Bobby Rahal won when he had to, gambling on fuel Sunday and beating Michael Andretti to the checkered flag in the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix in Nazareth, Pa. The victory boosted Rahal, who had lost the top spot by failing to finish the last two races, back into the IndyCar-PPG Cup points lead with only the Oct. 18 race at Monterey, Calif., remaining. His fourth victory of the season _ third on a 1-mile oval _ gave Rahal a 12-point (182-170) lead over defending champion Andretti. Al Unser Jr. finished 11th and slipped to third in the points standings. Emerson Fittipaldi finished three laps down in seventh and fell out of the championship battle. Rahal, the 1986 and 1987 series champion, pitted for the second and last time in the 200-lap race at Pennsylvania International Raceway on Lap 115 during one of four caution periods in the race. He took the lead on Lap 155 during the last of those cautions, when Andretti, who had led most of the way after starting from the pole, made a pit stop _ his third of the race _ to top off his fuel tank. At the end, Andretti's Lola-Ford Cosworth was chasing Rahal's Lola-Chevrolet and simply couldn't catch him in the heavy traffic on the tight oval. Rahal went the last 85 miles on one tank of fuel _ about 15 miles further than expected. He averaged 128.848 mph, leading only the final 44 laps. Andretti led three times for 117 laps.
MORE AUTO RACING: All-day rain postponed the Tyson Holly Farms 400 Sunday at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. The race was rescheduled for 11 a.m. today. Rain drenched the speedway starting before sunrise and continued beyond the scheduled 1 p.m. start time. Alan Kulwicki is on the pole today, with Rusty Wallace in the second position. Robbie Buhl clinched the Firestone Indy Lights series championship, leading wire to wire at Pennsylvania International Raceway in Nazareth. Former Formula One driving champion Denis Hulme of New Zealand died after suffering an apparent heart attack during a 1,000-kilometer endurance race in Bathurst, Australia. He was 56.
BOXING: Tyrone Booze of Clearwater won a 12-round unanimous decision over Ralph Rocchigiani in his first defense of his World Boxing Organization cruiserweight title. The fight was held in Berlin. Light-heavyweight Darin Allen of Clearwater won an eight-round unanimous decision over Andy Marks. Both fighters train at the 4th Street Gym in St. Petersburg.
POWERBOATS: Nineteen-year-old Johnny Travis won the pole in a qualifying heat, then led from start to finish in the featured tunnel boat race of an abbreviated third annual Maxi-Blast Champ Challenge powerboat race in downtown Tampa's Seddon Channel. In capturing the Union of International Motorboating's world championship race for Outboard Performance Craft in the SST 120 class, the teenager from Hammond, La., also wrapped up the American Performance Racing circuit's points title for the 1992 season. Travis defeated Bill Seebold of St. Louis, the winningest tunnel-boat racer in history, by four seconds in the 20-lap final. Jack Withrow of St. Petersburg finished third. Tampa's Kim Jernigan, the only female racer on the circuit, placed sixth.
SOCCER: Diego Maradona returned to competitive soccer for the first time in 18 months and assisted on a goal as Seville lost 2-1 to host Athletic of Bilbao in the Spanish League. Maradona, 31, had not appeared in a formal match since Napoli, his former team, played Internazionale of Milan in the Italian League on March 24, 1991. "It was a very good experience," Maradona said. "But there's always a bad taste in your mouth when you lose."
HORSE RACING: Subotica won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe turf race at Longchamp in Paris, overtaking User Friendly in the final stretch. Vert Amande was third. Favorite Magic Night was boxed in most of the way and finished back in the pack. In an earlier race, Arazi ended a string of disappointments that began in the Kentucky Derby by scoring a four-length victory.
BOWLING: Australian Carol Gianotti led after the first round of the Columbia 300 Delaware Open in Claymont. Gianotti knocked over 1,339 pins in six games, good for a 223 average and an 18-pin lead. Stacy Rider of La Habra, Calif., was second with 1,321 pins, followed by Sharon Todd of Ashland, Ky., with 1,289 pins.
COLLEGES: The University of South Florida beat Stanford 1-0 to win its sixth straight game and capture the Bank of America Classic in Palo Alto, Calif. Mark Chung scored for the Bulls (7-2). The Florida State women's golf team finished fifth in the Duke Fall Invitational in Durham, N.C. Duke and North Carolina were named co-champions after the third round was canceled by rain. The ninth-ranked Florida volleyball team (14-1 overall, 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference) defeated No. 19 Georgia (12-3, 1-1) 15-9, 15-13, 15-8 in Gainesville.
RUNNING: Dick Ruzicka of St. Petersburg won the gold medal in his age division (55059) in the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis. His time was 2 hours, 51 minutes, 18 seconds.
_ Compiled by Chris Kraft