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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Say It 10 Times Real Fast and You Hit the Wall

August 08, 2000|MIKE TERRY

Darlington Raceway officials have put out a radio campaign for the Southern 500 that could be as difficult as driving the track.

The South Carolina track's radio spots challenge listeners to say "Time to Buy Tickets to the Track Too Tough to Tame Where I'll Try to Tackle the Title of Track Champ."

Saying that is "tougher than running the track," driver Rusty Wallace says.

Drivers such as Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte and the Burton brothers, Ward and Jeff, will be seen on TV commercials and heard on radio spots trying the slogan.

"We've always been known for being the toughest," Darlington Raceway President Jim Hunter said. "We just thought we'd have a little fun with our fans by creating a tough challenge for them. Just like the track, when you look at it, it seems like it would be easy. But then when you try to face it, or say it, it's another story."

Hunter said the track will give away tickets for the Sept. 3 race to listeners who can tame the tongue-twister. "Our advertising campaign has received so much good response," Hunter said. "We decided to take it one step further."

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Trivia question: Which former Laker executive has the most pro basketball championship rings?

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Fourth and long: Gil LeBreton of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram argues it's time for the NFL to eliminate the exhibition American Bowl game in Japan. And not only because the Cowboys, who lost to Atlanta, are 0-7-1 in the games.

"The good people of Japan might be too polite to admit it, but they're probably tired of the NFL sending them bad preseason fish and charging Kobe steak prices," LeBreton said. "If the NFL really wants to spread its goodwill, it should schedule one annual regular-season game across the seas. The people of Japan would acknowledge the difference. Or is the league too busy selling American Bowl T-shirts to notice?"

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Dollar sign of the times: Brown's football team was ruled ineligible for this year's Ivy League championship because some coaches, alumni and staff violated financial-aid rules. The Council of Ivy Group Presidents increased the penalties against the university for the recruiting violations at a recent meeting. It is the first time the council ruled an Ivy League school ineligible for the championship.

Brown, which finished last season with the same record as Yale to become the Ivy League co-champion, cannot appeal the decision.

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That tottering town: Chicago Sun-Times columnist Ron Rapoport writes that the Bulls' failure to attract premier free agents is giving outsiders free shots at the organization.

"Bashing the Bulls these days is like going to a delicatessen. You've got to take a number," Rapoport said. "For example Anthony Kiedis, vocalist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, interrupted a [recent] show here to say, 'Thank you, Chicago, for sending Phil Jackson to Los Angeles.' Then he unfurled a large Lakers banner and said, 'Did I thank you, Chicago, for sending us Phil Jackson? And oh, yeah, hello, Ron Mercer!' "

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Trivia answer: Bill Sharman with 13. He has four rings as a player with the Boston Celtics and three as a coach with the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League, the Utah Stars of the ABA and the Lakers. He got his remaining six rings as general manager, president and consultant with the Lakers.

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And finally: From Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel: "Those 15-minute 'live' phone calls to Barry Bonds were auctioned on eBay for $481 and $455 each. Heck, I'd pay more than that to talk to Marcel Marceau."

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