The Texas Motorplex and the NHRA announced that Castrol
Motor Oil and HiLO/O'Reilly Auto Part Stores would take over
title rights sponsorship of the Spring Winston Drag Racing
Series event. The 2nd Annual NHRA Castrol Lone Star
Nationals presented by HiLO/O'Reilly Auto Parts will take
place April 30-May 3 (Texas Motorplex). Last year's
inaugural race drew 101,117 fans. Motorplex Owner Billy
Meyer declined to discuss the dollar value of the new
sponsorship package (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/10). The
deal marks the first time since '89 that Castrol has been a
major sponsor of an NHRA race (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/10).
The Charlotte City Council voted 10-1 on Monday to
extend the Hornets' lease at the Coliseum for "at least
another year" through 2004, according to Dan Chapman of the
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The deal gives the team the right to
sell the Coliseum's name and has them taking "greater
control" of the building's marketing. The City Council
will still have the "final say" on any name change to the
building. The new deal also "calls for a decision" by 2000
whether taxpayer dollars "would be used to help build a new
arena," and establishes a 15-member citizens' committee to
lead the process on a new arena (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/14).
Plans for a $113M sports complex in El Paso, TX, "are
in the works" as the city "attempts to lure the Cowboys'
training camp" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/10)....MLS
Commissioner Doug Logan, on the MetroStars playing at Giants
Stadium: "For the next two years we will be in Giants
Stadium and make the best of our existence. We need to find
a long-term solution that includes a grass playing field.
Are we actively involved in a search for that place? The
answer is yes" (Bergen RECORD, 4/10)....The city of Denver
"plans to hire" PA-based Spectacor Management Group to
manage Mile High Stadium. City officials did not disclose
the full terms of the contract, which will include a base
fee and a percentage of revenues (DENVER POST, 4/14).
A 500-pound "chunk of steel" fell from the upper deck
of Yankee Stadium into the empty stands yesterday just hours
before a scheduled Angels-Yankees game, postponing the game
and "raising questions about the future of the 75-year-old
park," according to Sherman, Robbins, et al. of the N.Y.
POST. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that the
ballpark will be closed until Friday for inspections and
repairs. Officials "hope to reopen" the stadium for
Friday's series opener against the Tigers (N.Y. POST, 4/14).
WHAT NOW? The Yankees will play the Angels tomorrow at
1:00pm ET at Shea Stadium, with the Mets scheduled to host
the Cubs at 7:40pm ET. If Yankee Stadium is found "unsafe"
after a closer examination, Giuliani said the Yankees'
three-game series with the Tigers would also be played at
Shea, while the Mets are on the road (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
4/14). Late last night, Yankees General Counsel Lonn Trost
said "there was a chance" that Wednesday's game could be
played at Yankee Stadium (NEWSDAY, 4/14). Yankees Owner
George Steinbrenner, reached by phone in Tampa, FL, last
night, said, "We'll overcome this one, but we've got to be
sure it doesn't happen again. If that means a new stadium,
we'll have to see." In N.Y., Murray Chass writes that the
incident could "prompt the Mayor to renew his offer of a
Manhattan address for the Yankees." More Chass: "If
Steinbrenner has been reluctant to bid adieu to the Bronx,
even though he has bad-mouthed it more times than any other
individual, now he has a reasonable excuse to ask out" (N.Y.
TIMES, 4/14). Giuliani said that the incident gives
Steinbrenner "a more dramatic argument that the Yankees need
a new stadium" ("CBS This Morning," 4/14). In N.Y., John
Harper: "This was a bargaining chip from heaven, a potential
tragedy to be pocketed and exploited" (DAILY NEWS, 4/14).