The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 25, 1998 · Page 10
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 10

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Salina, Kansas
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Monday, May 25, 1998
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Page 10
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THE SALIN JOURNAL Sports BASEBALL/B3 AUTO'RACING / B4 SOCCER/B5 B INDIANAPOLIS 500 Eddie Cheever raises his fist as he approaches the finish line as the winner of the 82nd running of the Indy 500 Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. —Photos by The Associated Press Cheers to Cheever Owner-driver'had 15 guardian angels with me' en route to big win By MIKE HARRIS The Associated Press Eddie Cheever hoists the traditional bottle of milk after winning Sunday's Indy 500. INDIANAPOLIS — Journeyman, also ran. Eddie Cheever won't have to worry about those names anymore. He's got a new one — Indianapolis 500 champion. Clearly, he'll need some time to get used to it. "I don't know what I'm supposed to say," Cheever told the cheering crowd Sunday in Victory Lane after stepping but of the Dallara-Aurora car he also owns. It was not an easy race to win. He narrowly avoided a first-lap accident, then overcame a pit mistake at midrace. In> the end, he held off a pesky Buddy Lazier to earn the biggest victory of his life. "I had about 15 guardian angels with me. I had a couple of close calls and I came out of them OK," the 40-year-old winner said. Cheever has only won once before, in an Indy car race in January 1997. He happened to take the lead after another driver crashed one lap before rain ended the race. This time he really earned it, coming perilously close to the wall several times in the last 10 laps. "I was either going to win or not finish at all," Cheever said. "My father told me, 'If you're going to win one race in your life, win Indy.' " Actually, his day almost ended on the first turn of the race. "Somebody bumped me in the rear and turned me sideways," Cheever said. "I thought, 'I don't want it to end this way." His next big problem came during a pit stop oh lap 85 when the nozzle from the fuel hose stuck in his car and he nearly pulled away with it still attached. "We got back on our game plan and Eddie used his experience all TOP 10 FINISHERS 1. Eddie Cheever 2. Buddy Lazier 3. r- Steve Knapp 4. Davey Hamilton 5. r-Robby Unser 6. Kenny Brack 7. John Paul Jr. 8. r-Andy Michner 9* r-J.J. Yeley 10. Buzz Calkins r-denotes rookie day. He was on his game," crew chief Owen Snyder explained. Cheever's victory was also a triumph for Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George, who started the Indy Racing League in 1996 with the idea of giving second-tier teams and drivers a chance. Cheever, who took his victory lap around the 2Va-mile oval with George at his side, definitely falls into that category. His main sponsor is a small potato chip company that signed on two weeks ago. The Indy 500 rookie of the year in 1990 came within a few laps of victory at Indy last year — his first 500 as an owner. Cheever finished 23rd and also owned the car Jeff Ward drove to third place. Ward was leading in the closing laps but had to stop for fuel and was overtaken by winner Arie Luyendyk. On Sunday, Cheever's teammate was rookie Robby Unser, who finished fifth. Cheever, who started 17th in the See INDY, Page B4 T PRO BASKETBALL VGOLF Watson pulls away for win at Colonial Closing 66 enables •Kansas City golfer to post two-shot victory By MIKE COCHRAN The Associated Press FORT WORTH, Texas — Tom Watson had secretly believed he might never win again. He did and the wait wasn't nearly as long as last time. The 48-year-old pulled away with a smashing 4-under-par 66 'Sunday and won the Master- Card Colonial by two strokes. "Winning at my age is a rarity," he confessed. "And at the beginning of the week I didn't give myself much chance." Watson, who VVATSON ended a nine- year victory drought when he won The Memorial in 1996, won his 39th tournament, including five British Opens, in his 26 years as a professional. "It's a surprise," he said, choking back tears. "It's a great honor to have won the tournament in the year of Ben Hogan's death," he said, pointing out that Hogan was a five-time winner of the Colonial and that the course is known as "Hogan's Alley." Hogan died two months after last year's Colonial. "He was an icon here. He still is an icon here," Watson said. "To put my name up on that wall with the likes of Ben Hogan and all the great players, the Sam Sneads and Arnold Palmers and Jack Nicklauses. ... It's like the Masters, the people who have won this championship." His 66 Sunday at the hot, windswept Colonial Country Club came on the heels of rounds of 68, 66 and 65 for a 15- under 265 total and it included some clutch putts and a brilliant, and pivotal, sand shot. He finished two strokes ahead of 28-year-old Jim Furyk, who closed with a 68. Jeff Sluman, whom Watson was only spotting eight years, slipped into third at 269, closing with a 69. "I don't think I lost it. I think Tom won it," Sluman said. "He's got the heart of a champion and a wonderful game." Harrison Frazar, 26, the rookie sensation from Dallas, lost his magic touch after holding no worse than a share of the lead since Thursday. He closed with a 71 for 270 and was fourth. Tied at 11 under with Frazar and Furyk as the final round unfolded, Watson birdied Nos. 2 and 3, both par-4s, and probably won the title with a bold 3.30- yard fairway bunker shot at No. 9. The Associated Press The Utah Jazz bench begins to celebrate after John Stockton sinks two free throws In the closing seconds of Sunday's Game 4 96-92 win against the Los Angeles Lakers. Jazz puts away LA Utah completes series sweep behind Malone to earn second straight berth in the NBA Finals By BOB BAUM The Associated Press INGLEWOOD, Calif. — No wild cheers. No jubilation. No celebration. Hardly more than a smile and a handshake. Just another workmanlike victory for the Utah Jazz. So what if Sunday's 96-92 win swept the Los Angeles Lakers out of the Western Conference finals? Showmanship is not Utah's style. Winning is. "I love the attitude in this locker room right now," Karl Malone said. "It's laid back, how we've been all year. We just walked off the court, showed some class." It was Utah's first sweep of a seven-game series. "I think the whole nation is surprised by the sweep," Malone said. "We just took it one game at a time and had the killer instinct. When you've got somebody punch-drunk, knock them out, and we did that." Malone scored 32 points, including 14-of-15 free throws, and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Jazz earned a second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. This time, Utah will have the homecourt advantage, whether the opponent is Chicago or Indiana. "No one else probably did, but we expected to be back," Malone said. "We didn't break out the champagne or anything like that, because we haven't done anything yet." John Stockton, Malone's quiet partner in Utah for 13 seasons, sank six free throws in the final 1:24. His last two with 10.5 seconds remaining put Utah up 94-90. The cool Jazz were 30-of-33 from the foul line — 10-of-ll in the fourth quarter — as they fought off the Lakers' last gasp. Utah's only miss from the foul line in the final period was by Greg Foster after his dunk put Utah up 96-92 with 2.5 seconds left. Except for a poor Game 1, Shaquille O'Neal was magnificent in defeat. And Sunday was no exception. He scored 38 points, despite foul trouble, 11 of them in the last 3 % minutes in a final rally that almost caught the Jazz. "I'm very frustrated," O'Neal said. "I've got to go home and live with it. You must learn to fail before you succeed." It was a classic victory of brains over brawn, experience over youth. "I said when the series started that the team that played with the most intelligence had the best chance of winning," Utah coach Jerry Sloan. "We played with a great deal of intelligence." It is a lesson the young Lakers had to learn, said coach Del Harris, whose job could be on the line despite what otherwise would be considered a highly successful season. "To be really successful, you have to go through some failure," he said, repeating what has become a Laker mantra. "The true winner is the guy who gets knocked down, then gets back up." Scoreboard Royals 8 Rangers 3 • Kansas City snaps its eight-game losing streak Sunday at Texas. Coverage Page B3. T PRO FOOTBALL Roof is needed if Arrowhead is to host a Super Bowl By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For a Super Bowl in Kansas City, Arrowhead Stadium must get a roof, the metro area must get more hotel rooms and there has to be one more indoor practice facility. Oh, and more golf courses are required. Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, among the NFL's most respected, was turned down during an owners meeting Wednesday in Coral Gables, Fla., for a Super Bowl in Kansas City between 2004 and 2007. The bid didn't meet league guidelines, and Hunt can't get the nod for merely sentimental reasons — though he was the prime mover in 1966 that led to the merger of the American Football League with the NFL. "It's a nice thought, but there really are other considerations," Hunt told The Kansas City Star in Sunday editions. The Chiefs and Kansas City would have to cover the 78,000-seat stadium, assure the availability of 26,000 hotel rooms and the practice field. "Those three elements were difficult for us," said Chiefs board chairman jack Steadman, who joined Hunt and Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson in a presentation that featured a proposal for an $80 million winterized rolling roof for the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex. "No. 1 was being able to convince them we could winterize the moving roof and heat it," Steadman said. "We were able to grade out within a 90- mile radius with the hotel rooms. Part of the problem is a lot of those hotels are 150 rooms and less, and the league basically wants bigger, convention-type hotels," he said. "They require two practice facilities within 30 miles (of each team's hotel), and we have one, the Chiefs'. We'd have to use KU in Lawrence. They felt that was workable," he said. But, there was something else. "They required access to a number of golf courses. We don't have many available in January," Steadman said. Steadman said the Chiefs gave no public notice of their bid because they didn't want to raise unrealistic hopes of immediate success. "We were testing the waters to see if we could generate any excitement or interest," he said. "We came away with a very positive feeling that at some point, if we're able to somehow get a moving roof and prove it works, we'd have the opportunity to go back and get approval. "It's a long shot, obviously, but it's worth pursuing," he said. The proposed roof would move on rails between Arrowhead and the adjacent Kauffman Stadium, where the Kansas City Royals play baseball. However, taxpayers would have to spring for the roof without the assurance of a Super Bowl and its economic benefits. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavldson@saljournal.com

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