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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

Maybe Dave Will Try Out Some Stupid Racing Tricks

October 30, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

David Letterman is chartering a jet and bringing his "Late Night" staff from New York for Sunday's CART race, the Marlboro 500, at the California Speedway.

It is a special occasion for Letterman, co-owner of Team Rahal, because his partner, Bobby Rahal, is retiring as a driver after the race.

Letterman, however, would be wise to watch from afar.

Ten reasons he should not be in the pits:

10. Smoking cigars on Gasoline Alley could be hazardous to his health.

9. He will be embarrassed when everyone finds out his mother can change a tire faster than he can.

8. Paul Shaffer will want to sing "Back Home in Fontana."

7. Cars traveling 230 mph could bring back unpleasant memories of his speeding tickets.

6. Rahal's crew might be encouraged to perform "Stupid Human Tricks" during a pit stop.

5. His presence will remind Rahal he hasn't won a race since Letterman became his partner.

4. He will discover Rahal wants to replace him with Billy Crystal.

3. Larry "Bud" Melman couldn't get a pit pass away from Chris Economaki.

2. Methanol fumes might make him as spacey as Farrah Fawcett.

1. The hum of the engines sounds too much like Uma-Oprah, Oprah-Uma.

*

On the day of the news conference to announce he had signed with the New York Mets, Mike Piazza told a reporter:

"My ties with the Dodger fan base were very good. But with the organization, there were never any amicable discussions. It was always stormy and confrontational.

". . . I never felt like they wanted to get close to me. They didn't want to take advantage of what I had done. I don't know if it's just that they didn't like me or what. But I never pictured myself being in such a confrontational situation there."

Piazza was in the middle of the negotiations, so he knows better than I do. But if the Dodgers offered me $79 million for six years, which is more per year than Piazza eventually received from the Mets, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't characterize that particular discussion as stormy.

That, however, is not the funny thing about Piazza's comments. The funny thing is that he made them to the New York newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch.

*

Paul Hackett's "I'm the coach, you're not" declaration makes him appear more defensive in print than he sounds in person. . . .

He was razzed mercilessly by one member of USC's Monday Morning Quarterback Club for the fourth-down, field-goal call against Oregon but took it well. . . .

"Those are the true fans," he said. . . .

Hackett shouldn't be too concerned about second- guessing. . . .

The last coach of a Pacific 10 football team in Los Angeles who heard a lot of that because of his strategy has won 16 consecutive games. . . .

Forgive Jim Colbert if he's distracted during Saturday's second round of the Pacific Bell Senior Classic at Wilshire Country Club. . . .

He will be anxious for updates in the Kansas State game. He's a former Wildcat quarterback and linebacker. . . .

Who is Kansas State playing this week? Emporia State? . . .

The strength of schedule component in the bowl championship series rankings should factor in how strong your opponents were on the day you played them, not on subsequent Saturdays. . . .

For instance, the Oregon Ducks aren't as good now as they were against UCLA because of the loss of tailback Reuben Droughns. . . .

The Bruins shouldn't be penalized in the rankings if Oregon falters. . . .

USC's 12 NCAA champion baseball teams will be honored this weekend. Among players expected to attend who went on to greatness as pros are Fred Lynn and Anthony Munoz. . . .

Munoz, of course, became a Hall of Famer in football, but he also appeared in six games for the Trojans as a relief pitcher in 1978. . . .

After Cavonnier, the sentimental and betting favorite, was scratched from Saturday's California Cup Classic at Santa Anita because of an injury, his owner, Robert H. Walter, said, "You have to have the constitution of the United States to stay in this business." . . .

Another celebrity who has a financial investment in one of the cars in the Marlboro 500 is Paul Newman. Or is it Newman from "Seinfeld"? I always get those two confused.

*

While wondering if Mark Ridley-Thomas will finally get some credit for never wavering in his support for the New Coliseum, I was thinking: Mike Holmgren is even smarter coaching against the 49ers than he was for them, Mark McGwire should announce he's not going to use androstenedione anymore even if baseball doesn't ban it, Peter O'Malley won't miss going to the office after the year the Dodgers have had.

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