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Jeff Fuller Gets First Busch Series Win

August 24, 1996

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) _ Jeff Fuller held off Dale Jarrett for the last 61 laps in Friday night’s Food City 250 and came up with his first Busch Grand National stock car victory.

That capped an exciting 24 hours for Fuller, whose wife gave birth Thursday evening to their third child, a daughter. The 39-year-old former modified tour champion from Auburn, Mass., then earned his first Busch pole Friday afternoon before winning in his 46th BGN start a few hours later.

``It’s about damn time!″ Fuller shouted. ``It’s been a very trying year and I’m glad this finally happened.

``We developed a skip (in the motor) with 23 laps to go and I kind of had to block Dale, which came out all right, I guess,″ the winner added.

Fuller led the first 82 laps before falling back into the pack. He regained the top spot on lap 188 when Terry Labonte punctured a tire and had to pit while leading during one of the 10 caution periods in the 250-lap race.

Jarrett, like Labonte a star in NASCAR’s Winston Cup division and only a part-time driver in the Busch series, gave chase to Fuller’s Chevrolet but came up 0.22 seconds short, or about two car-lengths.

Jarrett’s best run at Fuller came on the back straightaway of the .533-mile concrete oval on lap 249. Jarrett drove his Ford to the low side of the banked track and pulled alongside the leader, but Fuller forced Jarrett’s car onto the asphalt apron and he had to back off to keep from spinning.

``He did what he had to do and I’m not upset,″ said Jarrett, who congratulated Fuller in the garage area.

Fuller, who won $26,155, averaged 74.603 mph.

Phil Parsons finished third, followed by Jimmy Spencer and Michael Waltrip.

Series points leader David Green took a big step toward a second Busch championship by finishing 11th as Randy LaJoie, his closest pursuer wound up 29th. LaJoie was put out of the race by a freak accident in which a tire flew off Ricky Craven’s crashing car and wedged itself under the front of LaJoie’s Chevy, causing considerable damage.

Green, who came into the race with a 41-point lead, now is in front of LaJoie by 95 with six of 26 races remaining.

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