Weller benefit
SHARON, Pa. -- Area race fans came through once again Sunday, helping to raise more than $5,000 for area racer Jimmy Weller III, 19, who was seriously injured in a racing accident in October. The benefit was held at the Quaker Steak and Lube complex in Sharon, Pa.
Weller's appearance at the event elicited a huge roar from the standing-room-only crowd that included area fans, racers and Weller family members.
Anyone who was unable to attend Sunday's event but would like to make a donation to help the family can send a check or money order to Jimmy Weller Medical Fund, 711 Ridgeview Road, Cooperstown, Pa., 16317. Checks should be made payable to Jimmy Weller III.
Browns fire Davis' 'right-hand man'
CLEVELAND -- Butch Davis is gone, and now so is his right-hand man.
The Browns have fired Pete Garcia, the team's vice president of player personnel and football development. Newly hired General Manager Phil Savage plans to replace him by filling a position equivalent to player personnel director.
Garcia said the parting was mutual, but acknowledged he wanted to stay in Cleveland. He said he never got the chance to speak to Savage about a possible role in the rebuilding organization.
Garcia worked with Davis for six years at the University of Miami, then followed him to Cleveland in 2001.
When Davis resigned as the team's coach in late November, few expected Garcia to remain without him. Garcia said he hopes to find another NFL job, and said his parting with owner Randy Lerner and president John Collins was amicable.
IPFW fires coach
FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Doug Noll was fired as men's basketball coach at Indiana-Purdue of Fort Wayne on Thursday.
Noll had a 40-119 record in five-plus years, including 3-13 this season with a current eight-game losing streak. Joe Pechota, the Mastodons' associate coach, was appointed interim coach for the rest of the season.
Noll's final game was a 100-59 loss to Wyoming on Monday.
IPFW plays host to Youngstown State on Saturday.
Chang joinsUSTA committee
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Michael Chang, who won the 1989 French Open at 17, was appointed Thursday to a two-year term on the U.S. Tennis Association's High Performance Committee.
Chang retired as a player after the 2003 U.S. Open with 34 singles titles.
Bucks' Ford out
MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Bucks guard T.J. Ford was ruled out for the rest of the season Thursday because he's recovering from spinal surgery.
Ford's spinal cord bruise continues to improve but has not healed enough for him to start any type of basketball activity, the team said after consulting with doctors. He has missed the entire season for the Bucks.
Wrestling hall of fame
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Two-time NCAA champion and Olympic bronze medalist Chris Campbell and three others will be inducted to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in June, the hall announced.
Campbell, who won NCAA titles while wrestling for Iowa in 1976 and 1977, will join Olympic silver medalist Zeke Jones and coaches J Robinson and Bob Bubb during the hall's induction ceremony June 4.
Owners OKsale of Brewers
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Major league owners unanimously approved the $223 million sale of the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday from the family of commissioner Bud Selig to Mark Attanasio.
Attanasio, a Los Angeles investor, is committed to keeping the team in Milwaukee, thanks to a 30-year lease to play in Miller Park.
NASCAR changes qualifying procedures
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR revamped its qualifying procedures on Thursday, guaranteeing a spot in a Nextel Cup race to the top 35 drivers in the points standings.
The next seven positions in the starting field will be awarded to drivers with the fastest qualifying speeds who are not among the top 35 in points. The 43rd and final starting position will still be reserved for a current or past Nextel Cup champion.
The system eliminates the old procedure of teams accruing provisionals throughout the season to gain entry into the starting fields. If a driver didn't qualify in the top 35 on speed, he had to use one of his provisionals to get in.
When the provisionals ran out, the driver was sent home for the weekend no matter where he stood in the points standings.
The new qualifying system will not begin until the sixth race of the season. Through the first five races, the top 35 in the standings of the 2004 points system will be assured a starting spot.
Vindicator staff/wire reports

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