BUSCH: Rockingham race story

Thanks to: MotorSports PhotoSource OnLine News Service MARTIN GETS WIN, RECORD; LAJOIE GETS SECOND TITLE ------------------------------------------------- Staff Report ------------------------------------------------- ROCKINGHAM, N.C....

Thanks to: MotorSports PhotoSource OnLine News Service


------------------------------------------------- Staff Report -------------------------------------------------

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (MSPS) - Mark Martin became the winningest driver in the history of the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series with his victory in Saturday's ACDelco 200 at North Carolina Motor Speedway.

And Randy LaJoie successfully defended his 1996 series championship to become the first back-to-back titlest since Larry Pearson in 1986-87.

Martin took the lead from Ricky Craven with less than 13 laps to go in the 197-lap contest and cruised to his 32nd win, breaking a tie he had held with Jack Ingram for a good part of the season.

Martin's win was his sixth in the series this season and fourth straight at the Rockingham track.

Dick Trickle finished second after he, too, got around Craven, 1.747-seconds behind Martin. Craven held on to finish third.

LaJoie entered the race with a comanding 200-point lead over Todd Bodine with this and one other race remaining in the 1997 season. Bodine was involved in a crash while running in second place on the 157th lap that knocked him back to a 34th-place finish.

Meanwhile, LaJoie's 20th-place finish was good enough to secure the championship from Bodine. It is the third straight year that the team run by Bill Baumgardner has won the title - Johnny Benson, Jr., was the champion in 1995 driving for him.

The top ten finishers in Saturday's ACDelco 200 were:

 1.  Mark Martin                              197 laps
 2.  Dick Trickle                               197
 3.  Ricky Craven                             197
 4.  Jeff Burton                                 197
 5.  Hermie Sadler                            197
 6.  Steve Park                                 197
 7.  Mike McLaughlin                        197
 8.  Mark Green                               197
 9.  Tony Stewart                             197
10. Robert Pressley                         197


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Drivers Jeff Burton , Tony Stewart , Dick Trickle , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Robert Pressley , Johnny Benson , Mike McLaughlin , Ricky Craven , Mark Green , Hermie Sadler , Mark Martin