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Earnhardt snatches victory at the end

Dale Earnhardt shot from third to first on the last lap Friday to narrowly win the first leg of the International Race of Champions at Daytona International Speedway.

It was Earnhardt's third IROC win and "one of the best IROC races I've ever competed in," he said.

Close behind Ricky Rudd and Harry Gant coming out of Turn 4 and heading for the checkered flag, Gant pulled even with Rudd. Earnhardt swung below Gant to form a three-wide dash to the line.

Boosted by his momentum in pulling alongside the other two NASCAR drivers, Earnhardt edged them by half a car length at the finish.

Rudd and Gant finished in a dead heat and were both awarded second place.

"I started blending (to the track's low side) and it was really a surprise that it worked out that way," Earnhardt said. "It was just seat-of-my-britches type driving."

Earnhardt leads the IROC standings with 24 points. The event matches stars from road racing, Indy car racing and NASCAR. The series moves to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for the second of its four races, May

2, during the Winston 500 weekend.

Bush leads Florida

Dash start to finish

Maxie Bush started up front in the Florida 200 Dash series race and stayed there, cruising to the checkered flag at about 85 mph because of a caution period at the end.

Bush collected $7,500 for winning the 80-lap race.

Will Hobgood was second and Kevin Brookshire was third.

"I can't believe it," Bush said. "I've been praying to the Lord to win Daytona. Now, I can't believe I've won the race. We've been working all week toward this."

Iowa woman to test

Goody's 300 field

Shawna Robinson of Des Moines, Iowa, is the only female driver in today's Goody's 300 Busch Grand National field.

It's a big step for Robinson, a rookie who has never driven a Grand National series car at such a big track.

"We're a little disappointed at our qualifying position (39th in a 44-car field), but we're lucky we got in," Robinson said. "I haven't done much drafting so I'd liked to get hooked up with some veterans and try to go with them."

Drivers concerned

about more crashes

After Thursday's crash-filled Twin 125 qualifying race that knocked 10 cars out of action, several drivers expressed concern Friday about the potential for disaster in today's Goody's 300 and Sunday's Daytona 500. (Starting lineup, 9C.)

"Hopefully, everybody will keep their heads because (accidents) are expensive and nobody gets anything out of them," said Busch Grand National driver Todd Bodine, brother of Winston Cup drivers Geoff and Brett. "Hopefully, (Thursday's accidents) put some fear into some people."

Added Winston Cup driver Harry Gant: "When you see a big pack of cars, you know the smoke is going to boil. Whenever you run here you know it's going to happen.

"I don't start races at Charlotte or Atlanta or Michigan thinking that. But when I come here, I do."

Today's race

What: Goody's 300 Busch Grand National series race.

Defending champion: Dale Earnhardt.

Pole sitter: Michael Waltrip.

Notes: This is the series just below the Winston Cup series, although several Winston Cup drivers are competing, such as Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Davey Allison, Ernie Irvan and Earnhardt, who is going for his third consecutive Goody's title.

Remaining schedule: Sunday _ Daytona 500, 12:15 p.m.

Tickets: Call 904-253-7223.

_ DARRELL FRY

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