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National Sports Briefs: Big payday, thankfully, for Helio

Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS ó Helio Castroneves already has plans for his record Indianapolis 500 winnings.
The Brazilian driver, acquitted less than two months ago of charges that he plotted to evade some $2.3 million in taxes, won his third Indy 500 on Sunday and received a record prize of $3,048,005 at the victory dinner Monday night.
He joked to the banquet audience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that he won’t be able to keep all of the money, though.
He added, “You guys know what I’m talking about. It’s not mine. But, anyway, it’s definitely going to help to pay my attorneys, no question about it.”
DAYTONA
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ó A racing official says all flood waters have been pumped out of Daytona International Speedway, and the facility will be ready for the Coke Zero 400 race on the Fourth of July.
Several days of rain drenched Daytona Beach and flooded two parts of the speedway. Water filled a tunnel used by haulers to enter the track and the apron of a viewing area near a manmade lake in the infield. None of the water ever was on the track.
Daytona Beach received 21 inches of rain last week, leaving nearly waist-deep water in several areas.
MINTER
CHARLOTTEó Former Carolina Panthers safety Mike Minter has decided against running for Congress in North Carolina.
Minter told The Associated Press on Tuesday that family concerns will keep him from seeking the Republican nomination for the 8th District seat in 2010.
Minter said he would throw his support behind Robin Hayes.
The ex-Nebraska star spent 10 seasons with the Panthers before his retirement in 2007 because of knee trouble. He remains the team’s top all-time tackler.
NBA
DENVER ó A day later, the NBA blew the whistle on Dahntay Jones for tripping Kobe Bryant.
The league assessed Denver’s defensive specialist a flagrant-1 foul for sending the Lakers’ star sprawling through the lane with a trip late in the third quarter that Bennett Salvatore’s officiating crew missed.
Asked if he felt Jones went out of his way to trip Bryant, Jackson replied: “Yes. It’s not the first time it’s happened in this series.”
Bryant kept things light when asked if Jones tried to trip him.
“I just fell on my face for no reason,” he said. “I’m a klutz.”
– BOSTON ó Kevin Garnett is recovering from surgery on his injured right knee. The Boston Celtics star forward had the operation Tuesday after missing all of the playoffs and most of the last two months of the regular season.
– NEW YORK ó The NBA will play a preseason game in Monterrey, Mexico, between the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 18. The game will be the NBA’s 18th in Mexico and second in Monterrey.
CANSECO
YOKOHAMA, Japan ó Jose Canseco came out swinging but didn’t last long in his debut in mixed martial arts.
The former Oakland A’s slugger was defeated by South Korean super heavyweight Hong Man Choi by a knockout just 1 minute, 17 seconds into the first round at Yokohama Arena.
The referee stopped the fight when the 7-foot-2, 330-pound Choi knocked Canseco to the mat and started punching his head.
“That’s a big man,” Canseco said after the fight. “I ran into one of his left jabs and that almost knocked me out. You have no idea how scary it was facing a man that big.”
Canseco did land the first blow with a right to the upper body of Choi but that was all the damage he could inflict on the Korean giant.
Shortly into the fight, Canseco hurt his right knee and was unable to do much after that.

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