Sunday, October 5, 2003

NASCAR notebook: Rumors concerning retirement swirl

Enquirer news services

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The Winston Cup garage is rife with rumors about Bill Elliott's possible retirement, but Elliott himself says it's still too early to announce his plans for 2004 and beyond.

"There's too much going on to say anything right now," Elliott said.

There apparently are several scenarios in play, but at this point, none of them has Elliott walking away from the sport at the end of this season. He is expected either to run the full season next year for car owner Ray Evernham or to run a limited schedule - possibly five major events.

Elliott's plans hinge on several factors, including what Evernham does with Elliott's team car, the No. 19 Dodge now driven by Jeremy Mayfield. Evernham said there are no firm plans in place yet for either of his two teams.

"We hope to have it settled by the time we roll into Atlanta," Evernham said. "But right now we're concentrating on it race by race, trying to win some races here."

He said if Elliott, who turns 48 Wednesday, wants to run a limited schedule next season, it's fine with him.

"Whatever Bill decides to do, I'm going to support him 100 percent," Evernham said.

One of those who has been mentioned as a candidate for a ride in an Evernham Dodge is Busch Series driver Kasey Kahne, who is under contract with Ford and is considered one of the manufacturer's top prospects for the future.

Kahne said he has talked with Evernham and some other top Cup owners, including Joe Gibbs and Richard Childress.

"There's been some interest," Kahne said. "And I definitely have to talk to people with interest, because as a driver, Winston Cup is where you want to be."

FORD DROPS NO. 77: Ford Racing has terminated its contract with Jasper Motorsports because the team competed at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend in a Dodge.

The automaker said it was repossessing all its equipment from the No. 77 team immediately and would cease using driver Dave Blaney in promotions.

"What happened at Talladega was unacceptable," said Greg Specht, manager of Ford Racing Operations. "To be a Ford team, you have to run a Ford."

Jasper co-owner Mark Harrah said he called Specht prior to Talladega to inform Ford the team was considering using a Dodge. He said he was warned it would be a breach of contract, but Harrah said the minimal support Jasper receives from Ford did not outweigh the benefits the team thought it would receive from running a Dodge.

Blaney finished 17th Sunday at Talladega using the Dodge Intrepid.

BUSCH SERIES: David Green led just one lap down the stretch, and that was all he needed to win Saturday at Kansas Speedway and retake the lead in the Busch series points.

Green won a wild one-lap shootout, passing Bobby Hamilton Jr. after a restart to win the Mr. Goodcents 300.

Kevin Harvick, who won two weeks ago at Dover, was second and Greg Biffle was third.

Bleak Bengals days are left behind
Krumrie brings intensity, passion to Buffalo
Bledsoe, Bills obstacles to a Bengals win streak
Broncos' Plummer has been on a roll
Injured Holcomb can't haunt Steelers
NFL power rankings

Less is plenty for A's, Twins
Daugherty: Let Junior move on
Five steps Reds should take
Five ways things went wrong
Savvy GM candidates will ask these questions
Reds Q&A with John Fay
Marlins vs. Giants: Florida wins series 3-1
Braves 6, Cubs 4
Yankees 3, Twins 1
Red Sox 3, Athletics 1 (11)

Southern Miss 22, UC 20
Miami 45, Akron 20
Career day at WR for ex-QB Busing
No. 13 Texas 24, No. 16 Kansas State 20
No. 23 Iowa 30, No. 9 Michigan 27
Navy 28, Air Force 25
No. 17 Northern Illinois 30, Ohio 23, OT
Top 25 roundup: A Manning finally wins in Florida
Scores, how the Top 25 fared
MSJ wins Heartland opener 17-13
Quarterback corner

State, national polls include local flavor
Awards abound for stellar performances
Dayton Belmont topples Taft
Holy Cross 54, Dayton 0
Kings takes 'Father Rudy' title
Saturday's results

It ain't over till it's over
What do you think?
TMC women's soccer has come long way
Enquirer Page Two power rankings

Semifinal finality: Germany is next

Trusted UC trainer packs his bags for Marquette

Toney too much for aging Holyfield

For Gordon, there's no place like Kansas
NASCAR notebook: Rumors concerning retirement swirl

Woods' lead dwindles to 2

Perfect Soul rallies at Keeneland

Sports on TV, radio