Originally created 01/12/00

Overtime: Winston Cup points fund up to $10 million



Dale Jarrett counted all the zeros, then counted them again.

The newly crowned NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion couldn't believe his eyes. Series sponsor R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. announced Tuesday it would double its seasons points fund to $10 million this year.

The news caught Jarrett, who won nearly $6 million as last season's champion, by surprise.

"Those are some incredible numbers," the driver said as he studied a screen with "$10,000,000" positioned as a backdrop during the announcement. "It takes all of this to make it work, believe me. When I started racing 20 years ago, I never thought about numbers like this."

The 2000 season marks Winston's 30th year with the stock car series. In 1971, Winston put up $100,000 as a bonus to the top 25 drivers in the points race.

By 1986, the point fund was up to $2 million. It grew to $3 million in 1993, to $4 million in 1996 and to $5 million in 1998.

Jarrett's share of the $5 million points fund a year ago was $2 million. This season's champion likely will make at least $3 million.

Also, the second-place driver will earn at least $1.05 million.

BOXING:

Augusta's Jacob Hudson will have a tough opponent today in the first round of the U.S. Boxing Championships at Colorado Springs, Colo.

Hudson drew Darling Jimenez of Yonkers, N.Y., for his first-round bout at 2 p.m. Jimenez upset 125-pound No. 1 seed Teaunce Shepherd in the first round last year. Jimenez moved up in weight class for this year's competition.

Hudson, the former No. 1-ranked 132-pounder and two-time defending U.S. Championships winner, needs to win three bouts to reach Saturday's final and make the Feb. 9-13 Olympic Trials in Tampa, Fla.

The U.S. Championships are the next-to-last qualifying tournament for the Sydney Olympic Games, followed by the Eastern Trials at Scranton, Pa., and Western Trials at Boise, Idaho, in late January.

Mike Tyson's latest comeback fight could be over before he boards a plane to England.

The former heavyweight champion was told Tuesday he might be refused entry to Britain for his Jan. 29 fight against Julius Francis because of his 1992 rape conviction.

British immigration rules state anyone convicted of a crime that carries a jail term of at least a year is not allowed in the country.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL:

Aiken Tech moved up to fourth in the most recent National Junior College Athletic Association men's Division II basketball poll. Aiken Tech (17-0), is ranked fourth nationally in team defense. Aiken Tech's next game is Saturday against Brunswick Community College at home, with a 3 p.m. tip.

Approximately 800 student tickets have been returned for South Carolina's games against No. 7 Syracuse on Thursday and No. 20 Kentucky on Saturday. Those tickets can be purchased at the university's ticket office on Rosewood Drive or by calling (800) 472-3267.

PRO BASKETBALL:

Atlanta Hawks president Stan Kasten was willing to give his new young roster some slack early in the season. That patience appears to be gone.

Kasten said he is looking at unspecified possible changes in the organization if the Hawks, 12-21, don't turn things around soon.

The Hawks are off to their worst start since 1976-77, losing eight of their last 10 games. They are second from the bottom in the Central Division after undergoing massive roster changes in the off-season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:

Kevin Rivers, South Carolina's offensive guard who made the all-Southeastern Conference team two seasons ago as a freshman, won't play for the Gamecocks next season because of academic problems.

Athletic spokesman Kerry Tharp said Rivers, who had started the final three games two months ago after a sophomore season filled with injuries, would not be in school for spring semester.

Clemson junior punter Ryan Romano says he won't return for his senior season, but will concentrate instead on his medical studies.

Romano had 65 punts this past season for an average of 39.9 yards. His longest punt was a 60-yarder in Clemson's 17-14 loss to Florida State on Oct. 23.

TENNIS:

Venus Williams became the second leading American in two days to withdraw from next week's Australian Open when she notified organizers she was pulling out with tendinitis in her left wrist.

Monica Seles, a four-time champion, withdrew Tuesday saying she was still not ready to play after a foot injury suffered last October.

Williams was replaced as the No. 3 seed in the women's draw by her younger sister, Serena, winner at last year's U.S. Open.