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IRL submits competing bid on CART assets

The Indy Racing League submitted a bid Thursday to buy some of the assets of the bankrupt Championship Auto Racing Teams, the rival open-wheel racing series a group of CART team owners plans to buy.

The IRL's competing bid, which further clouds CART's future, was submitted to CART attorneys and creditors about 16 hours before today's morning bid-submission deadline. IRL spokesman Fred Nation would not say what specific assets the IRL is seeking to buy, such as equipment and sponsorships, or for how much money.

CART and its creditors are expected to weigh the IRL's bid against the offer from Open Wheel Racing Series LLC and submit a recommendation to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Otte on which to accept, Nation said. A court hearing is scheduled Wednesday.

CART has agreed to sell all assets to Open Wheel Racing for $1.6-million in cash. Because the proposed sale also calls for Open Wheel to assume some liabilities, including 2003 prize money owed to teams, the total purchase price would be about $3-million.

IRL broke from the established CART series in 1996. Nation said the intent behind IRL's bid "is to unify open-wheel racing."

BOXING

Derby Lane hosts bouts

St. Petersburg's David Santos, who says this is his last year of boxing, is scheduled to headline a Four Corners Promotion card Feb. 15 at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. Santos, the IBF No. 5-rated junior lightweight, and Tampa light heavyweight Olando Rivera will fight in the main events against yet-to-be named opponents. The fights start at 1 p.m. and will be held in the Derby Lane parking, giving the area a rare afternoon, outdoor fight card. St. Petersburg'sGlenn Williams and Glen LaPlante also are on the card.

SOCCER

Greece protects image

Greek sports officials defended a decision to ban fans from attending their team's road games because of fan violence, claiming the country's image is at stake in the months leading to the Summer Olympics. Visiting fans are banned from all first-division games. League organizers and small clubs argue the ban is ineffective and financially disastrous.

SWIMMING

Moses streak hits nine

American Ed Moses won the 100-meter breaststroke in Moscow, completing a sweep of nine events in three World Cup short-course meets. The 23-year-old won in 59.33 seconds, .17 ahead of Russian rival Roman Sludnov.

ET CETERA

CYCLING: Olympic medalist Philippe Gaumont was placed under investigation, one step from being formally charged, in a French police probe of possible drug use by the Cofidis team. Gaumont is suspected of supplying the banned performance-enhancing EPO to another cyclist.

FIGURE SKATING: U.S. ice dancing champs Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto jitterbugged into first at the Four Continents meet in Ontario. The free dance is today.

YACHTING: Defending Farr 40 class champ Crocodile Rock, owned by Californians Scott Harris and Alexandra Geremia, held a one-point lead at the Key West regatta.

_ JOHN C. COTEY, TIMES WIRES

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