Racing Panel Lifts Suspensions for Owner, Driver

From Staff and Wire Reports

NASCAR driver Ken Schrader and car owner Joe Hendrick won't be suspended, after all.

A three-member panel lifted their four-race suspensions Tuesday, deciding instead to fine Schrader and Hendrick $5,000 each.

The suspensions, for using an illegal carburetor during qualifying for the Pepsi 400, were scheduled to start with Sunday's race at Loudon, N.H. But a National Stock Car Racing Commission panel reversed the ruling after listening to arguments from Winston Cup director Gary Nelson, Schrader and other team representatives.

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Darrell Alderman, two-time National Hot Rod Assn. pro-stock champion, who was suspended indefinitely last year after pleading guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, has been reinstated effective Jan. 2, 1994.

The suspension, which began Jan. 2, 1992, prohibits the Morehead, Ky., driver from driving, owning or participating in any NHRA-sanctioned event.

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Finnish driver Juha Piironen, 42, was in intensive care in Argentina after undergoing surgery for a blood clot from his brain a day after he collapsed in his hotel room.

Pro Football

The agreement between NFL players and owners took another twist when the top eight teams from last season were given approval to extend offer sheets to other teams' franchise and transition players.

Under the so-called "Rooney Rule," those eight teams were forbidden to bid on the league's best players during years when there is no salary cap. They could only sign a free agent if they lost a free agent of similar value. But after a rule change set compensation for franchise players at two first-round draft picks, management agreed to allow the change.

Drew Bledsoe, the top pick in the NFL draft, discovered a rich detour around salary caps when he signed an unprecedented contract with the New England Patriots worth $14.5 million.

Bledsoe, a 6-foot-5 quarterback from Washington State, signed a six-year deal that becomes a three-year deal if he starts in 10 games in his third season or has 40 total starts in his first three seasons. So, besides receiving a $4.5-million bonus, Bledsoe will also be able to become a free agent in three years if he is reasonably successful.

Names in the News

Vivian Stringer, Iowa's women's basketball team, signed a new five-year contract worth $117,872 per year. . . . Jacqueline Hullah, who led the women's basketball team at Dartmouth to five consecutive Ivy League championships, was hired to coach the women's team at Arizona State. . . . Ken Bannister scored 35 points on 14-of-15 shooting to help the Miami Tropics retain their U.S. Basketball League title with a 139-127 victory over the Westchester Stallions in Milford, Conn. . . . Dennis Byrd, whose NFL career ended last season when he suffered a broken neck, signed to be a CBS analyst.

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