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Here, You Can Experience Life in the Fast Lane

August 02, 1996|SHAV GLICK

Talladega Superspeedway's 2.66-mile oval has a reputation as the fastest racecourse in the country. Bill Elliott's lap of 212.809 mph in a Winston Cup car in 1987 still stands as the fastest qualifying lap in stock car history.

Lesser known records have been set on the same track. Among them is a world closed-course record for tractor-trailer trucks by John Ray, who turned the oval at 92.085 mph in a Kenworth on Aug. 9, 1975.

Maybe the oddest of all, though, is the one set by Johnny Lynn of Lumberton, N.C., who circled the big track at 55.755 mph in a Pontiac Firebird--in reverse.

Trivia time: Who was the last major league manager, before John Boles of the Florida Marlins, to never have played baseball professionally?

Only a little mess: Florida tailback Fred Taylor will miss all of September after the university suspended him for his minor role in a book-stealing scam. Coach Steve Spurrier told Ivan Maisel of the Sporting News that Taylor isn't a bad guy.

"There are all kinds of categories of messing up," Spurrier said. "There are violent acts and there are stupid acts. Most of Fred's have fallen into the stupid category."

Upstate upscale: Baseball's Hall of Fame is in quaint Cooperstown, N.Y., although historians claim the game's roots have much stronger ties to Hoboken, N.J. Columnist Joe Posnanski of Scripps Howard newspapers explains why the upstate New York village got the hall:

"Hoboken does not have darling little shops."

Selective signing: Kansas City quarterback Steve Bono threw three interceptions in a 10-7 playoff loss to Indianapolis seven months ago, and Chief fans are still smarting. As the team walked off the practice field in River Falls, Wis., a sweetly smiling woman in a flaming red Chief hat, pants and jacket stopped them for autographs.

"Here comes Steve Bono," said the man behind her.

"So who cares," she said.

Memories, memories: Minnesota Twin pitcher Frank Rodriguez remembers the first time he pitched in the big leagues, in a spring-training game against Baltimore.

"I struck out Cal Ripken and went back and called everybody I knew," he said. Last week, after striking out Ripken three times, he said, "I'm a little beyond that now."

Ouch! Having seen Tammy Faye Baker in attendance at Angel baseball games, Terry Boers of all-sports radio WSCR in Chicago says: "The Anaheim grounds crew must be exhausted by the fifth inning, having to drag both the infield and Tammy Faye's face."

Trivia answer: Ted Turner, who managed the Atlanta Braves for one game in 1977.

And finally: Harvey Meyer, writing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the St. Louis Rams and troubled rookie running back Lawrence Phillips, says, "Rumor has it Lawrence Phillips may walk, but Steve Ortmayer, who picked him in the first round, will serve a prison term for impersonating a general manager."

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