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Duncan Steals a Victory

Leaders' misfortunes clear the way for winner in the NASCAR Grand National West Series race.

September 02, 2006|Martin Henderson | Times Staff Writer

It's all about finishing, and Auggie Vidovich couldn't.

Neither could Andrew Myers, nor Peyton Sellers. Three times, leaders of the Relocate Here 200 presented by the County of San Bernardino either crashed or spun out of first place.

That opened the door for Mike Duncan to win the NASCAR Grand National West Series race at California Speedway, a 2-hour 47-minute marathon that had eight caution flags and one red flag. Duncan, who came into the race fifth in the series championship, moved from fourth place to first on Lap 98, and there wasn't enough time for him to crash out of the race as the others had.

The two-time series champion passed Jim Inglebright, Brett Thompson and Eric Holmes as he stole a victory.

Duncan, a Bakersfield driver who started 10th, won for the first time in 10 races this season.

Inglebright took second, and Holmes third.

If Vidovich could have avoided misfortune, he might have won by a mile.

The pole-sitter, Vidovich had the most dominant car. He amassed a 15.6-second lead by Lap 41, but was caught between the wall and an out-of-control backmarker.

Myers got involved in a high-speed shoving match with Sellers and spun out of the lead on Lap 76.

Then it was Sellers' turn. He had a lead of 1.003 seconds with seven laps to go, only to blow a tire and hit the wall.

All might have been afterthoughts if not for the bad luck experienced by Vidovich, who will drive for Biagi Brothers Racing in the Busch Series race tonight.

Vidovich had a 15.6-second lead on Lap 41 over Eric Holmes, who started outside the first row. But then came lapped traffic, and Vidovich was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Chris Bristol spun in Turn 2, and drifted from the white line on the inside of the track rearward up the track.

Trailing, Vidovich tried to squeeze between Bristol and the wall, and instead hit both.

It was a poor choice for Vidovich, because the low side of the 50-foot-wide track was wide open. He pitted twice as the crew tried in vain to repair the bodywork, but on Lap 46, he pulled behind the wall and called it a night.

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