Inew Hampshire Notebook:/I Sunday

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LOUDON, N.H. – Rusty Wallace took a hard hit Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway, and it didn’t come from one of the track’s concrete walls or another driver.

Wallace’s Ford blew an engine on the 12th lap, leaving him with a 43rd-place finish. The hit came in the NASCAR Winston Cup points standings. Wallace came to NHIS fourth in the points, 207 behind leaders Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon. He's now sixth, 353 back.

“We broke a motor,” Wallace said. “I don’t know what broke, but it seized up coming off Turn 2. It’s either a rod or a piston or something like that, but it blew big time. It’s a shame because the thing was running great. It handled perfect.”

Wallace started 23rd and was hoping to make up some ground on the Top 3 in points, but instead he’ll have to really scramble if he wants to win his second Winston Cup title this year.

“We’re fourth in the points, and now we’re dropped back about sixth again,” Wallace said. “It’s just tough luck.”

Spencer vs. Nadeau: Jimmy Spencer and Jerry Nadeau, who tangled several races ago at Dover, got together again late in the New England 300.

Nadeau had made a three-wide pass of Spencer and Steve Park into Turn 1 for fourth place with nine laps to go, but Spencer made a move back inside Nadeau down the backstretch.

Spencer’s nose was up to Nadeau’s left-rear quarterpanel, and as Nadeau turned in to Turn 3, the two collided, sending Nadeau backwards into the wall.

“I got hit from behind by one of them cars,” Spencer said. “I jumped up the race track and lost a bunch of spots.

“Jerry Nadeau started to come down, and I was already there. I had the race track, and we just got together. I feel bad for him, but all in all, the Kmart team ran really strong all day.”

But Spencer was interrupted, perhaps by an angry Nadeau.

“Wow, that guy’s mad,” Spencer said.

“I was ahead of Spencer going into 3,” Nadeau said. “He obviously didn’t like that and took me out.”

Crewman Injured: Derek White, a crewman for Jeremy Mayfield’s team, fell off a lift on the team’s hauler and suffered a cut above his ear and possibly some other injuries. The gash was 2-½ inches long on the left side of his head.

White was taken to Concord (N.H.) Hospital for a CAT scan of his head, neck and abdomen. Officials said he had a possible separated left shoulder from the fall off the gate, which was 8-10 feet off the ground.

Tire Troubles: Three drivers hit the wall in Turn 1 before the halfway point after tires went flat, but Goodyear didn’t believe anything was wrong with its tire. Public relations manager Carole Swartz said engineers determined one tire was cut, one was worn by an “aggressive” setup and one was too damaged to determine what was wrong – though the driver, Dave Blaney, said it had been cut.

Johnny Benson brought out the first caution when he bounced off the Turn 1 wall on Lap 60, but Goodyear said that tire went down because it was cut.

“I guess I cut a right-front tire,” Benson said. “I was real surprised – as loose as the car was – that we’d have a problem there. I don’t know if we ran over something or what the deal was.”

Jeremy Mayfield had the same thing happen on Lap 90, and Goodyear found excessive wear caused by what it said was an aggressive setup.

“I was just driving around and it went straight,” Mayfield said. “It’s a weird deal. I started getting a little tight and was sliding around.”

Later, Blaney’s tire went down, and he hit the wall on Lap 125.

“I saw some guys doing it (losing right-front tires),” Blaney said. “I thought it was pretty odd. I don‘t know how or why.”

Goodyear also said it checked tires from other teams and found no problems. Goodyear didn’t test at NHIS.

Hang On, Baby: Ron Hornaday went for a wild ride on Lap 162, nearly turning over on the backstretch. Hornaday was running next to Stacy Compton when Hornaday was squeezed into the wall. Hornaday’s car smacked the wall and got up on two wheels before landing upright and spinning in front of several cars.

Mike Wallace slammed on the brakes to barely miss Hornaday, who ended up in the grass near the entrance of Turn 3.

“Stacy Compton didn’t see me there, and I got into the fence,” Hornaday said. “It’s amazing how the car climbed the wall. I don’t know if the wall is leaned out or what. Usually you can bounce off of it, come back, and you’re all right. But that thing climbed and bent a shock or something in the rear end.”

Four’s a Crowd: Drivers complained that New Hampshire is a one-groove track, and Elliott Sadler, Joe Nemechek, Dave Blaney and Kyle Petty tried to prove that on the fifth lap.

With Nemechek underneath Petty, Sadler tried to make a three-wide move on Nemechek off Turn 4. But Blaney was at the bottom of the track, and they raced four-wide down the frontstretch.

Blaney backed off, and Sadler slammed on his brakes, but there still wasn’t enough space, Sadler bounced into Nemechek, spinning both.

“I thought I was gonna have a little room, but I guess I didn’t,” Sadler said. “I must have run out of room, and I locked up the brakes trying not to hit the 33 and slid into him. It’s my fault. I just thought I had more room.”

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