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Brickyard Report: Strategy Helps Rudd to Brickyard 400 Win

2 August 1997

For Immediate Release

INDIANAPOLIS, August 2, 1997 -- Ricky Rudd gambled by staying out when
other leaders made late "splash-and-go" fuel stops and held back Bobby
Labonte to capture the fourth running of the Brickyard 400 NASCAR
Winston Cup race Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Rudd had led for only a lap earlier in the race when leaders Dale
Jarrett and Jeff Gordon came to pit road for five-second fuel
stops. He then survived a restart with three laps to go to take the
victory as Jarrett and Gordon charged frantically back to take third
and fourth place, respectively.

For the win, Rudd got $571,000 in posted awards. Labonte got $242,275
for second, Jarrett collected $223,900 for third and Gordon got
$223,675 for fourth.

Rudd s margin of victory over Labonte was .183 of a second, a
Brickyard 400 record. The previous mark was .37 of a second in 1995,
when Dale Earnhardt beat Rusty Wallace to the line.

"Unbelievable," Rudd said. "It's hard to put it in words. I've won 17
or 18 Winston Cup races but this race here, it's incredible. As a kid,
I ran go-karts just down the road. I dreamed of racing here but I
thought it'd been in an Indy car. I never dreamed I'd be in a stock
car. Then, you're doing a victory lap in a convertible around this
place. It's incredible."

There were 19 lead changes among 11 drivers, led by pole winner Ernie
Irvan, who led a Brickyard 400 record 39 laps at the opening of the

Gordon continues to lead the Winston Cup standings with 2,834 points,
followed by Mark Martin with 2,755, Jarrett with 2,687 and Terry
Labonte, who bowed out Saturday in 40th place after engine problems,
with 2,603.

Five drivers led the Brickyard 400 for the first time -- Jeff Burton,
Wally Dallenbach Jr., Mike Skinner, Jimmy Spencer and Ricky Craven,
the latter coming from 41st starting position to take the point.

Twenty-three cars finished on the lead lap, breaking the event record
of 21 set in 1996. Bill Elliott and Ken Schrader continued their
streaks of completing every lap of all four Brickyard 400s to
date. Elliott finished eighth and Schrader wound up 11th.

Gordon is now the only driver to lead all four Brickyard 400s, Elliott
and Dale Earnhardt failing to lead for the first time.

Although four accidents occurred during the race, only Rich Bickle was
transported to Methodist Hospital. Bickle was awake and alert and
complaining of back pain.

Rudd averaged 130.828 over the 400-mile distance. Irvan had the race s
fastest leading lap at 172.506 on Lap 22.