The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on April 15, 1996 · Page 23
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 23

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Monday, April 15, 1996
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ClASSXOAK Pages 6-14 MONDAY, APRIL 15, 1996 The Indianapolis Star m mLm- Pacers look to regroup Pierce may replace injured Miller tonight i aeainst unariotte. By Tom Rietmann STAFF WRITER The news hit the Indiana Pacers like a thunderbolt Sunday. They'll be without Reggie Miller, their Injured All-Star guard, at least three weeks. The burning question now: Can the Pacers, one of the hottest teams In the NBA, continue to play the frenetic and Intense basketball that has carried them to a five-game winning streak? "Because It's Reggie out, be- Hornets at Pacers WHERE: Market Square Arena WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today TV: Pacers cable RADIO: WIBC-1070 AM, WQFE-101.9FM cause It's a guy who's so talented and our No. 1 guy, It's going to be harder," said Pacers forward Antonio Davis. "But 1 really believe everybody is going to step up. It's going to be a thing where united we stand, divided we fall." Davis paused. "I hope fans don't think we have our heads down," said Indiana's valuable sixth man. "I think it's Just the opposite." Tonight, when the Charlotte Hornets visit Market Square Arena, the Pacers will open with somebody other than Miller possibly Ricky Pierce at shooting guard. With one Indiana victory, or one New York loss, the Pacers (49-29) clinch the No. 3 spot In the Eastern Conference. Miller went Into Saturday's game against Detroit with a 26-polnt average over his last four games and scored 12 in the first 11 minutes against the Pistons. Late in the first quarter, Miller collided with Detroit's Otis Thorpe during a loose-ball scramble. Though no foul was called, the force of the blow caused Miller's head to snap back and he crumbled to the floor. He never lost consciousness but suffered what X-rays later revealed to be a fracture to the bone surrounding his right eye. Miller underwent surgery Sunday night at St. Vincent Hospital. The operation, according to Dr. Sanford Kunkel, the team's physician, will keep Miller out at least three weeks. When he returns, Miller will have to wear protective goggles. The three-week time frame means he will miss at least the first week of the playoffs. "You don't make up for Reggie .Miller's absence," said Pacers president Donnie Walsh. "However, we have some really good basketball players, some very proud basketball players. I think they'll come together and bond and try to make up for that loss." See PACERS Page 2 5321 J NBA Atlanta 99 ..New, Jersey 90 Chariotte 94 Fiiadelphia 78 Washington WJoronto 97 Chicago 98 Cleveland 72 Portland 81 Vancouver 79 Denver 98 Minnesota 91 LA. Lakers TB Phoenix 114 Milwaukee ' TMjMando 101 Detroit 101 ...Bon 96 Sacramento 101 LACiippera 96 AMERICAN LEAGUE Cleveland 7. ..Boston 6 Seattle ' .?.....l9.rni9. t Detroit 5 Caiifomja 4 Minnesota L..!!? 1 !M!IZI!"i'Ii!i?IIl"..' ? Milwaukee 5....sas.ciiy! ? Ctekland JL.$!!??9. 5 NATIONAL LEAGUE ' anclnnati MmHoudon M Pittsburgh '....fl!!??! ?. St Louis 6 FWiadefphia 6 Chicago 8 San Francisco 2 Lob Angeles L.jM'?3. AMante ..!Z"ZZ.'?P..? ? !lYZrZZIi?Z!!Zl.ZZZ AMERICAN ASSOCIATION Indians 6 Louisville 4 4 1 ' W v , "',".4 a. HAT TRICK FOR GREEN JACKETS: Nick Faldo celebrates his putting out on the 18th hole. Yasser rides good fortune to third victory For Johnstone, life's a (second at Long) Beach Robin Miller LONG BEACH, Calif. The biggest tragedy facing race fans this May will be the absence of IndyCar racing's top teams. But a close second In the downer column? Nobody In Indianapolis will get to know Parker Johnstone. Johnstone, who finished an impressive second here Sunday in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, is more than a breath of fresh air In the often-stale CART camp. He's a wind tunnel. Johnstone's self-deprecating, honest, hilarious, introspective, enthusiastic observations on his fast-paced Job almost overshadow the fact he's a pretty fair race driver. ' "I read in the Long Beach paper I was really funny, but not fast." said Johnstone, breaking into a smile. 'That stuck In my craw all weekend." The 35-year-old veteran from Redmond, Ore., had the media, winner Jimmy Vasser and third-place Al Unser Jr. howling following the finest performance of his 17-race CART career. But nobody was laughing at Johnstone's drive. "I put as much pressure on this guy as I could the last 20 laps but he made no mistakes," said Unser, a six-time Long Beach victor. To which Parker responded, "I had the Emperor of Long Beach breathing down my neck and a Honda in front of me and I was thinking, 'Oh, this Is good.' ' "I hadn't gotten into a rhythm like that in ages and it makes you remember why this stuff is so addictive." Starting sixth in the Motorola '96 ReynardHonda, Johnstone dodged debris, stayed away from Long Beach's concrete maze and only had one run-In with another driver. "Paul Tracy and I got Into a disagreement over some territory early In the race but It wasn't as wild as 1 expected. I figured Robby (Gordon) and Paul would be locking wheels going Into the first turn and a couple cars would be upside down. : "We had three goals: get to the first pit stop, the , second pit stop and the checkered flag. And my team did a fabulous Job on pit stops." Near the end, Johnstone's Honda engine started running warm and that lit up his dashboard. "I kept resetting the alarm like I was playing a video game and I thought I was running out of quarters. But every time I went past the startfinish line It said 1 had a bonus lap." Even Jhough he captured the pole posltiorand 7i ' k , : ' A v : . VIVA A: ' mmm: r w ii I ii 9 iff m m ill HIS I . K V ! I ? Associated Press third Masters title after Associated Press SURE SHOTS: Long Beach winner Jimmy Vasser (right) and impressive runner-up Parker Johnstone have some fun on the victory podium at photographers' expense. was pulling away last summer at Michigan before mechanical trouble, the former IMSA champion has spent more time testing than racing Indy cars. "I was Honda's test mule here in 1994," he recalled. "I had a '93 chassis, was down 150 horsepower and got terrible fuel mileage so, obviously, that was a blast. "We had a reputation as a garbage team and then last year we were half-test team and half-race team. Last year, In the meetings, the drivers hardly talked to me because I was some stranger." But Johnstone became a CART regular because Honda's Tom Elliott kept the faith in his longtime IMSA driven. "I've been with Honda for 11 years but Tom (Elliott) could have given a Honda engine to anybody, and there was an impressive list," continued Johnstone. "But he stuck with us and, without him, we wouldn't be here. "We've got a 24-year-old crew chief (Shad Huntley) who has really helped transform this team and today was tremendous for everyone connected with this team." The special day that wasn't lost on the engaging Johnstone. He got real emotional on the podium, blew kisses to the record crowd of 88,000 on the victory lap and then took over the post-race press conference. "To be in front of Al Unser Jr. at Long Beach," he said, pausing for effect before grinning. "Do you realize I can tell my grandchildren about the time at Long Beach when I beat . . . and they'll say. 'Sure, grandpa.' " j tte iaistesi Norman blows six-shot lead to suffer the ' worst collapse in tournament history. By Phil Richards STAFF WRITER AUGUSTA, Ga. The Great White Shark scented blood in the water Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club. Once again, It was his own. Norman went into the final round of the 60th Masters Tournament with a six-stroke lead and collapsed so utterly he lost by five. A runaway was predicted. A runaway was had. Nick Faldo was masterful. He shot 5-under-par 67 to win. Norman shot himself full of holes. His 78 lost. "Of all of them that I've let get away, this one I did let get away," said Norman. "If I'd just played halfway decent, it would have been a good tussle with Nick." Instead, it was like watching the Cubs. It was like watching Sisyphus play golf. Once again someone else left wearing the green Jacket. Once again Norman left wearing the monkey. On the eve of the tournament, defending champion Ben Crenshaw volunteered that at Augusta National, fate "always seems to take someone by the hand and get them through." Fate doesn't take Norman by the hand. It takes him by the throat. Raymond Floyd held the largest 54-hole lead In Masters history in 1976. He was up by eight. He won by eight, In 1980, Seve Ballesteros led by seven and won by four. Norman led by six and Chip Ganassi's driver takes the checkered after Gil de Ferran's car falters with but four laps to go. ByCurtCavin STAFF WRITER LONG BEACH, Calif. Sun-dayls Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach plot was like Mario Andretti here in 1984 and Paul Tracy in 1993 only different. Gil de Ferran deserved to win and did not. . The 28-year-old Brazilian who lives in Carmel, Ind had one of The Beach's best Indy-car drives. He won the pole and led every lap he was on the track 100 in all. Second-place Jimmy Vasser had conceded. So had six-time winner Al Unser Jr. But a turbocharger hose came loose and released de Ferran's luck. His car gasped and, subsequently, slowed. "There was no indication of a problem," he said. "What can I say? I led every lap but the last four." Vasser led those. "I wasn't going to catch Gil unless he had a problem," he said, "but all of a sudden, whammo, there was the yellow (Pennzoll) car." Vasser claimed victory and a solid lead In the IndyCar points race (now 23 over llth-place finisher Scott Pruett). At the finish line before a record crowd of 88,000, Vasser had a 3.447-sec-ond lead over Parker Johnstone, who finished a career-best second. De Ferran's disappointment spoiled what would have been an all-Honda podium finish and kept Goodyear tires from reaching victory lane for the first time this season. Vasser, driving Chip Ganassi's '96 Target ReynardHonda on FIrestones, earned his second consecutive win and third In four starts. Hondas have won all four races. Vasser's only scare came on Lap 3 when he stuck his right front tire alongside Paul Tracy's left sldepod. They collided. 'I was feeling pretty bold and was lucky (to escape)," Vasser sa,d. The 60th Masters FINAL LEADERS Par 72, 6,925 yards Nick Faldo ..6M7-7&67-276 G. Norman ..63-69-71-78-281 P. Mickelson 65-73-72-72-282 F.Nobilo 71-71-72-69-283 Scott Hoch .67-73-73-71-284 D. Waldorf ...72-71-69-72-284 Corey Pavin 7536-73-71 285 Jeff Maggert 71-73-72-69-285 Davis Love ..72-71-7468285 David Frost .7038-74-74-286 lost by five. He now has finished second in eight major championships. On seven of those occasions, he held or shared the lead going into the final round. The man who would be king of Augusta wasn't crowned, he was cudgeled. By his own hand. An even-par 72 would have won the green jacket Norman so ardently desires. A 73 would have put him in a playoff. "I hope I will be remembered for shooting 67 the last day and storming through and not for what happened to Greg," said Faldo. "I did what I set out to do today. I'm pleased. But obviously it's going to be remembered for what happened to Greg." Faldo finished at 12-under-par 276 and earned $450,000 and his third green jacket. He also won the Masters in 1989 and '90. Norman checked In at " ml-" nus-7, his eighth top-six finish in the Masters, his third second. Norman's approach shots came up a couple of feet short at 1 and 4. He was 6 yards short at 9 and a couple of yards wide on See MASTERS Page 2 Toyota GP At Long Beach, Calif. TOP 10 FINISHERS 1. Jimmy Vasser R-H 2. Parker Johnstone R-H 3. Al Unser Jr. P-M 4. Paul Tracy P-M 5. Gil de Ferran R-H 6. Adrian Fernandez L-H 7. Michael Andretti L-F 8. Roberto Moreno L-F 9. Eddie Lawson L-M 10. Richie Heam R-F Chassis: R-Reynard; P- Penske; L-Lola. Engines: H-Honda; M-Mercedes Benz; F-Ford. Points leaders: Vasser 67; Scott Pruett 44; Unser 39; de Ferran 33; Christian Fittipaldi 28. The race on the 1.59-mile temporary circuit was mostly uneventful at the front but kooky thereafter. After 38 caution-free laps, de Ferran pitted to give the lead to Vasser's teammate, Alex Zanardi. Zanardi's advantage lasted only to the first corner, where he tangled with backmarker Bobby Rahal. Rahal continued; Zanardi did not. Meanwhile, Robby Gordon's routine pit stop developed Into a small pit fire, his hasty evacuation and eventual return. Then he stalled the engine, costing him further time. Nine laps later, Greg Moore made a bold move under braking to pass Christian Fittipaldi In Turn 6. The latter retaliated by regaining the position, but the two could not fit through Turn 7. Parts went every direction. Fittipaldi went straight to Moore, lifting his helmet visor and pursuing a fight. IndyCar hit him with a $5,000 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct. "I saw that coming three laps before," said Unser, who finished See VASSER Paap?s ? I

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