Originally created 07/19/00

Overtime: Drag boat races on tap this weekend



The 15th annual Augusta Southern Nationals, a three-day series featuring drag boat racing, will be held this weekend on the Savannah River.

Sanctioned by the American Drag Boat Association, the race attracts more than 100 boats, some of which exceed 200 mph, competing for a purse exceeding $120,000.

Qualifying will be held Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m., with finals scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday.

Advance series tickets are $18 and $25 at the gate. Daily tickets are $15 each for Saturday and Sunday. A patron pass, which includes preferred viewing and a party Friday night, is $50.

Tickets can be purchased at the following outlets: Pump'N Shop, Advance Marine/Trade Winds, American Speed Center, Bryant Food and Georgia Bank.

Proceeds will benefit the Augusta chapter of the Georgia Special Olympics.

ARENA FOOTBALL:

Tickets for the Augusta Stallions' arenafootball2 playoffs go on sale Friday at 9 a.m.

The Stallions, which clinched the league's American Conference last Saturday with a victory over Carolina, will be seeded second in the eight-team playoff. Augusta's first playoff game will be Tuesday, Aug. 1, at 7:30 p.m., playing host to the No. 7 seed.

Ticket prices for all Stallions' playoff games at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center will be ranged from $10 to $30. Fans can purchase tickets at the civic center box office or by calling (706) 724-2400, extension 357, or TicketMaster at 828-7700.

The league's Arena Cup title game is scheduled Thursday, Aug 10, and will be nationally televised by The Nashville Network (TNN).

FOOTBALL:

The Georgia-South Carolina game, scheduled Saturday, Sept. 9, in Columbia will be televised by ESPN2 with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

Georgia last appeared on ESPN2 against Ole Miss last season. The Bulldogs are 6-1 in games televised by ESPN2.

CYCLING:

Lance Armstrong lost nearly two minutes but remained in command of the Tour de France on Tuesday, finishing in eighth place in the final climb of the cycling showcase.

Richard Virenque, France's most popular rider, won his first Tour stage in three years, a 122-mile grind from Courchevel to Morzine.

Armstrong's overall lead was cut from 7 minutes, 26 seconds to 5:37. Five stages are left in the three-week race, which ends Sunday in Paris.

Armstrong was 1:37 slower than Germany's Jan Ullrich, his only real challenger for the title. Ullrich was second Tuesday, 24 seconds behind the winner.

COLLEGE BASEBALL:

Skip Bertman, who has coached LSU to five College World Series titles since 1991, will retire after next season and be replaced by former assistant Raymond "Smoke" Laval.

Laval, who has coached the University of Louisiana-Monroe since 1994, joins LSU as an administrative assistant with recruiting duties for a year.

Laval, 44, and Bertman arrived at LSU in 1983, and helped build a national power. The Tigers won national titles in 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 and last month, making Bertman one of only two coaches with five national titles (Southern California's Rod Dedreaux won 10).

TRACK AND FIELD:

Dan O'Brien, the defending Olympic champion in the decathlon and one of track and field's biggest names over the last decade, said Tuesday he plans to withdraw from the U.S. trials and will miss the Sydney Games.

O'Brien, 34, said he partially tore the plantar fascia, connective tissue on the bottom of his left foot, while practicing the high jump last Wednesday.

O'Brien said he wouldn't formally withdraw until just before the competition begins. "I'm 98, 99 percent out right now," he said.