Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Sports digest

NASCAR nixes 'field fillers'

The Enquirer and wire reports

NASCAR should not have allowed Joe Ruttman to start the race at North Carolina Speedway and is examining ways to prevent unqualified "field fillers" from competing in the future, officials said.

Ruttman ran one lap of the Subway 400 on Sunday before NASCAR black-flagged him because he didn't have a pit crew to service his car. Ruttman earned $54,196 just for starting the race.

"The Joe Ruttman thing was sort of a sham," NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said Tuesday. "We always try to do the right thing, and since we had let it go that far, we let him start the race. However, that will not happen again."

With dwindling sponsor dollars, only 37 full-time Nextel Cup teams planned on competing in Rockingham, N.C., last weekend. That left six open spots in the field and made it possible for underfunded teams to attempt to make the race. Ruttman, a 60-year-old grandfather, had not raced in NASCAR's top series since 1995. He qualified 40th Friday, never attempted to practice in either of Saturday's sessions, and never tried to hide that his James Finch-owned team had no pit crew.

Basketball teams to be honored

Cincinnati vice mayor Alicia Reece will honor the Taft and Moeller basketball teams today at 2 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers. Moeller won the 2003-04 Enquirer Division I boys' basketball coaches' poll championship, and Taft won the Divisions II-IV poll title.


The St. Louis Blues on Tuesday fired coach Joel Quenneville and replaced him with assistant Mike Kitchen. Quenneville, the winningest coach in franchise history and the NHL's coach of the year for the 1999-2000 season, was let go as the Blues scrambled to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

The Blues are in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 29-23-7-2 record. Only the top eight teams make the playoffs.

Quenneville was the second NHL coach to be fired Tuesday. The Phoenix Coyotes fired Bob Francis earlier in the day and replaced him with assistant Rick Bowness. Phoenix has won just two of their past 14 games and, at 20-24-15-3, are in last place in the Pacific Division and 13th in the Western Conference.

• Canadiens 4, Senators 2: Steve Begin broke a 2-2 tie with :40.2 remaining.

• Flyers 3, 'Hawks 1: Former Blackhawk Alexei Zhamnov scored his first goal for Philadelphia.

• Bruins 0, Isles 0: Bad ice was the culprit in this scoreless tie. The start was delayed 90 minutes because of a hole in the ice around one of the goal creases.

• Flames 2, Avs 0: Martin Gelinas' goal on a deflection broke a scoreless tie with 2:19 remaining, and Miikka Kiprusoff had 26 saves.

AHL MIGHTY DUCKS: Anaheim assigned defenseman Chris Armstrong to Cincinnati. Armstrong, 28, appeared in four games with Anaheim this season, recording one assist. He has six goals and 24 assists in 46 games with Cincinnati. Cincinnati recalled left wing Brian Gornick from ECHL San Diego. Gornick, 23, has one goal and one assist in 22 games with Cincinnati.

Track and field

BRITON BANNED: British sprinter Dwain Chambers was suspended for two years and banned for life from the Olympics, the first athlete punished for testing positive for the designer steroid THG. THG, which was undetectable until last year, is at the center of the scandal surrounding a San Francisco-area lab accused of supplying dozens of professional athletes with banned substances. Chambers' coach, Barry Bonds' personal trainer and two others were indicted.

College football

ACC 3, BIG EAST 0: The Atlantic Coast Conference defeated the Big East in court for the third time in four months. A Connecticut judge has dismissed all claims against the ACC, its commissioner and officers in a lawsuit filed by four Big East schools over the ACC's expansion. A lawyer for the Big East schools said there will be an appeal.


BRASIL OPEN: Top-seeded Carlos Moya and second-seeded Nicolas Massu were upset in the first round. Moya fell to Tomas Behrend 6-3, 6-3. Massu, ranked No. 13, was beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Juan Monaco.

DUBAI OPEN: Petra Mandula upset sixth-seeded Jelena Dokic 6-1, 6-2.

OPEN 13: Alberto Martin defeated third-seeded Paradorn Srichaphan 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 in Marseille, France.


AMATEUR GOLF: The individual winners of the men's and women's NCAA Division I Championships will earn an exemption into the next U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women's Amateur championships, the United States Golf Association announced.

BOXING: John Ruiz, 23, is officially the World Boxing Association heavyweight champion. Ruiz's interim tag was removed now that Roy Jones Jr. has relinquished the belt to remain the WBC light heavyweight champ.

HORSE RACING: A 2-year-old colt sired by 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus sold for a record $4.5 million at the Fasig-Tipton auction at Calder.


Holy Cross girls' basketball team is No. 1 in the Enquirer's Northern Kentucky coaches' poll. A headline on page B1 was incorrect in some editions Tuesday.

The Big Red Time Machine
Meet the Reds: Cory Lidle
Offseason workouts give Harang healthier outlook
ESPN plans movie on Pete Rose (ONLINE EXTRA POLL)
Sosa won't discuss steroids situation

ONLINE EXTRA: Bengals e-mail Q&A
Bailey drawing interest

ONLINE EXTRA: Whaley, UC both frustrated
Daugherty: Whaley heard, but didn't listen
C-USA title within grasp of Bearcats
No welcome mat at Bonnies' home
Women's hoops column: Bearcats winning despite loss of Merrill
Smith exhorts Wildcats
Guard Hausfeld emerges as MU defensive threat
Top 25: No. 3 Panthers dispatch Hoyas
Hanover beats Lions in HCAC Tournament

Edgewood coach is learning a new game
Towers power Amazons
Bulldogs clamp down
Tuesday's other Ohio games
Tuesday's other Kentucky games
Prep sports results, schedule

NBA: Nets' win streak hits 14 games
Sports digest
Sports on TV, radio

What are the Reds' chances of winning the NL Central?