After a rainy night in Georgia, driver Tony Pedregon expected the final eliminations of the funny-car division of the National Hot Rod Assn.'s Southern Nationals to be postponed, so he decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo -- albeit two days late -- with a lunch of rice, beans and a T-bone steak topped with eggs.
"I'd never eat something like that before a race," he told Times reporter Martin Henderson. "We like to go lean and mean."
But when he returned to the track, he was informed the race was on. After a first-round victory, and while battling indigestion, he beat -- in succession -- three cars owned by John Force, for whom Pedregon won the funny car championship in 2003. It was the first time in series history anyone had defeated three cars from the same team.
Pedregon's victory over Robert Hight in the final was the second-fastest side-by-side race in class history. His victory over Force in the second round was the fastest.
"I've officially switched my race-day meal from Wheaties to \o7huevos rancheros\f7," said Pedregon, from Chino Hills. "I'll be calling to see if they deliver."
Trivia time: On this date in 1931, Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder Babe Herman hit for the cycle for the first of three times in his big league career. Six other Dodgers have hit for the cycle, but who did it last?
More Babe: On July 24 of the same season, Herman hit for the cycle again. His third cycle, which would tie him for the major league record with Bob Meusel of the New York Yankees and Cincinnati's John Reilly, came while he was a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1933.
Bite your tongue: Imagine the cast of TV's "American Idol" as portrayed by sports figures. That's what Peter McEntegart of SI.com did, casting Mark Cuban, controversial owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as acerbic judge Simon Cowell:
"Both speak their mind (on warblers or whistle-blowers) no matter who it offends, both are filthy rich and both favor jeans and tight black T-shirts designed to show off their pecs," McEntegart wrote. "The one difference is that Cowell's reality show is much more popular than Cuban's ('The Benefactor') was."
A little more: After diminutive quarterback Doug Flutie, 43, announced his retirement from football after 21 seasons as a pro, Greg Cote of the Miami Herald wrote: "They plan to present him with a rocking chair, along with a step stool so he can reach it."
Trivia answer: Wes Parker is the only Dodger to hit for the cycle since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1958, accomplishing it with a 10th-inning triple on May 7, 1970, against the New York Mets in Shea Stadium.
Futility: Not counting the San Diego Padres, Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who have \o7never\f7 had a player hit for the cycle, the team behind the Dodgers with the next-longest dry streak is the Baltimore Orioles, who haven't accomplished the feat since Cal Ripken Jr. on May 6, 1984.
And finally: On Barry Bonds telling reporters that he is haunted by the ghost of Babe Ruth, Conan O'Brien said, "Yeah, then someone explained to Barry that the boos he hears aren't from a ghost."