Stock cars on the Winston Cup circuit already are plastered with stickers and decals advertising everything from cereal to furniture. Howard Hobbs wants to add another sticker.
Howard, 42, of Garner, N.C., has Parkinson's disease and is trying to find ways to publicize a toll-free number by which contributions can be made to Cure for Parkinson's Disease, a foundation that sponsors research on the degenerative brain disorder.
"We're hoping that by getting this exposure, we might have some more success," Hobbs said. "We've talked to a lot of teams. The seed has been sown."
Drivers and teams are known for helping disabled children, hospitals, religious organizations and foundations. For instance, Jeff Gordon put a sticker on the dashboard of his car for on-board cameras to advertise a toll-free number for donating bone marrow.
Hobbs is traveling garage to garage seeking sponsors. Last month, he drove to Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama to talk with drivers.
Hobbs and Ben McSwiney, a retired corporate executive from Raleigh, N.C., who also has Parkinson's, has been working with Hobbs on the project. So far, the men have persuaded Geoffrey Bodine to put the 1-877-CURE-4-PD number, albeit in a tiny sticker, on his No. 60 Chevrolet.
Ronaldo Is Out
Ronaldo will end his season the way he started it: sidelined.
The Internazionale of Milan striker aggravated a left thigh injury and will miss today's game against Bologna, the second leg of a playoff for a UEFA Cup spot. The Brazilian hurt himself during Thursday's first leg, which Internazionale of Milan lost, 2-1.
Ronaldo, a two-time FIFA world player of the year, has been in and out of the lineup all season, mostly because of knee problems. He also missed Inter's first game of the season because of a suspension. . . .
Wendy Gebauer became the first woman to play in a regular men's outdoor pro soccer league game in the United States in the Raleigh Capital Express's 3-0 loss to Boston Friday night.
Gebauer, a former U.S. national team forward, played the first 17 minutes of the second-division A-League match. Gebauer, who played for the Raleigh Wings women's team in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Brazilian World Cup team, had limited touches but nearly assisted on an early scoring chance, finding Darren Warham. Warham's shot went just wide.
"It was a lot of fun being out there," said Gebauer, who admitted the appearance was little more than a publicity stunt. "It felt good when I got my first touch on the ball. I had realistic expectations and I knew I couldn't play as sophisticated as they do." . . .
Bordeaux edged Olympique Marseille for the French championship by one point on a dramatic final day of the season. Needing a victory after Marseille defeated French Cup winner Nantes, 1-0, Bordeaux got a goal from substitute Pascal Feindouno in the final minute to defeat Paris St. Germain, 3-2. It is Bordeaux's first title since 1987.
Tour of Italy
Marco Pantani's climbing skills put him back in the Tour of Italy's pink jersey yesterday after the 14th stage.
Pantani, the defending champion, placed second behind Paolo Savoldelli in the 116-mile mountainous leg into northwestern Italy.
France's Laurent Jalabert, who led Pantani by four seconds in the overall standings heading into the 14th stage, finished with the main group more than three minutes behind Savoldelli.
Jalabert's slow finish allowed Pantani to take the overall lead. He leads countryman Savoldelli by 53 seconds with eight stages remaining.
Track and Field
Maurice Greene gets that tingling feeling when he's working in front of large crowds, and he expects that emotional rush to return today at the Prefontaine Classic.
The fans at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field are among track and field's most knowledgeable and enthusiastic and they went wild for Greene last year, when he won the 100 and 200 meters with spectacular times--9.79 seconds in the 100 and 19.88 in the 200.
Greene will attempt a sprint double repeat, but this time he won't have to face Olympic gold medalist and world record-holder Michael Johnson, who is running the 400.
Greene and Johnson, along with women's sprint sensation Marion Jones (competing in the 200) and the distance runners--always big favorites at Hayward Field--are the main draws in the IAAF Grand Prix meet, which has attracted sellouts of 13,100 the last four years.
Greene will return to the scene of another 1998 triumph next week when he competes at the TFA Pro Championships in Uniondale, N.Y. He won the 100 last year at the Goodwill Games and will run the 200 against Johnson.
Behrens Wins in Burst
Behrens made a powerful move coming off the final turn to beat Running Stag by a half length to win the $600,000 Grade II Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs. Real Quiet, winner of the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, finished third.
CAPTION: Italy's Paolo Savoldelli clinches 116-mile, mountainous 14th leg of Tour of Italy. Countryman Marco Pantani finished second and took overall lead.