The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 22, 2001 · Page 18
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 18

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 22, 2001
Page 18
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C4 SUNDAY. APRIL 22, 2001 THE SAUNA JOURNAL • AUTO RACING T GOLF: SALINE COUNTY TWO-MAN SCRAMBLE WINSTON CUP Talladega Superspeedway Turns Turn 2 Turn 4 Talladega 500 Site: Talladega, Ala. Track length: 2.66-mile tri-oval Race length: 188 laps, 500.08 miles Defending champion: Jeff Gordon Qualifying record: Bill Elliott, 212.809 mph, April 30, 1987 Ra"ce record: Mark Martin, 188.354 mph, May 10, 1997 Turn 1 START/FINISH Winston Cup standings Top drivers Points 1 DaleJarrett 1.236 . Jeff Gordon 1,113 3. Johnny Hanson 1,049 (tie) Sterling Marlin 1,049 Brown,VanDeGrift ahead of field Source: Compiled Irom AP wire reports AP Talladega forges on without icon Thoughts of drivers, fans on Earnhardt, who mastered oval By MIKE HARRIS The Associated Press Noon, Fox TALLADEGA, Ala. — Reminders of Dale Earnhardt are everywhere at TaUadega Super- speedway. His No. 3 is written on just about anything that can hold paint or chalk. And clothing of every fashion carries the number, name or likeness of the late racing great. Most of all, though, The Intimidator is missed on Talladega's 2.66-mile oval, where he was considered the absolute master. Whether Earnhardt could actually see the air currents swirling around the race cars, as car owner Richard Childress has suggested, is open to debate. But there is no question that no one was better than Earnhardt, who had a record 10 Winston Cup victories on NASCAR's biggest and fastest track. Earnhardt, who died in a crash Feb. 18 in the Daytona 500, loudly decried the restrictor- plate racing at Talladega and Daytona — saying the idea in the sport is to go as fest as you can as long as you can — even as he became its most proficient performer. "At these plate tracks, I always told people you just find that car with the No. 3 on the back and follow it," said Mike Skinner, Earnhardt's teammate at Richard Childress Racing. Dale Jarrett, a winner of three of the last four Cup events and the series points leader, has been thinking about Earnhardt aU week. "Dale was always the guy that, if you were going to win this race, you had to beat him," said Jarrett, who edged Earnhardt twice in memorable Daytona finishes. "Sometimes he didn't have the best car, but he ended up being the best driver most of the time and could get to the front." The plates used at Talladega and Daytona slow the cars by restricting airflow to the carburetor. Instead of racing at speeds well above 200, the Cup cars are dampened down to about 190. Because of that, they are bunched in long, tight, frightening packs. Aerodynamic rules changes midway through 2000 made it even more competitive at Talladega and Daytona, allowing the cars to use the air flow that Earnhardt knew so weU to pass virtually at will. It played right into his hands. Last October, in the first race with the new rules, there were 49 lead changes at TaUadega as the field raced three, four — sometimes even five-wide. Speedway officials might as well have removed the seats from the grandstands, because the fans rarely used them. Many stood from green flag to checker. Earnhardt saved the best for last that day somehow racing from 18th to first over the final five laps as the crowd howled its appreciation. Daytona was more of the same, with 49 more lead changes — and today's race is expected to be a repeat. With the huge packs always comes anticipation of the big crash that is commonplace in plate races, making the drivers edgy and anxious. In October, the drivers somehow got to the end at Talladega without a major melee, but a 19- "Dale was always the guy that, if you were going to win this race, you had to beat him." Dale Jarrett series points leader on Dale Earnhardt car crash marred Daytona before the last-lap, three-car accident in which Earnhardt was killed. There was a 13-car crash Saturday in the Subway 300, the Busch Series race at TaUadega. The Busch cars also run with restrictor plates. Jarrett says the key to a safe plate race is always patience — a commodity that can be scarce as the tense race goes on. "It's a taU order to ask 43 guys that race for a living to be patient for 500 miles," he said. The 1999 series champion pointed out that part of the problem here is that anyone could win. "You look down the list of winners and you see a number of guys that have won here for the first time, and some that have won here for the only time in their Winston Cup career," Jarrett explained. "So that literally gives everybody in the field the opportunity to win here and, for some, it may seem that this is their chance for the year." That can be a problem. "The patience can run a little bit thin for those people because they're seeing that opportunity and they want to make things happen," Jarrett said. That also makes racing at Talladega a nerve-racking weekend for many of the competitors. "I lose about two years off the end of my life every time we come here," said Tony Stewart, who flipped and landed on top of defending series champion Bobby Labonte's car in the big Daytona wreck. Polesitter Stacy Compton sees the big wreck as almost inevitable. "You know it's going to happen," he said. "Hopefully you can get through it. There's nothing you can do to avoid it at this point. You just go out there and race as hard as you can race and, hopefully, you don't get caught up in it." Stat of the week Chevrolets won the first four races of the season and Fords have won the last four. The best finish by Pontiac and the new Dodges has been second. TIME TO ENROLL Get The Latest Stuff Ages 8-17 Site: KWU, Salina 30TH ANNUAL Kansas Premier Boy's & Girl's Sports Camps 'Boy's Basketball 'Girl's Basketball 'Girl's Volleyball The Skill BuUders" I For Info: Ask Your Coach Or CaU827 -6229l Tandem shoots a 60 to take one-shot lead into today's final round By CHRISTIAN D ORR The Salina Journal Through all of the success that Steve Brown has had in Saline County Golf Association events over the years, there is still one tournament the four-time Four Ball champion and seven-time Medal champion has yet to win. But with another round like he and partner Don VanDeGrift had today Brown could be finally adding his first SCGA TGOLF Durant leads at Houston By The Associated Press THE WOODLANDS. Texas — Joe Durant waited for the right moment to make his move Saturday in the Houston Open. Durant, battling erratic iron play most of the day birdied two of the last three holes in a round of 1-under 71 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round. "One of the big keys for me was I watched the leaderboard and most of us were hanging around par," Durant said. "I decided to try and hang around par and sneak in a birdie or two." Durant, who shared the first- round lead with Lee Janzen, was two shots off Janzen's pace going into the 16th hole Saturday Durant birdied No .i 17 to tie Janzen, and puUed ahead when Janzen bogeyed the final hole. Durant, with two victories this year, had a 9-under 207 total. Janzen's late falter gave him a 73 and a 208 total. Hal Sutton was another stroke back at 209 after a 71. A victory today would make Durant and Tiger Woods the only three-time winners on the PGA Tour this year LPGA LINCOLN, Calif. — Se Ri Pak used a late flurry of birdies Saturday to shoot a 1-under 71 and take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the rain-shortened Longs Drugs Classic. Annika Sorenstam was eight shots back and in need of a second straight miracle comeback to win her record-tying fifth straight tournament. Soren­ stam, who made up 10 shots in the final round to win last week in Los Angeles, shot a 72 for a 1- over 145 total. Pak made three straight birdies beginning on the 15th hole, then closed with a routine par to take the lead by a shot over MicheUe Redman and four shots over Karen Weiss and Denise KiUeen. Seniors LAS VEGAS — Jerry McGee birdied three of the final five holes en route to a 5-under 67 and a two-stroke lead in the Las Vegas Senior Classic. McGee, who had surgery for throat and tongue cancer in 1999, had an 8-under 136 total on the TPC at Summerlin. Bruce Fleisher, an 11-time senior winner, was second after a 68. McGee won four events on the regular tour, but has yet to win since joining the senior tour in 1993. His last victory came in the 1979 Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open. So, you love an alcoholic! Al A Non is for men Thursday nights 8 p.m. 1600 Rush • 823-1646 Two-Man Scramble championship to his list of accomplishments. "We had a pretty good day" Brown said after he VanDeGrift shot a 60 during Saturday's first round at the Sailna Elks Club to take a one-shot lead into today's final round. "We really didn't have too much of a game plan today. We made birdie on No. 1 and that just kickstarted us. We never did get into any trouble today." Daran Neuschafer and Mark Riddle teamed for a 61 and wiU play with Brown and VanDe­ Grift in today's final pairing at the Salina Municipal Golf Course. They are scheduled to tee off at 9:40 p.m. Jerry Ryan and John Norton, the defending champions, are three shots back and will play in the second to last group with Steve Rittel and James Robb, who also shot 63 on Saturday "J.R. and Norty they have won this last two years, so they are certainly going to be a tough team to beat," Brown said. "Plus there are a lot of young guns out there that you have to contend with." Brown and VanDeGrift had putts for birdie on each of the first 16 holes, converting 10 of them. They had eagle putts on 9, 11 and 13, but faUed to roll any of them in. "We really didn't do anything too dazzling out there, we just kept the ball in play and Vandy reaUy made some good putts," Brown said. "We will be extremely aggressive (today), and I think if we do that, we could be tough to beat. It would be nice to win this simply because it is early and with the thought that the Four BaU is not very far down the road." Events oiW^'^ Salina Journal Connecting commnnities with it\formation Train here for the biggest race of them all. The Human one. Sponsored by: Membsr A^ncy "^Salina Journal Comucting omnuniHet vith information YWCAl National Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism Friday, April 27, 11:30-1:00 YWCA Racism Study Circle and Luncheon Luncheon cost $5.00 per person. Call the YWCA for reservations at 825-4626. Race Against Racism Saturday, April 28 8:00 a.m. 5 Mile Competition Race 2 Mile March Bill Burke Park, Salina The Difference is in the " " 651 E. 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