Sports Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Solstice Grand Prix Saturday and Sunday

The Alaska Sports Car Club is sponsoring Solstice Grand Prix Sports Car Racing Saturday and Sunday at the Soldotna airport.

Racing starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the event is free.

The ASCC Autocross is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. Drivers interested in participating in the run-your-own-car event need to report to the airport by 3 p.m. or sooner for a quick safety check and tech inspection. The contact for the inspection is Heather, who also will be racing during the day.

Autocross participants need to have a Snell 90-rated helmet. An extra helmet or two may be around for the event, but race organizers can't guarantee their availability.

For more information on the Grand Prix or the Autocross, contact Curt at (907) 376-2888.

Five-kilometer run/walk Saturday in Old Town Kenai

The Kenai Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring a five-kilometer Solstice Fun Run/Walk Saturday at 10 p.m. in Old Town Kenai.

The starting line is at the corner of Cook Avenue by the Peninsula Oilers building.

The event is free to those who would not like a T-shirt; registration for participants who would like a T-shirt is $15.

Registration forms may be obtained at the Kenai Recreation Center. Participants may register on-site at 9 p.m. Saturday. Race-day registration will take place behind the Kenai Fine Arts Center.

For more information, contact the the recreation department at 283-3855.

Rotary Midnight Scramble at Birch Ridge

The Rotary Midnight Scramble tees off June 24 at the Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna.

Teams for the 18-hole scramble will be drawn prior to the 5:30 p.m. start. The field will be limited to 72 golfers. Play will end at midnight.

All participants will receive a T-shirt and various prized will be awarded, including a chance to win an automobile for sinking a hole-in-one.

The barbecue is included in the $62 entry fee.

For more information or to make reservations, contact the Birch Ridge Golf Course at 262-5270.

Messier left unprotected for expansion draft

NEW YORK -- Mark Messier, Claude Lemieux and Rick Tocchet were among the players made available by their teams for the NHL expansion draft on June 23.

The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild, who both begin play next season, will fill out their rosters by selecting 26 players apiece in the draft. Columbus has the first pick.

The 39-old Messier, who has played on six Stanley Cup winners, spent last season with the Vancouver Canucks.

Lemieux, who helped the New Jersey Devils win their second Stanley Cup this season, was among 22 Devils left unprotected. Others included forwards Sylvain Cloutier and Sergei Nemchinov.

Tocchet, who helped Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference finals, was one of 26 Flyers made available. Other Flyers include forward Craig Berube, defenseman Ulf Samuelsson and goalie John Vanbiesbrouck.

Other players made available include: defensemen Marty McSorley (Boston), Paul Coffey (Carolina); and Sylvain Cote (Dallas); forwards Doug Gilmour (Buffalo), Bob Probert (Chicago), Guy Carbonneau (Dallas), Joe Kocur and Igor Larionov (Detroit); Dave Andreychuk (Colorado); Stephane Richer (St. Louis), and Wendel Clark (Toronto); and goalies Grant Fuhr (Calgary), Tom Barrasso (Ottawa) and Sean Burke (Phoenix).

Odd doubleheader for Mets, Yanks

NEW YORK -- This is Ernie Banks' dream, taken one step further.

Banks loved doubleheaders because they meant he could play two games in one day. Now, the Mets and Yankees are about to play two in one day, but in two different New York ballparks.

With all parties agreeing Tuesday, a June rainout will become part of a unique baseball bonanza for New York: A day game between the Mets and Yankees at Shea Stadium on July 8, followed a few hours later by a night game between the same teams, 10 miles away at Yankee Stadium.

Erving makes plea for info on missing son

SANFORD, Fla. -- Julius Erving pleaded for help in finding his 19-year-old son, who has a history of drug problems and has been missing since May 28.

''This bad dream has gone on for 16 days now ... 16 bad days,'' the basketball great said Tuesday. ''We are in dire need of help.''

A $25,000 reward was offered for the safe return of Cory Marvin Erving, who was last seen by his family when he went to a Lake Mary shopping mall, about 20 miles from Orlando.

Sampras rallies to victory

LONDON -- It took Pete Sampras a little while to remember he was back on grass.

Following a so-so clay-court season that ended with his first-round exit at the French Open, Sampras returned to his favorite surface Tuesday. It wasn't pretty, at least at in the beginning.

Tuning up for his bid for a seventh Wimbledon title, Sampras rallied from a set and a break down to beat Britain's Arvind Parmar at the Queen's Club grass-court tournament.

Sampras got off to a slow start against the unheralded Parmar and looked in danger of being upset. But he pulled his game together and escaped with a 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-3 win.

Janikowski acquitted on bribery charges

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A jury needed only 50 minutes Tuesday to acquit former Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski of a charge he tried to bribe a policeman to release his roommate.

Janikowski, the first-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders, was accused of offering the officer $300 to release his friend, who had been arrested on a trespassing charge after not being allowed into a nightclub.

The defense argued that the 22-year-old native of Poland was simply trying to help out a friend and never had any intention of breaking the law. They contended Janikowski might easily have misunderstood what was happening because he's only been in the country for six years and is still learning English.

But the prosecution's lead witness, former Tallahassee police Officer Chris Knight, said he was convinced Janikowski tried to bribe him on Jan. 23 with three $100 bills.

''He started counting it out to me, smiling,'' testified Knight, who recently left the Tallahassee Police Department and now works for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Janikowski, a key member of the national champion Seminoles, faced up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine and deportation if convicted.

Assistant state attorney Lee Jantzen called two witnesses, including Knight, who was working off duty as a bouncer at the club.

''You don't just throw money at a police officer without some kind of an arrangement,'' Jantzen said in his closing argument.

But the defense said Janikowski thought he could keep his roommate, Aaron Silverman, 26, from going to jail by paying a fine on the spot.

''On that evidence, I just couldn't see how that jury could return a verdict of guilty with the doubt that permeated this whole thing,'' defense attorney Deeno Kitchen said. ''You'd have to believe he's a liar and a perjurer.''

At one point, the 255-pound Janikowski broke down on the stand when he explained why he shaves his head. He does so in memory of a boyhood soccer teammate in Poland who died in an accident several years ago.

But he was all smiles after the verdict, hugging his father, lawyers and agent Paul Healy of Jacksonville.

When asked about the verdict, Janikowski said, ''It couldn't be better.''

Healy nearly wound up in more trouble for a celebratory outburst following the announcement of the verdict. He let out a whoop and began to use his cell phone in the courtroom, angering Circuit Judge George Reynolds III.

Reynolds, however, decided against a fine after Healy apologized.

Janikowski and his father, Henryk, immediately left the courthouse and headed for attorney Steve Dobson's office.

Janikowski leaves early Wednesday for Oakland, Calif., where he will begin four days of workouts with the Raiders before returning Sunday.

''He can move on now with his career,'' Healy said. ''It's a very unfortunate part of his life, but he's now put it behind him. I think he's learned a very valuable lesson throughout this whole matter.''

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