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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
CHARLOTTE ó Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon has clinched at least a wild-card berth in the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
NASCAR determined Wednesday that even if Gordon is knocked out of the top 10 in standings over the next two races, he still would get into the Chase via the wild card.
Gordon has two wins this season, and the only way he could fall out of the top 10 is if Brad Keselowski or Clint Bowyer win the final two races of the “regular season” to drop him out.
Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards all clinched berths on Saturday night. Kevin Harvick clinched at least a wild card.
U.S. OPEN
NEW YORK ó Her 2011 U.S. Open done and tennis future in doubt because of an immune system disease, Venus Williams rode away from Arthur Ashe Stadium in the back seat of a car a little before 5 p.m. Wednesday.
American John Isner advanced to the second round of the U.S. Open with a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (11), 2-6, 6-4 victory over Marcos Baghdatis. No. 4 Andy Murray and No. 12 Gilles Simon advanced, while No. 10 Nicolas Almagro became the highest-seeded man to lose.
Women’s winners included No. 2 Vera Zvonareva, the runner-up at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 2010, and No. 9 Sam Stosur, who reached last year’s French Open final.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
HOUSTON ó The official Texas A&M fight song includes a line that bids farewell to Texas, “so long to the orange and white.” By this time next year, Texas A&M may have said goodbye to a lot more than its storied, century-old rivalry with Texas.
Texas A&M announced Wednesday that it will leave the Big 12 Conference by July 2012 if it can find another home, preferably in the Southeastern Conference.
PANTHERS
CHARLOTTE ó Rookie quarterback Cam Newton will get one more chance tonight against the Pittsburgh Steelers to impress coach Ron Rivera and earn the Carolina Panthers starting job this season.
Although it’s almost a foregone conclusion Newton will get the nod, Rivera has yet to name him the starter for the Sept. 11 regular season opener at Arizona.

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