Reading time, two minutes: A friend once gained relief in the courts when his "one-owner used car" deal turned out to be a barely reconditioned squad car of the New York Police Department. A similar story was provided by Donnie Allison during a recent stock car race on the telly. Back in the days when drivers didn't have tire contracts, Allison says the boys used to go to Sears for a set of tires on a Friday, race 'em over the weekend and show up Monday complaining about lousy tire wear. "It went on for years and they never caught on," said Donnie.
* Fisticuffs at the Convention Center in Washington tonight (7:30) has Darryl Tyson (34-3) and Alfredo Rojas (19-5) in the main 10. Rojas' nickname is "Scarface" and other handles on the card include "Too Sweet," "Too Sharp," "Special K," "Mean Machine" and, of course, "Mad Dog."
* Orioles president Larry Lucchino says the team "will bring the same commitment to the Collier County [spring training] project that we have demonstrated in the design and development of our new ballpark at Camden Yards." In other words, if the folks in South Florida are lucky, the O's will call all the shots while tossing about 15 cents into the Kitty.
* A whopping 72 Division I men and women, including Gary Foster of Towson State, made Volvo's Tennis/Scholar Athlete Team, meaning they carried a grade-point average of at least 3.5. Question is, did football and basketball combined have so many?
Team USA already has its schedule for the hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics next February and our lads have all but been byed into the medal round considering their bracket foes.
* When he was in these parts at the Kemper Open, U.S. Ryder Cup team captain Dave Stockton said he'd be taking Curtis Strange as one of his two free selections for the 12-man competition in September. Hopefully, he'll reconsider as Strange continues slumping while old standbys like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Lee Trevino have been impressive.
* In its last season before joining Big Ten hoops, Penn State is cup-caking it with UMBC, Morgan, Drexel, Miami (O), Buffalo, Lafayette, Cleveland State, Columbia, Toledo, etc. How would you like to be in charge of selling season tickets?
* The decade-old Vitalis Meadowlands Invitational, long one of the premier stops on the indoor track tour because of LTC consistently fine performances by the athletes, has folded its tent. No need to tell you why.
* Reportedly, John McEnroe's deal with the Sovran Tennis Classic was $100,000 appearance money, $25,000 per win, plus regular tourney prize money. The fact he won only one match saved the tourney a few bucks, but his departure put a dent in late-week ticket sales, too.
* About 40 billion baseball cards are being dumped on the collecting market this year, which should stop a few thousand of you who were considering taking the plunge.
* You have to like the candidness of the four members of baseball's 300-save club when asked if they could have been effective as starters. Rollie Fingers answered, "Not me, I had no chance." Bruce Sutter: "No. I only had one pitch." Goose Gossage: "I really had only one pitch and I'm a real slow learner." Jeff Reardon: "I don't know, but I can't go more than two innings today."
* Imagine the reaction of legendary Yankees like Ruth, Gehrig, Huggins, et al to the current team making such a big deal over arriving at .500.
* Cheering thought: Only 99 more days until the start of the NBA's 99-year (seeming) season, running Nov. 1 to April 18.
Speaking of which, TNT is going to give pro hoop fans an excellent opportunity to get sick of watching such teams as the Celtics, Bulls, Spurs, Lakers and Pistons, all scheduled for 10 appearances next season, while keeping nearly half the teams (12), including the Bullets, restricted to one showing.
* Let's hear it for Ralph Bogart, nine-time Maryland Amateur champion who, at age 71, shot 72 and qualified.