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National Sports Briefs: Busch outside of Chase

Associated Press
RICHMOND, Va. ó Kyle Busch lost a stirring duel at Richmond for one of the final spots in Chase for the championship. Now he won’t even get to have his Sprint Cup title hopes dashed by a poor showing when NASCAR’s playoffs get going this weekend.
Instead, the driver who dominated the regular season in 2008 and then had everything go wrong in the Chase is like former champion Matt Kenseth and so many others: building for next year while the top 12 battle for the championship and hope like heck that those outside the Chase don’t do anything to foil their chances.
Though he’s out of contention, Busch will try to add to his victory total ó he shares the series lead with four ó while doing whatever he can to help teammate Denny Hamlin in his Chase bid.
“We’ll be looking to win some races in the rest of the season and hopefully go out with a bang,” he said.
– DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ó The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule has only three minor changes that involve race dates at Phoenix, Texas and Dover, Del.
Phoenix and Texas have swapped their April race dates. The change means NASCAR will be off April 11 and avoid going head-to-head with the final round of the Master’s golf tournament.
The Phoenix event will be held on Saturday, April 10. Texas goes a week later on Sunday, April 18.
Dover, meanwhile, jumps up three weeks in the schedule to May 16 because there are five weekends that month. Without a race moving up, the Coca-Cola 600 would not have fallen on its traditional Memorial Day weekend slot.
The cash-strapped Milwaukee Mile is listed on both the Nationwide and Truck Series schedules, which also show little change.
– CHARLOTTE ó Michael Waltrip Racing has hired Pat Tryson as the crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. next season.
Tryson will leave Kurt Busch’s team at the end of this season. He has been with Busch at Penske Racing since 2007 and guided him to four wins and two berths in the Chase for the championship. Busch will start the Chase this weekend seventh in the standings.
– MOORESVILLE ó Kelly Bires has signed a two-year deal to drive in the Nationwide Series for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports program.
Bires replaces Brad Keselowski, who will join Penske Racing’s Sprint Cup program in 2010.
BASEBALL
NEW YORK ó Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and Toronto pitcher Jesse Carlson each were suspended for three games and fined Wednesday by Major League Baseball for their roles in a bench-clearing brawl.
The pair were cited for “aggressive and inappropriate actions” by Bob Watson, MLB’s vice president for discipline, and started serving the penalties immediately, a day after they tangled.
After a pair of Toronto players were hit by pitches Tuesday night, Carlson threw a fastball behind Posada in the eighth inning of the Blue Jays’ 10-4 win. Moments later, Posada bumped Carlson after scoring a run, and the dugouts and bullpens emptied.
– Yankee Stadium security officials want to determine which fan threw a bottle that struck umpire Derryl Cousins on the knee during a brawl.
COLLEGE HOOPS
JERSEY CITY, N.J. ó St. Peter’s and Monmouth will play a 6 a.m. game as part of ESPN’s “College Basketball Tip-off Marathon” coverage.
The Nov. 17 matchup will be played at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City. It will be among 19 games shown over a 24-hour period on ESPN and its related networks.
This is the second year ESPN will produce the marathon, but the first time that a game will be played in the 6 a.m. EST time slot.
– PITTSBURGH ó Pitt senior guard Jermaine Dixon has undergone bone graft surgery on his broken right foot and is expected to be out about two months.
NBA
SAN ANTONIO ó Spurs forward Richard Jefferson could miss the start of training camp after dislocating his right thumb.
Jefferson was injured Tuesday while working out at the Spurs’ practice facility. X-rays were negative, and the 29-year-old swingman is expected to be re-examined next week.
The Spurs called the injury minor. Training camp begins Sept. 29.
NFL
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. ó The NFL assessed $125,000 in fines to the New York Jets and former coach Eric Mangini on Wednesday for violating the league’s rules on injury reporting with former quarterback Brett Favre last season.
The Jets failed to place Favre, now with the Minnesota Vikings, on the injury report during the final month of last season even though he had a torn biceps tendon.
BRAND DIES
INDIANAPOLIS ó Myles Brand, the former Indiana University president who fired basketball coach Bob Knight and later went on to lead the NCAA, died Wednesday afternoon from pancreatic cancer. He was 67.
As the first university president to ever run college sports’ largest governing body, Brand worked to change the perception that wins supersede academics in college sports.
Brand broke the news that he had cancer in January at the NCAA convention and continued to run the organization’s day-to-day operations. The NCAA announced his death. Officials were not ready to announce who would replace Brand or when they may begin searching for a successor.
Brand gained national attention in May 2000 when he put Knight on a zero-tolerance policy after a former player alleged the hugely successful but hot-headed coach had choked him during a practice years earlier.

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