This was more than a win by a lame-duck driver.
Bobby Hamilton's victory Monday in the rain-delayed ACDelco 400 at North Carolina Motor Speedway was an affirmation of friendship and affection between the driver and his soon-to-be ex-car owner, Richard Petty.
Besides the $89,150 he earned Petty Enterprises for the win, Hamilton will pocket an extra $100,000 as the payoff to a one-sided bet with Petty.
"We were at dinner one night," Hamilton said. "Actually, we had just talked about the deal about me leaving and everything. He said, "You need to win me a race before you leave.' I said, "I'm trying.' He said, "I'll bet $100,000 that you won't win another race before the year is up.' I said, "Is this a real bet?' He said, "Yeah, it's a real bet.' We shook hands on it."
Did that mean Hamilton would have had to pay Petty $100,000 if he hadn't won?
"No, that's the great part of it," the driver said.
Hamilton's second career victory came a year to the day after his first win for Petty at Phoenix, also Pontiac's last win.
The race, postponed from Sunday because of rain, featured 20 lead changes among nine drivers, including Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon, two of the three drivers involved in the tight Winston Cup championship battle.
On lap 378, Hamilton drove underneath Ricky Craven's Chevrolet on the back straightaway and took the lead for good. Jarrett passed Craven on the last lap for his fourth straight second-place Rockingham finish.
Gordon finished fourth and increased his Winston Cup lead over Mark Martin to 125 points with two races remaining. Jarrett is third, 145 back of Gordon.
MATCO TOOLS SUPERNATIONALS: Rookie Gary Scelzi all but clinched the NHRA Winston top fuel championship by driving his burning dragster past Larry Dixon for a final-round win at Baytown, Texas.
Scelzi's engine exploded about 600 feet into the race, but he still drove the crippled Team Winston Dragster past Dixon, whose Miller Lite Dragster lost traction about halfway down the quarter-mile at Houston Raceway Park.
Scelzi finished in 5.745 seconds at 202.52 mph for his fifth victory of the season. Dixon trailed at 5.843, 280.72.
Dean Skuza in funny car and Jeg Coughlin Jr. in pro stock won their first pro races at the event.
SCHUMACHER SUMMONED: Michael Schumacher was summoned to appear at a Nov. 11 special meeting of the world auto sports governing body to explain his version of a collision with Jacques Villeneuve at the European Grand Prix.
Schumacher, needing only to finish ahead of rival Villeneuve in Sunday's race to clinch the drivers' title, spun off the track after steering his car into the Canadian's passing Williams Renault. Villeneuve accused the German of trying to take both cars out of the race, which would have given Schumacher the title.