THEY SPEND HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars developing race cars.

Powerful engines. High-performance tires. And restrictor plates, whatever the heck they are.

With all that, you'd think they would invent something that would tell a driver when he or she is low on fuel.

It wouldn't have to be high-tech. Maybe a red idiot-light that flashes "you need gas."

We're joking, of course. But it was no laughing matter for Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who both would have paid anything for a few more drops of fuel.

Patrick ran out while leading Sunday's Indy 500 and finished 10th. Junior's tank went dry on the final lap of NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night. He finished seventh.

Patrick, who led with less than 10 laps to go, was quick to put her misfortune in perspective.

"You've got to take the chance to win at Indy," she told the Associated Press. "I would much rather come away finishing a little lower but having that chance to win at some point and time."

Earnhardt had a similar reaction.

"What can you do?" he said. "We came close. I hate it for our fans."

And you thought running out of the gas on the way home from the shore was bad.

It's all in the translation

Yesterday's edition of Quotidien, the official publication at the French Open, carried a headline that caused English-speaking fans to do a double take.

The story was about Maria Sharapova and the headline read, "Lame Slave."

Now Sharapova, who has won three grand slam titles, is nobody's slave. And she's anything but lame.

Unless you're French.

In French, the words mean "Slavic Soul."

When Sharapova, who was born in Russia, saw the story she said, "Oh, there have been so many headlines throughout my career, and this is just another one."

- Tom Mahon

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