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THE INSIDE TRACK | NEWSWIRE

Caution Works for Zanardi in CART Win at Australia

October 19, 1998|From Staff and Wire Reports

Italy's Alex Zanardi won the wreck-filled Honda Australian IndyCarnival Sunday, holding off Scotland's Dario Franchitti after taking the lead during a pit-road battle at Surfers Paradise, Australia.

The race, shortened to two hours and 62 laps because of the high number of accidents, finished under a yellow caution flag. It was the seventh CART FedEx series victory for Zanardi, who clinched his second consecutive series title early last month. Zanardi trailed pole-winner Franchitti by less than a second when the top 13 cars pitted under a 13th-lap caution. When the race resumed, Zanardi, driving a Target/Chip Ganassi Reynard Honda, took over the lead and finished in 2 hours 1 minute 51.2 seconds.

"The problem was the first pit spot where we let Alex get track position," Franchitti said. "It went downhill from there."

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Cory McClenathan won the top-fuel competition in the rain-delayed Parts America Nationals at Topeka, Kan., beating Kenny Bernstein with a quarter-mile run of 6.289 seconds at 279.93 mph. The event, postponed two weeks ago because of rain, was delayed seven hours Saturday by thunderstorms and did not begin the finals until early Sunday morning.

Ron Capps raced to his fifth funny-car victory of the season, beating Al Hofmann in the final with a run of 5.111 seconds at 285.53 mph in the Copenhagen Camaro. Warren Johnson claimed his eighth pro-stock victory of the season to clinch his fourth series championship when he defeated Jeg Coughlin with a run of 6.943 seconds at 197.67 mph.

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Dennis Setzer won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series Dodge California Truck Stop 300, taking the lead with 11 laps left and holding off series leader Jack Sprague by 0.990 seconds at Bakerfield, Calif. Setzer replaced Bob Keselowski last month when Keselowski voluntarily stepped out of the family-owned truck.

Basketball

In a critical ruling for the NBA and the union, arbitrator John Feerick decides today whether more than 200 players with guaranteed contracts should be paid during the lockout. If the players win, the owners will be liable for about $800 million in guaranteed salaries, although they have vowed to appeal if they lose. The league already has sued the players over Feerick's jurisdiction.

Most players are due to receive their first paychecks Nov. 15, although a dozen or so had clauses entitling them to be paid over the summer. None has received a paycheck.

"If we win, I think it just emboldens the spirit and resolve of the players," NBA union director Billy Hunter said. "But I don't think there will be anybody celebrating because there's no guarantee that it will end the lockout.

"It only means they have to pay some 200 players, and they've indicated to us their intent to file an immediate appeal and take it as far as they have to in order to avoid payment.

"So even if he does rule in our favor, at most it's a hollow victory. The players aren't going to get paid Nov. 15 in any circumstance."

If the owners win, it will remove the last wild card the players had been holding.

It's unlikely any negotiations will be held this week, since the union is holding a meeting for all NBA players and the agents advisory committee in Las Vegas.

Figure Skating

Michelle Kwan, showing off her new short haircut and a new short program to music from the opera "Carmen," easily won the U.S. Pro Figure Skating Classic at San Jose. On the men's side, Canadian Kurt Browning outskated Todd Eldredge. "I just felt like I had to change the way I looked, and I felt the best way to do it--without doing anything extreme--was to cut my hair," Kwan said.

Miscellany

Former world super-lightweight champion Frankie Randall stopped Juan Soberanes of Mexico after six rounds of their welterweight fight at Mesquite, Nev. Randall raised his record to 55-5-1 with 42 knockouts. Soberanes fell to 44-20-2 with 32 knockouts.

The University of Virginia's Peggy Boutilier, female collegiate lacrosse player of the year in 1997 and '98, won the NCAA's woman-of-the-year award. Boutilier was selected from a group of 10 finalists, nominated for "outstanding achievement in athletics, academics and community leadership." UCLA shotput-discus performer Nada Kawar and Arizona State golfer Kellee Booth were among the finalists.

A $70,000 sport-utility vehicle registered in Chris Webber's name was impounded when a U.S. Secret Service officer stopped an unidentified driver a few blocks from the White House. Webber, an NBA player traded from Washington to Sacramento, was not in the car but claimed the vehicle when contacted by police.

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