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Marlin still leads Winston Cup pack

Despite Jeff Gordon's win Saturday, Sterling Marlin remained atop the NASCAR Winston Cup points standings.

Marlin, who entered the race with a six-point lead over Dale Earnhardt and finished second in the race, stretched that advantage slightly with 2,200 points on the season.

Gordon, who was third in the points, moved up to second with 2,193. The third-place finishing Earnhardt drops to third with 2,184.

Ted Musgrave stayed in fourth (2,090) and teammate Mark Martin remained fifth (2,059).

Gordon leads the series money list with $1,416,800.

"We're not battling for the points race," Gordon said. "We just look at ourselves as a team that has won four races and seven poles. We just try and get the best finish and the points come with that."

Jarrett runs into more bad luck

Dale Jarrett, looking to rebound from a troublesome first half of the season, ran into more bad luck. After qualifying seventh and then running as high as sixth, his No. 28 Ford Thunderbird blew an engine after 38 laps, leaving him to finish 42nd in the 43-car field.

Elliott charges through the field

Bill Elliott made a spirited run after starting at the rear of the field. He quickly made his way through traffic and reached third place at the halfway point.

He slipped during a round of pit stops soon after, but managed to come home in 10th. It was his second top-10 finish in the past three races.

"We got that pit stop at about 92 laps and after that the car just got so loose all of a sudden. I don't know why," Elliott said. "Everybody got to handling so bad the first part of the race, I was able to make up a bunch of spots because I could run wide open. That was the only thing that saved us."

The Chevy Monte Carlo continues to dominate. Gordon's win gives the car brand 12 victories in 15 races this season.

Chevy leads the manufacturers race with 126 points.

Daytona still Nemechek's nemesis

Superspeedways like Daytona haven't been kind to Lakeland's Joe Nemechek. He developed mechanical problems, saddling him with a 38th-place finish.

He failed to qualify at Talladega in April, and he finished last at the season-opening Daytona 500, crashing after just eight laps.

"We've really been struggling to figure out the step up for restrictor-plate races," he said. "We still had a good day. All we wanted was to finish and not tear up anything."

Spencer might make it after all

Jimmy Spencer returned to the site of his first Winston Cup victory and showed signs of salvaging his season.

Spencer finished ninth, equaling his best finish of the year at the track where he failed to even qualify in February.

"We ran pretty good all day," the man dubbed "Mr. Excitement" said. "I felt we had a top-five car, and that caution at the end (with three laps to go) hurt us."

The bonus just keeps on growing

The Unocal 76 Bonus continues to grow after Earnhardt didn't win from the pole. The fund climbs to $106,400, which awaits the next driver to win from the pole. The series moves to Loudon, N. H., for next Sunday's Slick 50 300.

_ DARRELL FRY, TIMES WIRES

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