If history is guide, Allison is in driver's seat for title

THE BALTIMORE SUN

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Six drivers -- Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, Bill Elliott, Harry Gant, Kyle Petty and Mark Martin -- have a chance to win the Winston Cup championship today. That's three more than ever going into the last race of the season.

Having so many to chose from makes it harder to figure out who will win the race and who will win the championship. It's a very iffy thing.

"I never gamble," said Kulwicki, who is 30 points behind points leader Allison and 10 points ahead of third-place Elliott. "I'd never make a bet on this."

When trying to figure out who is going to win the race and the title in the Hooters 500, here are a few things to keep in mind:

* Of 43 previous champions, 42 were leading the points race going into the last race of the season.

Only Richard Petty, who is retiring after today's race, has been able to overcome a deficit in the final race and win. He went into the final race in 1979 trailing Darrell Waltrip by two points and won the title by 11.

* Going into the last race of the season, only nine times has the race winner come from outside the top 10 qualifiers. In today's race, all six challengers qualified outside the top 10, with Elliott's 11th-place start the best of the lot.

* When Kyle Petty was asked what kind of realistic chance he, Gant and Martin have at winning the title, he asked, "How many times have Elliott, Allison and Kulwicki had trouble the same day?"

The answer: One or another of the top three has finished in the top five in 23 of 28 races. One or the other has been in the top 10 25 times. That means only three times this season has anyone of them not finished in the top 10.

"Our only hope is that they all crash on the first lap, and then it's no guarantee," said Petty.

Standing on it

Richard Petty, 31st fastest in qualifying Friday, stood on his time yesterday and barely made the field. Petty will start 39th in the 40-car lineup for the last race of his career.

1. Rick Mast, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 180.183 (breaks track qualifying record of 179.499 by Rusty Wallace in November 1988). 2. Brett Bodine, Ford Thunderbird, 179.900. 3. Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet Lumina, 179.664. 4. Mark Martin, Ford Thunderbird, 179.622. 5. Ernie Irvan, Chevrolet Lumina, 179.481. 6. Terry Labonte, Chevrolet Lumina, 179.387. 7. Dick Trickle, Ford Thunderbird, 179.346. 8. Geoff Bodine, Ford Thunderbird, 179.270. 9. Morgan Shepherd, Ford Thunderbird, 179.258. 10. Derrike Cope, Chevrolet Lumina, 179.053.

11. Bill Elliott, Ford Thunderbird, 178.977. 12. Sterlin Marlin, Ford Thunderbird, 178.883. 13. Lake Speed, Chevrolet Lumina, 178.802. 14. Alan Kulwicki, Ford Thunderbird, 178.743. 15. Rusty Wallace, Pontiac Grand Prix, 178.586. 16. Ricky Rudd, Chevrolet Lumina, 178.423. 17. Davey Allison, Ford Thunderbird, 178.400. 18. Jimmy Spencer, Chevrolet Lumina, 177.937. 19. Hut Stricklin, Ford Thunderbird, 177.786. 20. Kyle Petty, Pontiac Grand Prix, 177.735.

21. Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet Lumina, 177.735. 22. Ted Musgrave, Chevrolet Lumina, 177.677. 23. Ken Schrader, Chevrolet Lumina, 24. Darrell Waltrip, Chevrolet Lumina, 177.602. 25. Michael Waltrip, Pontiac Grand Prix, 177.596. 26. Rich Bickle, Ford Thunderbird, 177.343. 27. Bobby Hamilton, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 177.154. 28. Bob Schacht, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 176.823. Harry Gant, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 176.657. 30. Wally Dallenbach Jr., Ford Thunderbird, 176.646.

31. Bobby Hillin Jr., Ford Thunderbird, 176.339. 32. Dale Jarrett, Chevrolet Lumina, 176.327. 33. Stanley Smith, Chevrolet Lumina, 34. Jimmy Hensley, Ford Thunderbird, 176.140. 35. Chad Little, Ford Thunderbird, 175.751. 36. Jimmy Horton, Chevrolet Lumina, 175.734. 37. Jimmy Means, Pontiac Grand Prix, 175.565. 38. Mike Wallace, Ford Thunderbird, 175.424. 39. Richard Petty, Pontiac Grand Prix, 175.318. 40. Eddie Bierschwale, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 175.284. 41. Dave Marcis, Chevrolet Lumina, no speed, provisional starter.

Motorcraft 500k

Loy Allen Jr. won his first Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) race yesterday, and Bobby Bowsher, who finished 10th two-laps down, won the ARCA championship.

Allen, 26, avoided 10 crashes to average 114.9 mph for a one

car-length victory over Tim Fedewa.

1. (15) Loy Allen Jr., Ford Thunderbird, 204, $16,750, 114.948. 2. (16) Tim Fedewa, Ford Thunderbird, 204, $10,125. 3. (9) Bob Keselowski, Chrysler LeBaron, 204, $6,975. 4. (21) Jeff Purvis, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 204, $4,725. 5. (1) Mike Wallace, Pontiac Grand Prix, 204, $4,650. 6. (23) Frank Kimmel, Pontiac Grand Prix, 203, $3,425. 7. (28) Charlie Glotzbach, Chevrolet Lumina, 203, $3,100. 8. (12) Alan Russell, Pontiac Grand Prix, 203, $2,800. 9. (25) Jeff McClure, Chevrolet Lumina, 202, $2,700. 10. (8) Bobby Bowsher, Ford Thunderbird, 202, $3,150.

11. (24) Dennis Setzer, Ford Thunderbird, 201, $2,200. 12. (40) Ritchie Petty, Pontiac Grand Prix, 201, $2,100. 13. (7) Bob Brevak, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 200, $2,400. 14. (33) David Simko, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 195, $1,950. 15. (35) Clay Young, Pontiac Grand Prix, 188, $1,900. 16. (32) Tom Lorenz, Chevrolet Lumina, 186, $1,850. 17. (17) H.B. Bailey, Pontiac Grand Prix, 166, engine failure, $1,800. 18. (3) Bill Venturini, Chevrolet Lumina, 146, electrical, $2,400. 19. (41) Roy Payne, Chevrolet Lumina, 140, engine failure, $2,250. 20. (18) Steve Perry, Chevrolet Lumina, 135, crash, $1,750.

21. (30) Bob Dotter, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 131, crash, $2,000. 22. (20) Mike Wren, Buick Regal, 126, crash, $1,550. 23. (11) Mickey Gibbs, Ford Thunderbird, 125, crash, $1,500. 24. (38) Johnny Chapman, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 115, engine failure, $1,450. 25. (19) Bob Schacht, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 105, engine failure, $1,400. 26. (37) Jerry Knowles, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 103, clutch, $1,350. 27. (14) Kerry Teague, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 102, engine failure, $1,250. 28. (29) Andy Stone, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 95, head gasket, $1,200. 29. (22) Craig Rubright, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 92, handling, $1,150. 30. (31) Gary Tootle, Chevrolet Lumina, 91, suspension, $1,100.

31. (4) Jerry O'Neil, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 85, crash, $1,000. 32. (34) Billy Bigley Jr., Chevrolet Lumina, 78, crash, $900. 33. (2) Randy Baker, Chevrolet Lumina, 77, engine failure, $800. 34. (36) Rhett Vandiver, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 75, clutch, $775. 35. (27) Kenny Allen, Chevrolet Lumina, 57, rear end, $750. 36. (42) Ben Hess, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 52, engine failure, $1,125. 37. (13) Mike Skinner, Chevrolet Lumina, 48, crash, $700. 38. (10) Billy Thomas, Pontiac Grand Prix, 35, vibration, $650. 39. (5) Rich Bickle, Chevrolet Lumina, 22, crash, $625. 40. (6) Jerry Mayfield, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 22, crash, $600. 41. (26) Joe Niemiroski, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 9, handling, $600. 42. (39) Glenn Brewer, Buick Regal, 6, oil pressure, $1,050.

Time of race: 2:42:04. Margin of victory: 1 car-length. Caution flags: 10 for 50 laps. Lead changes: 11 among 7 drivers. Lap leaders: Wallace 1-48; Bowsher 49-53; Gibbs 54-55; Wallace 56-90; McClure 91-109; Wallace 110-127; McClure 128-140; Wallace 141-146; Glotzbach 147-160; Purvis 161-169; Glotzbach 170-181; L.Allen 182-204. Point leaders: Bowsher 5,670 (clinches championship); Keselowski 5,635.

Kingly gift

Five-time and defending Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt gave seven-time champ Richard Petty a Dale Earnhardt knife set. The set was No. 43 of 1,000 and includes five knives, one for each of Earnhardt's five titles, plus a large Bowie knife. Petty is a knife collector.

Winston Cup points

0

Driver .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Points

Davey Allison .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 3928

Alan Kulwicki .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 3898

Bill Elliott .. .. .. .. .. ... .. .. .. . 3888

Harry Gant .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 3831

Kyle Petty .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 3830

Mark Martin .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... 3815

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