BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Rusty Wallace won his second straight International Race of Champions yesterday and moved into the series lead, after he and fellow stock car driver Bill Elliott collaborated to dominate the race.
There were six different leaders in the first 21 laps of the 50-lap, 100-mile all-star sprint on Michigan International Speedway's 2-mile, high-banked oval. That included Wallace, who started ninth in the 11-car field and led laps 12 through 20 before Elliott managed to get to the front.
But Wallace regained the lead on lap 23 and led the rest of the way with Elliott, who has finished second in all three IROC events this year, dogging his rear bumper.
Those two drafted close together, with never more than two-tenths of a second -- the final margin -- of separation. That moved them away from the rest of the identically prepared Dodge IROC race cars.
"Bill drafted with me real good, and we were able to pull away from Al Unser Jr.," Wallace said. "He did the same thing with me at Talladega in May and we ran one-two-there, too.
"The biggest thing was just to be patient and stay in line. That's easy to do when you're leading the race, he said.
1. (9) Rusty Wallace, Concord, N.C., NASCAR stock car, 50, 26, 158.744. 2. (10) Bill Elliott, Dawsonville, Ga., NASCAR stock car, 50, 17. 3. (6) Al Unser Jr., Albuquerque, N.M., CART Indy-car, 50, 14. 4. (8) Mark Martin, Jamestown, N.C., NASCAR stock car, 50, 15. 5. (5) Geoff Bodine, Julian, N.C., NASCAR stock car, 50, 12. 6. (11) Scott Pruett, Dublin, Ohio, CART Indy-car, 50, 9. 7. (7) Al Unser, Albuquerque, N.M., CART Indy-car, 50, 8. 8. (3) Bob Wollek, France, IMSA GTP sports car, 50, 7. 9. (1) Dale Earnhardt, Doolie, N.C., NASCAR stock car, 50, 6. 10. (4) Geoff Brabham, Australia, IMSA GTP sports car, 50, 5. 11. (2) Dorsey Schroeder, Ballwin, Mo., IMSA GTO sports car, 50, 4. 12. Tommy Kendall, LaCanada, Calif., SCCA Trans-Am, did not run due to race injuries, 3.
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- The smallest field ever for a 500-mile race will take the green flag for today's Marlboro 500, although the 21 cars could easily make up in speed what they lack in numbers.
Starting with record-setting pole-winner Rick Mears at 225.169 mph and running all the way to the slowest qualifier, Canadian John Jones at 200.198, the lineup is one of the fastest in history.
In the field are 14 drivers who qualified at speeds faster than 220 mph, including two of yesterday's qualifiers, Arie Luyendyk, 222.910, and A.J. Foyt, 222.224.
The already small field was made smaller yet when Jon Beekhuis crashed hard in practice yesterday morning.
Beekhuis, 31, from Salinas, Calif., was briefly knocked unconscious in the hard hit between turns three and four on the 2-mile, high-banked oval. But, after being treated for a broken right hand and a badly bruised right thigh, and being put through a CT scan, he was released from W.A. Foote Memorial Hospital in Jackson.
The 21 starters for the 500-miler breaks the previous record of 22 set in the 1924 Indianapolis 500 and equaled in 1925. The 1916 Indy also had 21 starters, but records show that race was scheduled as a 300-miler.
A combination of economic hard times, a related shortage of sponsors and inequities in the rules have combined to make this the smallest 500-mile field since 25 cars started the 1979 race at Pocono International Speedway, which Foyt won.
1. Rick Mears, Bakersfield, Calif., Penske-Chevrolet, 225.169 (breaks own record of 224.301 set in 1986). 2. Emerson Fittipaldi, Brazil, Penske-Chevrolet, 224.904. 3. Mario Andretti, Nazareth, Pa., Lola-Chevrolet, 224.166. 4. Bobby Rahal, Dublin, Ohio, Lola-Chevrolet, 224.122. 5. Michael Andretti, Nazareth, Pa., Lola-Chevrolet, 223.840. 6. John Andretti, Indianapolis, Lola-Chevrolet, 223.655. 7. Tony Bettenhausen, Indianapolis, 1990 Penske-Chevrolet, 222.681. 8. Paul Tracy, Canada, 1990 Penske-Chevrolet, 222.509. 9. Hiro Matsushita, Japan, Lola-Cosworth, 222.429. 10. Scott Brayton, Coldwater, Mich., Lola-Chevrolet, 222.400.
11. Al Unser Jr., Albuquerque, N.M., Lola-Chevrolet, 221.875. 12. Scott Pruett, Dublin, Ohio, Truesports-Judd, 220.464. 13. Eddie Cheever, Aspen, Colo., Lola-Chevrolet, 219.413. 14. Pancho Carter, Brownsburg, Ind., 1990 Lola-Cosworth, 218.989. 15. Scott Goodyear, Canada, Lola-Judd, 218.915. 16. Jeff Andretti, Nazareth, Pa., Lola-Cosworth, 217.809. 17. Danny Sullivan, Aspen, Colo., Lola-Alfa Romeo, 217.586. 18. Randy Lewis, Hillsborough, Calif., 1990 Lola-Cosworth, 214.383. 19. John Jones, Canada, 1989 Lola-Buick, 200.198. 20. Arie Luyendyk, Netherlands, Lola-Chevrolet, 222.910. 21. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Lola-Chevrolet, 222.224.