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WALLACE CAPTURES THRILLER OVER EARNHARDT

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Despite confusion and chaos, Sunday's UAW-GM Teamwork 500 came down to one lap matching Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt wheel-to-wheel.

Wallace won, capturing the race at Pocono International Raceway by passing Earnhardt three turns from the end and holding off the defending Winston Cup champion in a dash to the finish.Wallace nearly ran off with the race, leading 141 of the 200 laps and building a margin of more than 21 seconds over Earnhardt before the last of five caution flags - waving just seven laps from the end - ignited the chaotic and near-disastrous finish.

The key to Wallace's second straight victory and the 35th of his career was the move he made to get around Earnhardt on the restart with one lap remaining on the 2.5-mile, tri-oval.

"All I know is Dale's an absolute expert on short sprints, one or two or three laps, whatever it takes to win the race," said Wallace, who lost the lead when Earnhardt's crew gambled on a two-tire change on the final pit stop.

"We have an overdrive transmission that's different than what a lot of the other teams use," Wallace explained after beating Earnhardt by 0.28 seconds - about two car-lengths. "Ours has four gears; one of them's an overdrive and I can't use that. One of the gears is real low and the second one is real high.

"I don't know what happened, but when Dale took off, his car didn't go nowhere. I got up alongside him and I had four sticker (new) tires and I thought maybe I could get around him, and it turned out that way."

Richard Childress, owner of Earnhardt's team, said, "We figured that (two-tire change) was the best shot we had to win the race, so that's what we did. If we could have got a good restart, we would have been OK on those two new tires for one lap. Dale just couldn't get it wound up on the restart. The car bogged down on him and that's how Rusty got up there and passed us. The tires were not a factor. We would have been pretty good for two or three laps."