Earnhardt nears Winston Cup titleDale Earnhardt all but...

Sports briefly

November 04, 1991

Earnhardt nears Winston Cup title

Dale Earnhardt all but clinched his fifth NASCAR Winston Cup championship with a ninth-place finish yesterday, as Davey Allison overpowered the field for an easy victory in the Pyroil 500 in Phoenix. Earnhardt, the defending series champ, needs only to start the season finale on Nov. 17 at Atlanta Motor Speedway to nail down the title that will move him within two of seven-time champion Richard Petty. They are the only drivers to have won the title more than three times.

Allison, who came up with his second victory in a row and fifth of the year -- tying him with Harry Gant for the season-high -- dominated the second half of the 312-lap, 500-kilometer race on Phoenix International Raceway's one-mile oval. Allison took the lead for good on lap 147, passing Jimmy Spencer. The victory was enough to move Allison by Ricky Rudd into second place in the Winston Cup standings.

* Ayrton Senna won the shortest Formula One race ever run and led McLaren-Honda to the manufacturers championship when a

chaotic Australian Grand Prix was stopped after torrential rain in Adelaide caused a series of wild crashes. The street-course race was halted after 17 laps and called off an hour later as the heavy rain continued.

Under the rules, the standings after 14 laps were adapted as the official result. Drivers complained the race should not have been started. Nigel Mansell of Britain, who crashed on the 16th lap, was awarded second place in his Williams-Renault, ahead of Gerhard Berger of Austria in the second McLaren-Honda. Because less than 75 percent of the race was completed, only half the scheduled world championship points were awarded.

College football

Former Auburn football player Eric Ramsey got cash from assistant coaches and told one of them he received money from coach Pat Dye, according to secret tape recordings made by Ramsey. The Birmingham (Ala.) News published a copyrighted story that detailed the contents of a second batch of tapes released by Ramsey and his attorney.

The NCAA and Auburn are investigating Ramsey's allegations, which could result in penalties against the football program. In one taped conversation, Ramsey told secondary coach Steve Dennis that Dye gave him money. In others, former assistant coach Larry Blakeney, now coach at Troy State, agreed to help Ramsey arrange a payment from Birmingham advertising executive Don Kirkpatrick, an Auburn booster.

Tennis

Guy Forget of France rallied from a set down to beat former U.S. Open champion Pete Sampras, 7-6 (11-9), 4-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, and win the Paris Open. American Sampras and Forget are almost sure to be picked up to represent their countries in the Davis Cup championship matches Nov. 29-Dec.1 in Lyon, France.

Semipro football

Ron Meehan's 35-yard touchdown pass to Tom Minor with 11:17 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Baltimore Bears a 9-3 win over the Peninsula Poseidon in a Mason-Dixon Leauge semifinal played before a crowd of 5,717 at Newport News, Va., on Saturday. The Bears advance to Saturday's championship game against the Washington Stonewalls at Spingarn High School at 7 p.m. Meehan (Towson State) completed 20 of 33 for 218 yards.

Olympics

The NBA has agreed to pay for its players to travel with and play for the U.S. Olympic team at the 1992 Games. U.S. Olympic Committee deputy secretary general John Krimsky said about 80 percent of the mail being received by the USOC is from citizens concerned that the Olympic movement will be paying for the NBA players.

* After several weeks of controversy involving two high-ranking officials, the USOC board of directors unanimously approved the most detailed ethics rules in its history.

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