DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) -- Bill Davis didn't believe it, not even as he saw it unfold.
His cars don't win races. They take poles, break track records, even hold leads late in races. But win, no way.
At least not until Ward Burton's dominating run at Darlington Raceway to take the Mall.com 400 on Sunday.
''We've been so close so many times, I purposely didn't get excited,'' Davis, Burton's car owner, remembered. ''These races are so hard to win.''
But no one was going to take this one from Davis and Burton, not even Ward's younger brother, Jeff, who took the checkered flag the three times Ward finished as high as second a year ago.
About the only thing Ward, who owns the track's qualifying record, had to do to keep the Burtons' Darlington win streak alive was stay out of trouble. ''The car was so strong, it was a privilege to ride in it,'' said Ward, who gained his first Winston Cup victory since October 1995 at Rockingham.
He moved past Matt Kenseth 36 laps from the end. He finished 1.4 seconds in front of Dale Jarrett. Dale Earnhardt, a winner last week in Hampton, Ga., was third in a Chevrolet. Tony Stewart finished fourth, just ahead of Jeff Burton, who talked like a proud brother.
''When two members from the same family can win races in Winston Cup, that means an awful lot,'' Jeff said. ''I just feel so good for Ward and those guys.''
''It was almost hard not to get emotional when there were five, six laps to go,'' said Ward Burton. ''I knew if we kept doing what we were doing, we would come through.''
Jeff came to congratulate his older brother, and Ward got on the phone with his parents, who no longer have to tiptoe around Jeff's victories during family gatherings in South Boston, Va.
''I think everyone was relieved a little bit,'' Ward said.
It was the first time a Pontiac won at Darlington since Joe Weatherly took the Rebel 300 in 1963, and only the third time in 94 races that the manufacturer can claim a Darlington victory.
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