Dale Earnhardt emerged from the shadows cast by Jeff Gordon’s early season success to win his first Winston Cup event of the season Sunday, the First Union 400 in North Wilkesboro, N.C.
Gordon has been flexing his young muscles with his Chevrolet Monte Carlo, winning three times in the first six races and taking four poles - including the front spot at the .625-mile North Wilkesboro Speedway. He finished second to Earnhardt.
Earnhardt, who won for the fifth time in 33 starts at North Wilkesboro, had opened up a lead of nearly 7 seconds on Gordon with about 50 laps to go. Earnhardt had little trouble widening it as he closed in on the victory, his first since Rockingham last fall. His margin of victory was 13.48 seconds.
Before Sunday, Winston Cup points leader Earnhardt was second in three races this season. He also had finished third, fourth and 25th.
Gordon had his best non-winning finish this year. He was followed by the Fords of Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace. Steve Grissom was fifth in a Chevrolet.
In Long Beach, Calif., Al Unser Jr. renewed his lease on the downtown street circuit at Long Beach, turning around a disappointing season start with his sixth Toyota Grand Prix victory.
Unser, who has 28 career wins, won for the second straight year and the sixth in the past eight on the 1.59-mile, eight-turn temporary circuit.
As challenger after challenger fell from the race with mechanical problems, Unser was practically on cruise control, beating second-place Scott Pruett by 23.12 seconds, nearly half a lap.
Two straight for Martinez Conchita Martinez capitalized on an overpowering first set to win her second straight tournament 6-1, 6-4 over Gabriela Sabatini in the finals of the Bausch & Lomb championship in Amelia Island, Fla.
Martinez, who a week ago won the Family Circle Magazine Cup at Hilton Head Island, S.C., sent the Argentine star to her third consecutive loss in the Bausch & Lomb finals.
Sabatini, ranked seventh in the world, appeared ready to take the second set when she broke the Spaniard in the eighth game to make it 4-4. But Martinez broke the following game and held serve to win the match after Sabatini’s backhand lob landed in the net.
The second-seeded team of Amanda Coetzer of South Africa and Ines Gorrochategui of Argentina won the doubles championship with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over top-seeded Nicole Arendt of Princeton, N.J., and Manon Bollegraf of the Netherlands.
In Wesley Chapel, Fla., Chris Evert and Olga Morozova beat Martina Navratilova and Francoise Durr 6-4 to win the doubles title at the Virginia Slims Legends Tour.
Then, in a replay of a classic rivalry, Evert took on Navratilova in a singles exhibition. Evert, 40, edged Navratilova 7-6, 5-7, 7-3 in front of a crowd of 3,096 at Saddlebrook Resort, where the first player to reach seven points in a set was the winner.
Jimmy Connors beat Johan Kriek 7-5, 6-3 to win the $150,000 Corel Champions men’s over-35 tournament in Boca Raton, Fla.
Jose-Luis Clerc and Eddie Dibbs beat Roscoe Tanner and Peter Fleming 6-1, 6-2 to capture the doubles championship.
America’s Cup lifts skirts San Diego From whale tails to airplane-like wings, the most intimate secrets of the America’s Cup were publicly exposed.
Young America and Mighty Mary appear to be configured for a balanced performance upwind and downwind. Stars & Stripes seems configured for downwind performance, and oneAustralia for upwind performance.
The three-boat defender finals begin today when Young America sails against Mighty Mary. Stars & Stripes’ first race is Tuesday, also against Young America.
Rodman’s return nearing San Antonio Look for Dennis Rodman to come back from his dislocated shoulder this week, San Antonio Spurs coach Bob Hill said.
The Spurs’ forward, who leads the NBA in rebounding at 17.4 per game, was injured during a motorcycle mishap.
The Spurs are 10-0 without Rodman, who has been sidelined since mid-March.
UM betters defensive line Missoula, Mont.
The University of Montana defensive linemen will be drawing on some NFL experience this season.
Former Miami Dolphin Doug Betters is a restricted earnings coach who will be assisting defensive line coach Kraig Paulson.
Betters is a veteran of two Super Bowls and was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 1983.
He played at Montana in the mid-1970s and transferred to the University of Nevada in Reno for his senior year. He was drafted in 1978 by Miami and spent his entire career there, where he earned allpro honors five times as a part of Miami’s “Killer B’s.”
Betters moved to Missoula last fall to enroll in UM to complete his secondary education degree. He wants to be a teacher and a coach.
Fight mares FA Cup Walsall, England A soccer fan died and another was seriously hurt when followers of rivals Manchester United and Crystal Palace fought in the parking lot outside a pub before a Football Association Cup semifinal.
The dead man, whose identity wasn’t immediately released, was thought to be a fan of Crystal Palace.
The brawl occurred a few miles from Villa Park in Birmingham, where the teams played to a 2-2 tie before 38,000.
Both men were taken to Walsall Manor Hospital along with two other fans who had less serious injuries. One was pronounced dead on arrival.
Fight turns deadly Las Vegas A gunman shot to death an acquaintance in front of Caesars Palace before the Oliver McCall-Larry Holmes boxing match and then did a “victory dance” over the victim, police said.
The shooting occurred several hours before the heavyweight fight.
A 45-year-old Las Vegas man was booked for investigation of murder. The victim, also 45, was from the San Francisco Bay Area. Their names were not immediately released.
The two men had just left the casino when one pulled out a handgun and shot the other in the head, police said.
The gunman fired at least six shots, put the gun in the victim’s hand and began to dance around him, witnesses said.
Final Four down to five Five cities, including two in California, have been named finalists to host the NCAA Women’s Final Four in 1999 and 2000.
Included are Sacramento, Calif., with Arco Arena as host; San Jose, Calif., with Stanford University as host; Orlando, Fla., with Stetson University as host; and Philadelphia, with St. Joseph’s University and the University of Pennsylvania as hosts. The city of Atlanta and the Georgia Institute of Technology, which played host to the 1993 Women’s Final Four, will also be invited to make a presentation.
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