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Nemechek fined over illegal parts

Joe Nemechek of Lakeland and his Busch Series crew chief, Brian Pattie, were fined $5,000 apiece for using shock absorbers with stop nuts in Saturday's Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega, Ala., NASCAR said.

The sanctioning body said Nemechek's team violated a rule barring use of parts or equipment not approved by NASCAR. NASCAR said Nemechek's victory in the Busch Series race will stand because the violation was unintentional and didn't give the team a competitive advantage.

MORE AUTOS: The Indy Racing League opens its 1999 season at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 24. For the first time, it will not have to compete for attention on the same weekend as the Super Bowl ... Terry Borcheller of Crystal River and Andy Pilgrim won the weekend's Speedvision Cup event in Las Vegas. The Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live on a low-power TV station in Indianapolis to those attending the race.

NFL: The Bucs signed free-agent long snapper Mitch Palmer. Palmer, one of several tryout players in last weekend's minicamp, signed with Carolina as a college free agent in 1997. The 24-year-old Colorado State graduate will vie for the Bucs' long-snapping duties, held by Jim Pyne and Dave Moore in 1997. Pyne, who snapped on placekicks, went to Detroit as a free agent. The Eagles named former wide receiver Harold Carmichael director of player and community relations. San Diego quarterback Ryan Leaf said he was misquoted and quoted out of context in an ESPN the Magazine article as disavowing his Montana roots. Atlanta linebacker Cornelius Bennett was ordered to surrender to sheriff's deputies to begin serving a 60-day sentence for sexually abusing a former lover in Buffalo.

TENNIS: Jennifer Capriati won her opening match in the German Grand Prix in Hamburg. Capriati beat Florencia Labat 6-2, 6-4. Wimbledon again will pay the men's winner more than the women's winner, with total prize money reaching $12-million, the most ever for a major. Wimbledon officials said the purse represents an increase of 6.5 percent over last year. John Curry, chairman of the All England Club, said the men earn more because more people want to see them play. Andre Agassi beat Todd Woodbridge 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the opening round of the BMW Open in Munich, Germany. Marcelo Rios has recovered from an injury to his left elbow and will return next week in a tournament in Hamburg, Germany. The U.S. Women's Hardcourt Championships, the final tuneup before the U.S. Open, will be shifted to New Haven, Conn., from Atlanta. Radomir Vasek upset third-seeded Karol Kucera 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 at the Czech Open in Prague ... Pete Sampras beat unseeded Alex O'Brien 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in the first round of the AT&T Challenge in Duluth, Ga.

BASKETBALL: Michelle Griffiths scored 21 points as Australia beat the United States 70-53 in a four-nation women's tournament at Nogoya, Japan. The Americans' first loss dropped the United States into a tie with Australia with 3-1 records in the double round-robin. Japan beat winless China 104-100.

COLLEGES: Tickets go on sale today for Florida State's football season opener against Texas A&M in the 16th annual Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands on Aug. 31. For more information, call 1-888-FSU-NOLE. Mississippi's women's golf team earned its first NCAA tournament berth.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Cindy Stein, who led Emporia State to the NCAA Division II finals this season, was hired to coach Missouri's women. Kansas State's Pero Vasiljevic was arrested in Manhattan, Kan., after police investigating an alleged break-in at his apartment discovered a pipe with marijuana inside. He was released on $900 bond while Riley County prosecutors review the case and decide whether to file charges. Kentucky point guard Wayne Turner pleaded guilty to failing to file a report after being involved in a Sept. 16 traffic crash. Texas point guard Anthony Goode confirmed he will transfer to Texas-Arlington. Texas A&M point guard Brian Barone is transferring to Marquette because his father, Mike Deane, was fired after seven seasons as Texas A&M's coach.

OLYMPICS: Diuretics, the drug for which four Chinese swimmers tested positive at the world championships, has been upgraded to the same category as other agents that mask the presence of anabolic steroids on the IOC's list of banned drugs. Pittsburgh was awarded the 2000 men's marathon trials ... Gold medalist Michelle Smith is under investigation over alleged tampering with a drug test, FINA said.

BOXING: Maintaining his innocence, former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier opted not to take part in a state alcohol rehabilitation program and wants his drunken-driving case to go to trial in Atlanta.

SOCCER: The maker of Barbie, Mattel Inc., reached a licensing agreement with the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup and will release a Women's World Cup Barbie doll in January. France will use video cameras in the stands to at World Cup games to catch and convict hooligans, Interior Ministry official Yves Guillot said.

CYCLING: Paolo Savoldelli won the second stage of the Giro Del Trentino race in Tione, Italy, to take the overall lead of the four-stage race. Enrique Domingo won the 11th stage of the Tour of the Philippines, and Warren Davadilla kept the overall lead.

SWIMMING: World record-holder Michael Klim was beaten by Geoff Huegill in the 100-meter butterfly at Australia's Commonwealth Games trials in Melbourne.

OBITS: Richard Howard, 73, died. He perhaps was most widely known for his softball teams that won four national titles. He was also president of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Former Clemson football standout Harry Olszewski, 51, died of a heart attack.

_ BRIAN LANDMAN, ERNEST HOOPER, TIMES WIRES

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