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Motor Racing Roundup : Earnhardt Starts Off Like '87, With a Win

February 08, 1988| Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Dale Earnhardt, picking up where he left off last season, charged to victory Sunday in the Busch Clash and earned $75,000.

The two-time defending Winston Cup champion started from the outside of the front row, next to pole-winner Geoff Bodine, and took control of the 20-lap, 50-mile sprint on lap 7.

He led the rest of the way on the 2.5-mile, high-banked Daytona International Speedway oval, fending off a challenges from Davey Allison and his father, Bobby Allison.

Earnhardt, who also won this race for the previous year's pole winners in 1980 and 1986, became the first three-time winner of the 10-year-old event.

Earnhardt, driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, averaged 191.489 m.p.h. in the first racing test of NASCAR's new carburetor restrictor plate, which limits horsepower and is intended to slow the stock cars in the interest of safety.

Davey Allison, last year's Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, finished second in a Ford Thunderbird, about one car length behind Earnhardt. He was followed closely by Bobby Allison in a Buick Regal.

Bodine, who led the first six laps, then fell back to eighth when he got out of line in the draft, wound up fourth in a Chevy.

Bill Elliott, last year's champion who set a record by averaging 197.802 m.p.h., was fifth.

Earnhardt, who earned more than $2 million last year, collected $50,000 for first place, as well as $25,000 in lap-leader money.

Second-place was worth $21,000 to the younger Allison, while the elder Allison received $16,000 for third.

Bodine, who earned fourth-place money of $13,000, also got a $10,000 bonus for leading lap five.

Rookie Mickey Gibbs came from the middle of the pack to win the ARCA 200 late model stock car race at Daytona International Speedway.

Gibbs, making his first ARCA appearance, started 21st in the 42-car field after his first-day qualifying speed, which would have placed his on the outside of the front row, was disallowed because he used illegal tires.

But Gibbs, from Glencoe, Ala., charged back through the field, taking the lead on lap 55 of the 80-lap, 200-mile event. He held it the rest of the way, fighting off fellow Alabamian Red Farmer at the end to pick up his first superspeedway victory.

Gibbs, driving a Ford Thunderbird, averaged 148.699 m.p.h. in the race, which was slowed by four caution flags for a total of 14 laps. He won an ARCA record $11,365.

Farmer was second, one car-length behind, followed by Charlie Glotzbach, Jay Sommers and ARCA Series defending champion Bill Venturini.

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