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Help from NASCAR fuels U.S. bobsled controversy

Perhaps the problem is a simple one. There are no pit crews in bobsled.

Despite the ballyhooed entrance of NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine into the world of bobsled, the United States continued to struggle Saturday.

USA I was in 10th place and USA II in 11th after the first day of the four-man competition.

The hopes of the U.S. team had been higher, especially after Bodine became involved. The sleds, however, have struggled _ 13th and 14th in the two-man _ and the U.S. team has bickered constantly because of it.

Saturday's competition ended with team members blaming the runners on the sled.

"I don't have the cold-weather runners," said Randy Will, who drives USA I. "It's too late for that. If it gets warmer tomorrow, we're lucky. We need it to get about 10 degrees warmer.

"It just really hurts. I think the new runners, the DDGs everyone is coming out with, are the sweet runners to have when it's cold. When it's warm, there's nothing that can touch my runners. I've got them for warm. They've got them for cold. It's a cold day. It's Norway."

Because that had been established long ago, Will was asked why he didn't have the DDG runners. "I don't have $5,000," he said.

USA II flew in DDG runners Friday night to put on the Bo-Dyn sled, but driver Brian Shimer's four-man was only one spot better than his two-man after two runs one week ago.

Odds are, anything less than the United States' first medal since 1956 today won't be good enough to stop the simmering controversy over whether U.S. bobsledding rushed into the Bo-Dyn sled.

"Brian didn't discuss it with us," side pusher Bryan Leturgez said earlier this week. "I feel he should consult with us more. I'd have felt better if he'd sat down with us and said, "This is side A. This is side B. What do you think?

"Brian's a real quiet individual. If you point out one weakness in Brian, it's in his communication. Everyone knows it, he knows it. He doesn't come to us with the little things. He lets it build up, and then he lashes out at us."

Leturgez would have voted against the Bo-Dyn.

"It's so close, but so far," he said. "If it wasn't broken, don't fix it. The team we had wasn't broken, but he (Shimer) tried to fix it. We don't have an option now."

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