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Skinner Wins Japan NASCAR Race

November 22, 1998

MOTEGI, Japan (AP) _ Mike Skinner outdueled Jeff Gordon in the final corner Sunday to win his second straight NASCAR exhibition race in Japan.

Skinner took the lead on the 140th lap of the 201-lap NASCAR Thunder Special Coca-Cola 500 and won by 0.153 seconds.

He had an unofficial time of 2 hours, 45 minutes, 58.000 seconds, averaging 112.558 mph in his Monte Carlo Chevrolet.

Organizers, unable to provide official times because of computer problems, gave only Skinner’s winning margin over Gordon, who also drove a Chevrolet. Jeremy Mayfield was third in a Taurus Ford.

Skinner won $134,045 from a purse of $1 million.

This was the third and last race in a three-year series held under a contract with Japanese organizers to promote stock-car racing worldwide.

Rusty Wallace won in 1996 at the Suzuka Circuitland road course, and Skinner won last year, also at Suzuka.

This year, the field of 31 included 13 Winston Cup stars, 11 Winston Cup West competitors, four Japanese, two Busch Grand drivers and one from the Craftsman Truck Series.

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