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Auto Racing : LaBonte's Win Hits Close to Home

October 05, 1987| From Times Wire Services

Terry Labonte said his first victory as Junior Johnson's driver couldn't have come at a better time.

Labonte ran away from the field Sunday to win the Holly Farms 400 NASCAR stock car race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, ending a string of 50 races without a victory.

"It's special to win here, especially since it's practically in Junior and Flossie's backyard," Labonte said, referring to Johnson his wife.

Johnson, whose home and race shop are only eight miles from the five-eighths mile North Wilkesboro oval, has a record 17 total victories on this track--15 as a car owner and 2 as a driver.

Labonte, who earned his seventh career victory by holding off Dale Earnhardt until a caution flag came out with two laps remaining, said: "We've been pumped up all year, but we just couldn't get that win. This really is a special feeling."

The victory was the first for Labonte since March of 1986 at Rockingham, N.C. It also kept alive a streak for Johnson, who has won at least one race as a driver or car owner every year since 1965.

Local favorite Bobby Rahal overcame teammate Jochen Mass with 11 laps remaining to win the 300-kilometer Columbus 500 race for GTP cars at Columbus, Ohio.

Rahal, a resident of nearby Dublin, pulled past Mass, who was also driving a Porsche 962, on the 70th lap of the 81-lap race through the streets of downtown Columbus.

Price Cobb, finished third with co-driver Johnny Dumfries, clinching Robinson's first International Motor Sports Assn. Camel GT championship.

Jack Baldwin won the Camel GTO race, taking the lead in the final two laps by moving up from third place coming off a yellow flag.

Darrell Gwynn rode the quickest quarter-mile in drag racing history to a $30,000 payday at the second annual Chief Auto Parts Nationals at Ennis, Tex.

Gwynn was timed in a national record 5.084 seconds at 280.37 m.p.h. in the final-round victory over Eddie Hill of Wichita Falls, Tex. That capped a sensational four days in which 14 National Hot Rod Assn. records were bettered.

Other winners were Bob Glidden of Whiteland, Ind., who won for the 57th time in Pro Stock, and Ed McCulloch of Hemet, Calif., who won for the first time in two years in Funny Car competition.

Eddie Lawson of the United States won the 500cc motorcycle season finale at Buenos Aires, defeating fellow American Randy Mamola and 1987 overall titlist Wayne Gardner.

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