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12th Yellow Flag, With One Lap Left, Helps Earnhardt Hold Off Waltrip

September 14, 1987

Dale Earnhardt held off Darrell Waltrip in a bumper-to-bumper battle over the last 50 laps to win the Wrangler 400 NASCAR stock car race Sunday at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway in Richmond, Va.

It appeared that Waltrip, a three-time Winston Cup champion still looking for his first victory of 1987, would get at least one last shot at Earnhardt. But an accident involving Neil Bonnett and Jimmy Means on Lap 399 brought out the yellow caution flag at the same time the white flag waved, indicating one lap to go.

Earnhardt, moving closer to a second straight Winston Cup championship and the third of his career, picked up his 11th victory in 22 starts this season.

Ricky Rudd was third and Bill Elliott fourth, the only other drivers on the lead lap. Richard Petty finished a lap down in fifth.

Because of 12 caution flags, the average speed was only 67.074 m.p.h.

The race was marked by continued bumping and banging, and tempers grew heated.

Earnhardt and Waltrip, who had been racing first and second, got into a bumping match as they drove down pit road during a caution period on lap 181. NASCAR officials, calling it an unsafe situation, made both go to the back of the lead lap before the green flag came back out on lap 189, dropping the two back to 11th and 12th places.

However, both were able to work their way through the field and were battling for the front spot again within 50 laps.

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