The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 16, 1998 · Page 15
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 15

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Salina, Kansas
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Saturday, May 16, 1998
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Page 15
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THE SALINA JOURNAL SPORTS SATURDAY, MAY 16, 1998 BB T NASCAR Bruised Elliott wins pole in wrecks the past two races, driver earns The Winston pole By'JOE MACENKA TKe~Assoclaied Press CONCORD, N.C. — Bruised and broken, but far from defeated, Bill Elliott blended fast work in the pits and on the track to capture the pole Friday night for Winston Cup racing's 14th annual all- star event. Elliott, who needed assistance to get in and out of his car ELLIOTT begause of injuries from two wpecks in the past three weeks, outperformed 18 of his peers to take the top starting spot for The Wipston at Charlotte Motor Speedway. »I've still got a lot of soreness in a lot of places," said Elliott, who goi 'banged up in a fiery crash at Talladega Superspeedway and then wrecked again the following week at California Speedway. The second crash left him with frac- tyres in his left foot and left hand apd bruises on his back and abdomen. ' "What's happened the last few weeks has been a total disappoint- ment," he said, "but this takes some of that away." Winning the pole for the second consecutive year, Elliott posted a speed of 142.084 mph in the unique qualifying format that requires drivers to make three laps and a pit stop to have two tires changed. Because of his various bruises and fractures, Elliott limited his practice time Friday to short runs on Charlotte's 1.5-mile, high- banked layout, raising the question of how he will hold up in tonight's 70-lap event. His best Friday night was good enough to edge Terry Labonte's 141.380 for the top starting spot. Bobby Labonte was third at 141.201. Rusty Wallace posted what would have been the pole-winning speed of 142.829, but he was penalized twice by NASCAR officials for a pair of infractions in the pits — for running over an air hose and having a loose lug nut. Wallace, relegated to the 16th starting spot, tried to shrug off his pit-road troubles. "We'll have to start from the back," he said, "and go to the front." Lining up fourth will be Jeff Gordon, winner of the event in 1995 and 1997. His performance Friday night was considerably better than he did last year, when he came into the pits so fast that he set off a plume of tire smoke several hundred feet long as he tried unsuccessfully to stop in time. "This was a little less dramatic, but I was just happy to get it stopped in the pit stall," he said. "Last year I had to do it the hard way and come all the way from the back. It should be easier this way." Dale Earnhardt didn't have nearly as dramatic a slide down pit road, but he did skid several feet past his pit stall, thereby ruining any chance for a competitive time. Earnhardt will start 19th in the 20-car field, with the final starter being the winner of the Winston Open, a 50-lap preliminary race Saturday night for non-qualifiers for the $1.3 million main event. The risk-reward nature of the pit stop in Friday night's qualifying was also evident with Jeff Burton, who wound up 14th, nearly 4 mph slower than the pole-winning speed. Burton came barreling down pit road so fast he nearly spun into the concrete wall where his crew members were perched, waiting for his arrival. His aggressive approach momentarily delayed his crew from jumping onto pit road to service his car. Burton had no apologies. "Hey, this is The Winston, and if you don't go for it, you're not doing your job," he said. T INDY 500 QUALIFYING Pole qualifying starts today In response to declining fan interest during second weekend, 33-car field to be filled by Sunday By MIKE HARRIS The Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS — The pressure is on at The Brickyard, where for the first time in 46 years the 33-car field for the Indianapolis 500 will be filled in one weekend of qualifying. Track officials chopped a week of preparation time off the schedule this year because fan interest for daily practice and the second weekend of time trials has been on the decline. The move seems to have worked. There were traffic jams on the 2 V* -mile oval as well as the roads into the sprawling speedway on Friday, the last of just six full days of practice for the May 24 race. Speed.will be on everyone's mind today in pole qualifying, and again on Sunday, when the field is likely to be filled and bumping of the slower qualifiers takes place. Defending and two-time race winner Arie Luyendyk took the pole last year with a four-lap, 10-mile qualifying run at 218.263 mph. With improvements in tires and aerodynamics and a year of development time on the Indy Racing League's chassis and motors, it's expected to take about 214 just to make the field. Tony Stewart, the defending IRL champion, has been the man to beat since practice opened Sunday. His Team Menard Dallara-Aurora has led the speed parade on four of the six days of practice. On Friday, the 26-year-old Stewart improved his best speed to 223.797 mph. Kenny Brack, who drives for four-time Indy winner A.J. Foyt, was next at 223.464, followed by teammate Billy Boat at 221.691, Greg Ray at 220.626, Scott Sharp at 220.610 and Luyendyk at 219.925. Team Menard, with Stewart and Robbie Buhl, is expected to get its biggest competition for the pole and the other two front row positions from Brack and Boat, who drive for four-time Indy winner A.J. Foyt. Al Unser Jr. receives warm welcome The most famous active race driver at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday wasn't in a race car. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. made an unannounced visit that had just about everyone at the speedway buzzing. Unser, who won the 500 in 1992 and 1994, is a star with Championship Auto Racing Teams, which no longer races at Indy. The CART teams and drivers have shunned the speedway since 1996 when the 500 became part of the new all-oval Indy Racing League. "This is the first time I've been back in a long time," the grinning Unser said as he stood beside the pit wall, not far from a Dallara-Aurora race car being driven by his cousin, Johnny Unser, a two- time Indy starter. He also visited with another cousin, Robbie Unser, a rookie who is attempting to qualify for the May 24 race, and Al Sr., who is a coach for the IRL drivers. Al Jr., had no credential showing while standing in the high security area. "I have one, but I haven't had to show it," the son of four-time Indy winner Al Unser and nephew of three-time winner Bobby Unser. IT GOLF Round of 59 fired by Begay By The Associated Press '; RICHMOND, Va. — Notah Begay III had nine birdies and two eagles for record-tying 59 Friday to take a four-shot lead in the sec- oftd round of the Nike Dominion Open. 'Begay's 13-under-par round over the par-72, 7,020-yard The Dominion Club course tied him with Chip Beck and Al Geiberger for ttye lowest round shot on the PGA Tours. Beck shot his 59 in the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational, and Geiberger recorded his at the 1977 Memphis Classic. ;Begay, playing the back nine first, made the turn in 32. He then eagled the first, holing 112-yard wedge, birdied the second, and got his ace on the par-3 third when his 196-yard 5-iron found the cup. ;"After the hole-in-one, 59 came into my mind ... an understanding, an enlightenment. No one's gt»ing to care if I shot 60-61," Begay said. "I guaranteed myself a piece of immortality." I Begay also made birdies on the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth, as he played the final 11 holes in 11-under par. PGA ! IRVING, Texas — The day started with the smoky haze clinging to the course at the GTE Byron Nelson Classic making the sun look like a faint 40-watt lightbulb trying to shine through a layer of gauze. And maybe the eerie light that slowly gave way to sunshine as the day burned on lulled everyone to sleep. "Only Hal Sutton and Robert Damron were able to find anything close to magic in the mist at the Four Seasons Resort on Friday. Both put up a 65 that gave Sutton the lead at 9-under-par 131 and had Damron two strokes back, along with Fred Couples and Bob Friend. Tom Watson slipped from his 64 on Thursday to a 70 and was in a knot of players that included Phil Mickelson and John Cook at 134. Tiger Woods backed off from his 65, with a mediocre 71, but was still oh'ly five strokes off the lead at 136, along with Jim Furyk and Mark O'Meara. Seniors BELTON, Mo. — Fred Gibson, a Senior PGA Tour rookie gunning for'his first victory, battled ferocious winds to shoot a 5-under-par 65 Friday and take the first-round lea^d in the Saint Luke's Classic. Gibson, 55th on the money list, held a 3-stroke lead over defending champion Bruce Summerhays and a 1-stroke advantage over Larry Ziegler, the only others to break par on the 6,539-yard Loch Lloyd course as winds gusted over 45 mph. LPGA ROCKLAND, Del. — Maybe it's only a matter of time before the pressure of leading the LPGA Championship gets the best of rookie Se Ri Pak. Then again, the former sprinter just might be fearless enough to run away with her first tournament title. Pak shot a 68 Friday for a two-day total of 9-under 133, the lowest 36-hole score in the history of the tournament. For the love of an oral preaentatlon, when a • dent aayi. 'So. that'i' It,' andwhojUfcJtudent aays, al honota. a itep toward the naming oftheKanMlTeacherof the Year. an Clemen- attheiitrjcto lng rendl- on the 'Ithi Thank You! like to thank «?**$jl progt am and "success! daye the latneT I amlle aa my Itu- bee aald. "My data la almott like teacheeanidenlalniUele „„ denta learn math facia, cry ai I rad church. We «hare each other • .chooU. She worka with »—, a able to their papara about Important peo Joyeajidconcerna." denta for nine yean, betnf a Uwven. ple,andlauajiaiweiharealorlea." Hannah AppUnlulit, a May grad- near ihem advance loBeelh^ Carlos ff Kelly's ftlfi 1 "!*""'"*" central National Bank WAL*MART ALWAYS LOW PRICES. ALWAYS WAL-MART. lidland [uffler "Head dent who] an oral dent taya, It,' and need a For tary i tlon of cello coul] Beethoven "I have children Hllbeeaald. "1 teach ft: dent who Is an oral dent says,'! 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