Auto racing

WALTRIP SELLING RACE TEAM: Three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip is selling his race team and could end up out of the cockpit.

The 51-year-old Waltrip, in his eighth season as an owner-driver, said he will sell the team based in Charlotte, N.C., after Sunday's race at Darlington, S.C.

"I've tried it and it hasn't worked (as an owner-driver)," Waltrip said Tuesday at a practice session at Nashville Speedway.

Waltrip, in the midst of the worst season of his 27-year career, said the new owner will determine if he remains as the team's driver.

Waltrip said problems with sponsors have distracted him from the sport.

Last week, Waltrip dropped his primary sponsor, Speedblock Inc. of Kent, Ohio, in a contract dis-pute.

Waltrip is 40th in the driver standings. He has finished 33rd at Daytona, 41st at Rockingham, 35th at Las Vegas and 40th at Atlanta.

He has never finished worse than 29th in the driver standings on stock car racing's premier circuit. He has won 84 races, but none since September 1992. He has not finished better than fourth since 1995.


BUZZ TICKETS: Individual game tickets for the 1998 Salt Lake Buzz baseball season will go on sale beginning Monday, March 23 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Franklin Quest Field box office, any Smith's Tix location or by calling 1-800-888-TIXX. Tickets will be available for all regular season home games including opening day, holidays and fireworks shows.

Ticket prices for the upcoming season will remian the same for the fifth consecutive year. Field level seats are $7, club level seats are $6 and general reserved seats are $5. Students, senior citizens and children 12 and under are entitled to discounts in the general reserved section.

The Salt Lake Buzz open the Pacific Coast League season against Tacoma at Franklin Quest Field on Tuesday, April 7.


PICABO'S PROGNOSIS: The agent for skier Picabo Street, who suffered serious leg injuries last week in Switzerland, said she might miss all of next season.

It is too soon to make any decisions about the future, said agent Brad Hunt, who is based in Boulder. But Hunt on Wednesday conceded it is conceivable Street might never race again.

Hunt said he has recommended she avoid interviews until she has made some decisions.

The Olympic super-G gold medalist suffered a broken left femur and ruptured right anterior cruciate knee ligament Friday at the World Cup Finals.

She has been at the Vail Valley Medical Center, in the care of Dr. Richard Steadman, since Sunday.

Street injured her left knee in December 1996 and rehabilitated it faster than anyone expected, in time for the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, last month.

But Hunt said she may take a different approach this time, with the next Olympics four years away, even if it means missing the 1999 world championships in Vail.

"One thing she needs to incorporate into her thinking right now is a rehabilitation time frame that she dictates, rather than being dictated for her by an Olympic schedule," Hunt said.


BUCS SIGN SAPP TO BIG $: Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Warren Sapp became the highest paid defensive player in NFL history, signing a six-year, $36 million deal that includes a signing bonus of more than $8 million.

Sapp's contract eclipses the total value of a deal free agent Dana Stubblefield received from Washington by $50,000.

The deal also makes Sapp the second highest-paid defensive player in average annual salary behind Minnesota's John Randle, another free agent tackle who re-signed for $32.5 million over five years.

INSTANT REPLAY: As it has been for more than a decade, instant replay will be the centerpiece of the the NFL meetings.

NFL spokesman Joe Browne said during a conference call that the competition committee, which last week to prepare for the meetings that start Sunday in Orlando, Fla., will recommend a replay proposal to the owners.

Last year, the annual attempt to restore instant replay was rejected when it got 20 votes from the 30 teams, three short of the 23 votes needed. This year, there are four proposals - from the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and the league office.

COTA TO SAINTS? The Carolina Panthers cleared the way for safety Chad Cota, their leading tackler in 1997, to join the New Orleans Saints in a deal that will pay him $5.4 million over three years.

The Panthers declined to match the offer sheet the restricted free agent signed with the Saints last week.


BLUES SIGN FUHR, MCLENNAN: The St. Louis Blues signed goalies Grant Fuhr and Jamie McLennan to undisclosed contract extensions.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Fuhr's deal was believed to be for two or three years at more than his current salary of $2.4 million a year. The newspaper said McLennan's deal was for $1.3 million over two years.

General manager Larry Pleau also said star right wing Brett Hull and defenseman Al MacInnis, both unrestricted free agents after this season, have rejected three-year deals.


OKLAHOMA A.D. RESIGNS: Steve Owens resigned as Oklahoma's athletic director, less than two years after the 1969 Heisman winner took the job.

Owens' family was rocked last fall by the suicide of his oldest son, Blake. Owens wound up taking an extended leave of absence and only returned to the job at the start of this year.

High schools


COMMITS TO STANFORD: Judge Memorial star guard Tony Giovacchini has verbally committed to play basketball for Stanford, turning down a scholarship offer from Utah among other schools.

Giovacchini, a Deseret News first-team all-stater, led the Bulldogs in points, assists and rebounds. He averaged 20.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.5 assists a game this season for Judge, which was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

The 6-foot-2 Giovacchini, who has a 3.5 GPA, was perhaps the heaviest recruited Utah basketball player this year. Utah State, Santa Clara, Oklahoma, Gonzaga and Boston College were among the other schools interested.