauer, 32, recorded his 21st career victory and his third victory in a row over the Columbia River course. He has now won two consecutive Columbia Cups, as well as the 1984 Gold Cup here.

In one of the closest finals in NHRA history, Mark Oswald edged Kenny Bernstein for the Funny Car title in the National Hot Rod Assn. Mile High Nationals at Denver.

Oswald, of Cincinnati, was clocked in 5.81 seconds and 252.38 m.p.h. Bernstein, of Newport Beach, had clockings of 5.82 seconds and 247.52 m.p.h.

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