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Bucs turn focus to Carolina

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 23, 2002

TAMPA -- The Bucs begin preparation for the Panthers today and not a minute too soon. The prevailing sentiment among the players was that focusing on Carolina will help them discard the disappointment of Sunday's loss to the Eagles. "It's real tough (losing again to the Eagles)," linebacker Shelton Quarles said. "We're going to have to find a will and a way to get it going. We did that against the Saints, and we'll have to do the same thing and hopefully run off five or six more."

Defensive end Simeon Rice, who had a sack and a forced fumble against Philadelphia that resulted in Derrick Brooks' touchdown, said the team isn't going to crumble from the loss.

"We're going to rise above it," he said. "Sometimes it gets better when it's dark. We took an L but we played better (than the last time we were here). This was a bump in the road. We didn't fall into a pit."

POINTING NO FINGERS: Although the Bucs offense was unable to come up with a touchdown, there likely won't be any ill will from the defense.

"It's not difficult at all (to ignore the problems of the offense), because we don't concentrate on what the offense does but on what we do," Quarles said. "We came up short and couldn't get the ball back to the offense at the end. Regardless of what they did during the game, it's on us. We weren't able to get the job done."

STOP THE PRESS: If it were left up to him, Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin would not have let anyone know he received a contract extension until 2004.

"I wished that hadn't come out," Kiffin said. "Now they're going to say, 'We should not have given him a new contract.' I promise you I wasn't thinking about my contract. I really couldn't care less about that. I feel bad for our football team right now. A game like this puts a bad taste in your mouth."

0987$temp$ $STPT$

ID:+ Paper:+

Date: 10/23/02 Page: 6C+

Section: SPORTS Byline: Times wires+

Headline: CART may become training circuit for Formula One

Notes:+

The troubled CART series is reported to be in talks to form an affiliation with Formula One, but the possible deal wouldn't affect the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, a racing official said

The Toronto Sun reported that Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is interested in buying 51 percent of stock in CART and turning the open-wheel series into a training ground for F1. CART would continue to be predominantly a North American racing series.

CART has been struggling in recent years, losing manufacturers, teams and sponsors to the rival IRL. CART's title sponsor, Federal Express, recently decided to cancel its annual $5-million deal with CART, SportsBusiness Journal reported.

Tom Begley, onsite manager for the Feb. 21-23 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, said such an F1-CART deal would not hamper the race along the city's streets.

"We will be here," Begley said. "I have great confidence in Chris Pook, and I have not heard one person at (promoter) Dover Motorsports utter a doubting word."

Ecclestone and Pook, CART's president and CEO, acknowledge they met recently, but neither would say what was discussed. Neither could be reached Tuesday.

An agreement to bring the series under the control of F1 might give the European-based series a much-needed marketing boost in North America.

F1 has raced on five continents, including North America, in recent years. But there was no race in the United States for nearly a decade until F1 began staging the U.S. Grand Prix in 2000 in Indianapolis.

Bylaws of the publicly traded company prevent any shareholder from owning more than 10 percent, although the directors could vote to change that.

MORE FORMULA ONE: The automakers that sponsor the top four teams said they will present a plan in the next few weeks to restructure the sport after television ratings slid this season.

Fiat SpA, DaimlerChrysler AG, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Renault SA and Ford Motor Co. will send their plan to shareholders of SLEC Holding Ltd., which owns F1's marketing rights. The carmakers are trying to "achieve the stabilization of Formula One in the near future," they said in a statement.

The companies also said they are continuing with a plan to start an alternative racing series beginning in 2008, the statement said.

The Ferrari team, whose dominance has been blamed for the decline in fan interest, gained another honor when Italy's Order of Merit was bestowed upon it.

German driver Michael Schumacher, who clinched a record-tying fifth individual series title for the team this year, was joined for the ceremony by Ferrari officials.

Meanwhile, British lawmakers passed legislation that will prevent tobacco sponsorship of British sporting events by 2003 and global sports staged in Britain, including Formula One racing, by 2006.

-- Staff writer Joanne Korth contributed to this report, which includes information from the Associated Press and Bloomberg.


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