National Sports Briefs: Obama salutes NASCAR’s Johnson

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 20, 2009

Associated Press
WASHINGTON ó Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson had the gas to get to the White House on Wednesday, where President Barack Obama honored the 2008 winner as well as auto racing.
“NASCAR is a uniquely American sport,” Obama said beneath the South Portico, flanked by nine of the 12 drivers who competed last year for NASCAR’s top prize. Three drivers had scheduling conflicts and could not attend.
Joining Johnson at the White House were other Sprint Cup drivers and past champions. Special guests included wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and campers from the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, which NASCAR supports.
MIAMI ó Venus and Serena Williams will become the latest celebrities to own a stake in the Miami Dolphins, a person familiar with the deal said.
Musicians Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Marc Anthony recently bought small shares of the team. New Dolphins owner Stephen Ross also forged a partnership with singer Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville enterprise.
– BEREA, Ohio ó Brett Favre’s old boss isn’t surprised the iconic quarterback is back in the NFL.
Eric Mangini, who coached Favre last season with the New York Jets before being fired and taking the same job in Cleveland, said Wednesday that he wasn’t too surprised that No. 4 signed with the Minnesota Vikings after twice retiring.
“He’s a fun guy to coach, a fun guy to have as a teammate and I feel like I’m a better coach from the experience of being with him.”
Mangini also noted the irony that his first game as Browns coach will be in Cleveland against Favre and the Vikings on Sept. 13.
“It makes for good TV,” Mangini said.
– RENO, Nev. ó A former Harrah’s employee has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of raping another worker and alleges that managers of the Lake Tahoe hotel-casino covered up the assault.
– NEW YORK ó The NFL and NBC are extending their contract for “Sunday Night Football” by two years.
SYDNEY ó John Daly plans to return to the Australian Open a year after being fined for smashing a fan’s camera into a tree during the tournament.
Golf Australia announced that the two-time major winner will join the field for the tournament at Sydney’s New South Wales Golf Club from Dec. 3-6.
DETROIT ó The Detroit Red Wings signed Todd Bertuzzi to a one-year, $1.5 million contract in the hopes that the veteran forward can help make up for some of the Red Wings’ significant losses.
After falling one win short of repeating as Stanley Cup champions in June, the Red Wings watched as forwards Marian Hossa, Jiri Hudler, Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Kopecky signed with other teams.
GLASGOW, Scotland ó Lance Armstrong brought traffic to a standstill after issuing a Twitter invitation for Scottish cyclists to join him on a casual bike ride.
“Hey Glasgow, Scotland! I’m coming your way,” Armstrong wrote. “Who wants to go for a bike ride?”
More than 200 rode in pouring rain when the seven-time Tour de France winner turned up in the Paisley district of Glasgow. Joining Armstrong on his ride was former world champion Graeme Obree.
Armstrong told reporters he would compete in next year’s Tour de France. After coming out of a three-year retirement, Armstrong finished third in this year’s Tour.
RALEIGH ó An assault charge against former NBA star Jayson Williams stemming from a fight outside a North Carolina nightclub has been dismissed.
– NEW YORK ó New York Knicks player Nate Robinson was arrested Tuesday for driving without a license.
– ORLANDO, Fla. ó The Orlando Magic have announced signing free agent guard Jason Williams.
Williams has played in 679 career NBA regular season games with Sacramento, Memphis and Miami. He has also played in 53 career playoff games