National Sports Briefs: Skinner, Speed to finish season with Red Bull
CHARLOTTE ó AJ Allmendinger will not finish the season with Red Bull Racing, giving up his seat to Mike Skinner and Scott Speed for the final seven races of the year.
Allmendinger is not returning to the No. 84 Toyota next year, and the team is letting him go early to pursue another job. He finished a career-high ninth in his Red Bull finale Sunday at Kansas Speedway.
Skinner, who drove the car for five races earlier this season, will drive the car the next two weeks at Talladega and Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Speed, who is making the transition from Formula One to NASCAR under Red Bull’s guidance, will make his Sprint Cup Series debut at Lowe’s in a third Red Bull entry. He’ll then finish the year in the No. 84 by driving at Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.
“The schedule we put together is in the best interest of both Red Bull Racing Team and AJ’s plans for the future,” general manager Jay Frye said Tuesday. “Allowing Mike Skinner and Scott Speed to share the No. 84 for the balance of the season helps our team continue developing our program for the future.”
Speed is believed to be in line to drive the No. 84 full time next season.
CHARLOTTE ó The Carolina Panthers have signed tackle Jonathan Palmer to the practice squad to provide more depth as they struggle with injuries on the offensive line.
Fullback Billy Latsko was released from the practice squad Tuesday to make room for the 6-foot-5, 325-pound Palmer, who was cut by the New York Giants and Cleveland in training camp.
The Panthers are expected to be without left tackle Jordan Gross for Sunday’s game against Kansas City due to a concussion. Right tackle Jeff Otah is also recovering from an ankle injury, leaving Carolina short on bodies.
Palmer was undrafted out of Auburn in 2007.
NEW YORK ó Former NFL draft bust Tony Mandarich says he used steroids at Michigan State and faked a drug test before the 1988 Rose Bowl.
– ATHENS, Ga. ó New York Giants backup running back Danny Ware has been arrested and charged with an alcohol offense while walking in the road.
The 23-year-old former Georgia star and a woman were standing in the street talking and traffic had to steer around them.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. ó Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol might sit out some of the Los Angeles Lakers’ preseason games after a hectic offseason.
Bryant helped lead the United States to a victory over Gasol and Spain in the gold medal game in the Summer Olympics. Bryant and Gasol each took only a few weeks off before reporting for the first day of training camp Tuesday.
– MIAMI ó Heat general manager Randy Pfund, who helped Miami win the 2006 NBA championship as the highlight of his 13 years with the franchise, resigned Monday.
RALEIGH ó The Carolina Hurricanes’ first-round draft pick this year has had a pin removed from his left wrist.
The team said Tuesday that center Zach Boychuk had the pin taken out of his surgically repaired wrist and will be held out of contact in practice for two weeks.
The 18-year-old was taken by Carolina with the 14th overall pick in June’s draft.
– Jeff O’Neill has ended his NHL comeback bid with the Carolina Hurricanes.
He notified the team of his decision after Sunday’s exhibition win over Philadelphia. Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford said it’s difficult for a player who sat out for a season to return to the league, but that O’Neill looked fine in training camp.
O’Neill was a key scorer on the Hurricanes team that reached the 2002 Stanley Cup finals.
SAN FRANCISCO ó Standout Santa Clara center John Bryant was recovering Monday from stab wounds to the back stemming from an off-campus incident early Saturday, Santa Clara Police said.
Bryant, who led the West Coast Conference in rebounds and blocked shots last season, was second in scoring, is moving around on his own.
STUTTGART, Germany ó Venus Williams made a successful return to the Porsche Grand Prix after 10 years, advancing to the second round by beating Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-1, 6-2 Tuesday.