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MOTOR RACING ROUNDUP : Mast Outruns Labonte to Win Grand National Event

October 15, 1990|From Associated Press

Rick Mast led for the last 90 laps and held off Bobby Labonte's late charge to win the NASCAR Grand National Chevy Dealers of New England 250 on Sunday at Loudon, N.H.

Mast, winner of three of the past six Grand National races, averaged 96.406 m.p.h. over the one-mile oval at New Hampshire International Speedway to win $27,850. Labonte, who started 35th, finished six car-lengths back.

Mike McLaughlin finished a distant third in an Oldsmobile. Pole-sitter Ricky Craven was fourth in a Pontiac and Tommy Ellis fifth in a Buick.

Mast and Labonte battled for most of the race. Mast had his Buick in front for 145 of the final 148 laps, and Labonte was second for the last 130 laps in his Olds.

"I had to keep my eye on Bobby all day," Mast said. "When he got close, I ran it hard for four or five laps and pulled away some. That's when I knew I had it in the bag."

Labonte closed to within two car-lengths with 15 laps to go, but Mast accelerated and took a 1.5-second lead.

Labonte made one final charge, but wound up 0.64 seconds behind.

"I burned up my right front tire trying to catch Rick Mast," Labonte said. "There was nothing I could do with him. Our cars were just too equal. There was no way I could catch him."

The race featured a strong field, but many top drivers were forced out for various reasons, with only 28 of 46 starters still running at the end.

Frank Hawley, Mike Dunn and Tony Christian, three drivers not involved in the National Hot Rod Assn. Winston Series championship races, surprised the contenders by winning pro titles at the fifth annual Chief Auto Parts Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Tex.

Hawley won the top-fuel title, defeating Eddie Hill in the final round; Dunn beat Jim White in the funny-car division, and Christian shocked pro-stock points leader Darrell Alderman in the finals.

Dunn, competing in his third race for car owner Ed Abel, earned the seventh funny car victory of his career, beating a trouble-plagued White with a 5.451-second, 212.16-m.p.h. run. Two weeks ago, Dunn was runner-up at the Heartland Nationals.

Hawley earned his second top-fuel victory of the season since he took over for injured Darrell Gwynn. Hawley was timed in 5.083 seconds at 277.52 m.p.h. to Hill's tire-smoking 5.460 at 271.98 m.p.h.

Christian's Chevrolet Beretta was timed in 7.350 seconds at 186.60 m.p.h. to Alderman's slowing 7.719 at 153.76 m.p.h.

Christian also eliminated Bob Glidden in the semifinals, ending Glidden's hopes of winning a record sixth consecutive and 11th career season title. Glidden is fifth in the standings.

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