The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 13, 2001 · Page 17
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 17

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, April 13, 2001
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Page 17
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FRIDAY AP»=HL;|3;2001 THE SALlKfA JOURNAL Sports AL ROUNDUP / C3 NLROUNDUP /C3 PREP ROUNDUP / C3 T COMMENT T PRO FOOTBALL Silence in NASCAR deafening Time was, the question was easy. Do you like NASCAR? It was one of those questions that defined a person. Simple but revealing. How you answered put you into this side of the room or that one. You were either someone who appreciated the skills of the death-defying sport or you weren't. You were either someone who made the same old country- music, tobacco-spitting cracks or you were someone who explained about all the doctors and lawyers in the stands. Things were easy then. You knew which side you belonged to, and you knew which role to play. These days things are more complicated. The death of a hero can do that. And because of it, the question has changed. Do you trust NASCAR? More and more, this seems to be the bigger question. More and more, the sanctioning body of the sport resembles some huge, mysterious organization that provides little in the way of information and less in the way of accuracy. More and more, NASCAR seems to want to talk less and less. Since the death of driver Dale Earnhardt, those who run NASCAR have acted as if they resent the lingering questions „ about a hero's passage. They will tell you they are running some sort of double-secret investigation but no details of it. They won't even say who is doing the testing. Or where. They act as if the death of a public figure in a public forum is their private matter. Trust us, they seem to be saying. Would we lie to you? All this is open to debate because an independent crash expert, Duke University's Dr. Barry Myers, contradicted Monday the theory promoted by NASCAR. No, he said, it wasn't the broken seat belt that caused the death of Earnhardt. It was a violent head whip caused when Earnhardt's car hit the wall. What NASCAR had gone out of its way to imply simply wasn't true. There are two possibilities here. The first, of course, is that NASCAR made a mistake. That it saw a broken seat belt and a driver's wheel hit so hard it bent, and it assumed Earnhardt died because of it. But if NASCAR was wrong, isn't that evidence it needed better experts, and more of them? If it can be so wrong so fast — and other experts had predicted all along that head whip ^ould be the conclusion of any investigation — then perhaps it shouldn't be the only one in charge of the investigation. Perhaps law enforcement, perhaps outside experts, should be retained. The second possibility is more sinister. What if the seat belt was a diversion? What if NASCAR simply wanted the questions to go away about whether head restraints should be required, so it offered another reason in the faulty seat belt? Remember: If not for the autopsy investigation, fought by NASCAR, we'd still be calling the broken belt the reason for Earnhardt's death. Why might NASCAR lead us astray? Because now that we know Earnhardt died of head whip, the debate about the HANS system is going to come up all over again. It is true Myers stopped short of saying the HANS system could have prevented Earnhardt's death, but he acknowledged it had the potential to do so. And if a piece of equipment required on other racing circuits — the same as belts or roU bars — would save lives, then the pressure See SHELTON, Page C5 Ghiefs open with Raiders Kansas City will not play on Monday Night Football but will be on national TV twice By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs will have two games televised nationally during the 2001 football season, though they won't be seen on Monday Night Football. The Chiefs open their season Sept. 9 with a home game against the Oakland Raiders. Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said he's glad the Chiefs open against the Raiders, the defending AFC West champions. "We can measure right off the bat where we are early in the program," Vermeil said. The highlight of the Chiefs' television schedule will be a Nov. 29 'Thursday night game at Arrowhead Stadium against the Philadelphia Eagles. The game will be seen on ESPN. The second national game comes Dec. 9 against the Raiders in Oakland. • NFL Team-by-team schedule / Page C5 The Chiefs have a late-season bye week on Nov 18. Four of the team's final six games are at home. The Chiefs will play seven games against teams which made the playoffs last season, including a home game against the NFC champion New York Giants Sept. 23. Their Aug. 31 preseason game against the St. Louis Rams wiU be nationally televised on ESPN. Broncos open on Monday night again NEW YORK — For the fourth straight season, the Denver Broncos will open on Monday Night Football, this time for the first regular-season game in their new stadium. Denver will play host to the NFC champion New York Giants on Sept. 10 at the new Invesco Field at Mile High. The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, who open at home Sept. 9 against Chicago, will play NFC run- nerup Minnesota in Baltimore the fol­ lowing Monday night. As usual, the best teams from last season got the most prime-time slots — the Ravens and Giants each are on Monday Night Football three times. Baltimore's last appearance, against Tampa Bay, is actually on Saturday, Dec. 29 because Monday night is New Year's Eve. Tennessee at Oakland on Dec. 22 is also considered a Monday night game so as not to conflict with Christmas. St. Louis and Tennessee, the Super Bowl teams from two seasons ago, are the only others with three Monday night games. Denver, which won Super Bowls after the 1997 and 1998 seasons, opened on Monday night with New England and Miami in 1998 and 1999, winning both, then lost at St. Louis last season. This time Denver's date is related more to the stadium opening. It's the first time since 1995 — San Francisco was the defending champion that year — that the the Super Bowl winner has not been in the Monday night opener. Instead, the runnerup Giants will play the Broncos. 2001 Schedule Sept. 9 Oakland, noon Sept. 16 at Seattle, 3:15 p.m. Sept. 23 New York Giants, rioon; Sept. 30 at Washington, noon Oct. 7 at Denver, 3:05 p.m.; Oct. 14 Pittsburgh, noon Oct. 21 at Arizona, 3:05 p.m. Oct. 28 Indianapolis, noon Nov. 4 at San Diego, 3:15 p.m. Nov. 11 at New York Jets, noon Nov. 18 Openi Nov. 25 Seattle, noon Nov. 29 Philadelphia^ 7:301p*^ Dec. 9 at Oakland, 3:15 p.m. Dec. 16 Denver, noon Dec. 23 San Diego, noon' Dec. 30 at Jacksonville, noon • HIGH SCHOOL TRACK Barnes Strong-arms TMP to second Senior claims gold in three throwing events at Lindsborg By CHRISTIAN D ORR The Salina Journal LINDSBORG — Excluding the fact that it was a change of scenery, Thursday afternoon didn't seem much different that an ordinary practice for Thomas More Prep's Dick Barnes. Sure, there were other athletes at the Smoky Valley Invitational attempting to compete against the Monarch senior, but like it is every day in practice, his stiffest competition was from his own teammates. Like most days in practice, Barnes handled the competition with ease. Entered in three events, Barnes claimed gold all three times, edging out teammates each time, including his brother twice. The 1-2 finishes for TMP in the boys javelin, discus and shot put, with Barnes leading the charge, helped the Monarchs to a second-place finish in the team race with 93 points. Ellsworth won the boys' team title with 118 points while Smoky Valley rolled to the girls title with 146 points. "I was expecting to come in here and win three golds today," said Barnes, who also was apart of the Monarch's weightman relay team that finished second in 51.19 seconds. "I came here in last year and set the school record in JEFF COOPER / The Salina Journal Southeast of Saline's Staph Swanson throws the shot put during the Smoky Valley Invitational on Thursday in Lindsborg. Swanson finished second in the event. the javelin, so I like it here. I was hoping to throw a little bit better, but I am happy with three golds." Barnes started his day by besting his younger brother, Mark, in both the javelin and shot put. He finished by topping teammate Matt Leikam in the javelin. Barnes threw 52 feet, 11 inches in the shot put and 171- 6V4 in the javelin, beating his brother, who threw 48-3 in the shot and 170-1 in the javelin. He threw 155-11 in the javelin, topping Leikam, who came in at 147-0. "It drives him nuts finishing second to me, but he also knows he is only a sophomore and still has two years to pull things together," Barnes said of his brother, Mark. "Honestly I hope he does break my records. I want the Barnes name to stay up on the boards for a long time and if it's not my name then I hope that it's his." For now, Dick Barnes isn't looking to share anything gold with his brother. There, will be enough meets in the future for Mark to take home gold. This year Dick is looking to be greedy "I set the goal at the begin- See SMOKY, Page C4 T ROYALS Game postponed after roof mishap Damage occurs after routine test at Toronto's SkyDome By The Associated Press TORONTO — Large pieces of metal siding and insulation fell from the roof of ||i|a{ji| SkyDome onto the field Thurs- I SJ | day, causing Toronto postpone their game against the Kansas City Royals. The retractable roof was being opened when two of the three panels collided, causing two large tears. "Some very big pieces of metal feU on to the field," Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey said. "We're very, very thankful there was no one on the field that could have got hurt." The collision occurred at about 3:30 p.m. while some Royals players were taking extra batting practice. Royals pitching coach Brent Strom knew something was wrong. "It just didn't seem right. It looked like they were trying to close the dome and it was making funny sounds," Strom said. "I looked up there and stuff started to fall down. Then they stopped it, and then they started it again, and pieces started to faU." The damage occurred during a routine test opening. A giant panel — one of three See ROYALS, Page C5 T COLLEGE BASKETBALL Asbury contemplates return Former KSU coach candidate for position with Pepperdine By VINCENT BONSIGNORE Los Angeles Dally News LOS ANGELES — Former Pepperdine coach Tom Asbury has had talks with Waves athletic director John Watson about the possibility of returning as men's basketball coach. Asbury who lives in Thousand Oaks, coached the Waves from 1988-94 before leaving for Kansas State, where he spent five years. Asbury was out of coaching this season after being fired at Kansas State follow- . ing the 1999-2000 season. He said he is interested in coaching the Waves again. Pepperdine is looking for a replacement for Jan van Breda Kolff, who left Sunday after two years for the St. Bonaventure job. "I would definitely be interested in Pepperdine. I'm comfortable with the administration. It's a place I feel comfort­ able at and I've had success there," Asbury said. "There aren't many jobs I'd be interested in coming back for, but Pepperdine is one of them. It's a great job." Asbury said he expects talks to continue over the next few days but that no official interview has been set. "I don't think it will be an in- depth process, .em.pv such as meet- ^^owni ing with committees and that sort of thing," said Asbury, who worked as an assistant to Jim Harrick at Pepperdine be- for-e taking over as head coach. "I'm not sure I have to interview. In essence, I had a 15-year interview with them. I think they know what they would be getting." A source told the Daily News on Wednesday that Gal State Northridge ' coach Bobby Braswell also remains a strong candidate and that a Pepperdine official has initiated con­ tact with Braswell's advisors. Braswell said Wednesday he has not spoken with anyone connected with Pepperdine. "I'm really not sure what's going on (with Pepperdine)," he said. Other candidates are Pepperdine assistant Gib Arnold; former NBA coach Paul Westphal, whose son Michael is a walk-on with the Waves; and Metro State (Colorado) head coach Mike Dunlap, who used to coach at Cal Lutheran. Westphal and Dunlap did not return messages to their homes. Arnold could not be reached for comment but a source said he has become an attractive candidate because of his youth and his familiarity with the program. The source said Pepperdine officials view him as the type of coach that they can groom for long-range success. Pepperdine spokesman Michael Zapolski said the school is proceeding carefully in its search and that no announcement is expected in the next couple of days. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavidson@saljournal.com

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