Formula One
 Tuesday, June 20
Mayfield moves Earnhardt aside on way to win
 Associated Press

Inside Track
  • OK, we all saw the shove. But Mayfield got to Earnhardt's bumper by negotiating his final entry into the Tunnel Turn better than Earnhardt, who may have been more worried about blocking Mayfield than driving into the tricky turn properly. Once Mayfield closed a three-car gap to one car coming out of the Tunnel Turn, he had all the momentum he needed to get on Earnhardt's rear end. And we all know what happened next. Oh, and don't forget about the 12 team's call for four tires on the final stop. NOTHING FOR 'EM
  • It's become an all too familiar pattern for the No. 2. Dominate in Friday qualifying ... look like the car to beat early in the race ... lead a bunch of laps ... then fade away at the finish. Rusty Wallace started on his fifth pole of 2000, led the most laps (107) and appeared to be the dominate car. But while teammate Mayfield got stronger, and stronger, Wallace wasn't around to challenge for win No. 2. He finished 10th.
  • Bobby Labonte didn't threaten to make it three straight wins at Pocono, but he managed to finish 13th after running in the 20s most of the afternoon. His lead was shaved to 57 points by Earnhardt. DJ continued his midseason climb into third, replacing Ward Burton, who slapped the wall with 13 laps remaining.
    1. Bobby Labonte, 2,240
    2. Dale Earnhardt, 2,183
    3. Dale Jarrett, 2,125
    4. Ward Burton, 2,096
    5. Jeff Burton, 2,019
    He may still be searching for win No. 1 with Yates power, but Ricky Rudd posted his fourth top-five finish in the past six races. And this one wasn't easy. With his Taurus' nose bent a little out of shape thanks to a tap with Kenny Irwin when Jimmy Spencer started spinning, Rudd dug his way out of the twentysomethings over the final 70 laps to finish third behind teammate Jarrett.
    A pretty uneventful day for the rookies, which is a good thing considering this was the first look for most at Pocono under race conditions. Matt Kenseth was his steady self, finishing 14th. Dale Jr. came home 19th, while Ed Berrier (28th), Dave Blaney (30th) and Scott Pruett (31st) kept out of trouble for the most part. Stacey Compton and Mike Bliss weren't as fortunate, doing some sheetmetal damage in finishing 33rd and 37th.
  • After a run of five straight races outside the top 10, Mark Martin was back up front at the finish, finishing fifth behind Earnhardt. It was Martin's first top-five finish since he won the Goody's 500 at Martinsville.
  • Results

    LONG POND, Pa. -- This time, The Intimidator was pushed aside on the final lap.

    And racing fans who have seen Dale Earnhardt do that so often to others, stood and cheered Jeremy Mayfield after he won the Pocono 500.

    "I just wanted to rattle his cage a little bit," Mayfield said Monday after a race that had been delayed a day because of rain and fog.

    Those were the words Earnhardt used after the most infamous of his last-lap taps sent a victory-bound Terry Labonte spinning out of the lead last August in Bristol, Tenn.

    "I don't think he can say anything about what happened today," said Mayfield, who says Earnhardt has messed with him many times. "If he comes back and gets me again, we'll come back and get him again."

    Make way for The New Intimidator.

    "We all know he wouldn't have done that if he had been in the car behind," Dale Jarrett said facetiously. "It would be hard for that guy to say anything."

    And Earnhardt did say little about the contact in the fourth turn at Pocono International Raceway, a tap just a quarter-mile before he would taken the checkered flag for his 76th career victory.

    But he drove up alongside Mayfield on the cooldown lap, put his arm out the window and extended a finger.

    "I told him he was No. 1," Earnhardt said of the gesture.

    His car owner, Richard Childress, might not have enjoyed it as much as the crowd, but he summed it up perfectly.

    "He just knocked him out of the way to win," Childress said. "That's just racing. There'll be another day."

    Mayfield said he saw a few thumbs-up signs from crew members of other teams as he rode by on the way to Victory Circle.

    The only thumbs-down expression came from a fan behind the pit wall. He threw a can of beer at Mayfield's Ford, but missed.

    "A lot of other drivers out there weren't taking up for him," Mayfield said of Earnhardt. "If you've watched enough Winston Cup racing you can see why."

    Still, it was profitable day for Earnhardt, who fell to fourth before regaining control of his Chevrolet. He picked up 41 points on series leader Bobby Labonte, and now trails by just 57 in his bid for an unprecedented eighth Winston Cup championship.

    "You don't ever have a win until the checkered flag falls," Earnhardt said. "All in all, it was a good day. We gained some points on Labonte."

    So did series champion Jarrett, whose second-place finish in a Ford left him third in the standings, 115 points behind the leader. Labonte, who won both races last year at Pocono, overcame an early mechanical problem to finish 13th.

    "He has been five- and 10- and 15-pointing us to death," Jarrett said. "Finally, we did gain a few points."

    The win was the third in the career for Mayfield, a 31-year-old driver from Owensboro, Ky., who got his breakthrough victory in this race in 1998.

    Jeremy Mayfield
    Jeremy Mayfield waves to the crowd during a victory lap around Pocono International Raceway.

    The race continued a pattern of ups and downs for Mayfield, whose team has been penalized twice this season for rules violation. He lost 151 points and seven positions in the Winston Cup chase for one violation and his team was fined for another after he won in April in Fontana, Calif.

    Mayfield also challenged eight days ago in Brooklyn, Mich., leading for 85 laps before blowing an engine.

    On Monday, he beat Jarrett by .581 seconds. In third place was Jarrett's teammate, Ricky Rudd.

    Mayfield stalked Earnhardt through the final laps, then hit and nearly spun him out as Earnhardt slowed entering the final turn.

    Jarrett said Earnhardt appeared to slow in the turns, trying to break the momentum of Mayfield. The winner trailed by about three car lengths in the final laps, then closed the last time around.

    Mayfield led just nine of 200 laps. He averaged 139.741 mph in a race slowed for 21 laps by five caution flags. There were 24 lead changes among 11 drivers.

    Pole-sitter Rusty Wallace, who led the most laps -- 107 -- wound up 10th.

    Tony Stewart, seeking his third straight victory, finished sixth in his Pontiac, immediately behind the Ford of Mark Martin.

    This was only the second postponement -- and first in 21 years -- since Pocono began holding NASCAR events in 1974.


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