National Sports Briefs
AVONDALE, Ariz. ó Kyle Busch, contrite and remorseful, promised Friday to change his behavior and conduct himself in a way that will restore the respect he lost with his road rage incident at Texas.
It’s a long way back for Busch, and he’ll be on a very short leash.
Busch has been warned by M&M’s that the primary sponsor will not tolerate any more incidents by him, and team owner Joe Gibbs said the driver is still facing further punishment for wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. under caution in last week’s Truck Series race. NASCAR suspended Busch from all on-track activity at Texas, fined him $50,000 and placed the driver on probation through the end of the year.
Firing him was not an option, Gibbs said.
Phoenix International Raceway had become like a comfortable old chair for NASCAR drivers over the past 20 years: cracked and creaky, yet familiar and fitting.
This weekend, it’ll feel more like something fresh out of the box.
Repaved and reconfigured, the mile oval at PIR will look and feel vastly different for NASCAR’s second race at the track this season than it did just nine months earlier.
And with this being the penultimate race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, it’s going to add a whole lot of extra intrigue, not to mention some guesswork by the teams and drivers.
WASHINGTON ó It will be Michelle Obama and Jill Biden instructing NASCAR’s best to start their engines as the racing season comes to a close in Florida.
The first lady and the vice president’s wife will visit Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20 as it hosts the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, the Ford 400.
SAINT-DENIS, France ó The United States remains at a loss for offense under Jurgen Klinsmann.
Loic Remy outmuscled defender Clarence Goodson to score in the 72nd minute, giving France a 1-0 exhibition victory Friday night that dropped the Americans to 1-4-1 since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley as coach in late July.
NORMAN, Okla. ó Oklahoma had about one quarter of its recruiting days this season taken away by the NCAA on Friday as punishment for committing major violations while the men’s basketball program already was on probation.
PHILADELPHIA ó Jonathan Papelbon can do his Irish Jig on Broad Street.
A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the Philadelphia Phillies and Papelbon have agreed to a $50 million, four-year contract that’s the largest ever for a reliever.
SYDNEY ó Tiger Woods walked off golf course to see his name atop the leaderboard Friday in the Australian Open. Even more pleasing to him was the way he got there.
With control of his shots and comfortable over the putter, Woods put together his best back-to-back rounds of the year with a 5-under 67 that gave him a one-shot lead going into the week at The Lakes.
It’s the first time he has led a tournament since the third round of the Chevron World Challenge last year, and the first time against a full field since his last win two years ago in the Australian Masters. Woods was tied for the first-round lead at The Barclays last year.
“I really played well,” Woods said. “Even though I shot 5 under, it felt it could have been 8 or 9 deep.”
He was at 9-under 135, one shot clear of a familiar name in these parts ó and to Woods.
GUADALAJARA, Mexico ó Hall of Famer Juli Inkster shot a 3-under 69 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead with Anna Nordqvist in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
The 51-year-old Inkster is trying to become the oldest winner in LPGA Tour history. Beth Daniel was 46 when she won the 2003 Canadian Women’s Open.
NEW YORK ó Dan Girardi and Brandon Dubinsky scored 9 seconds apart midway through the third period and the New York Rangers went on to rout the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 Friday night for their sixth straight win.
The Hurricanes (5-8-3) lost their fourth straight and for the fifth time in six games. Alexei Ponikarovsky scored Carolina’s lone goal.
Capitals 3, Devils 1
NEWARK, N.J. ó Jason Chimera scored a short-handed goal 2:27 into the third period and Marcus Johansson added an insurance tally eight minutes later, leading Washington over New Jersey.
Penguins 3, Stars 1
PITTSBURGHó James Neal scored two power-play goals against the team that traded him nine months ago and led Pittsburgh.
Sabres 5, Senators 1
BUFFALO, N.Y. ó Jhonas Enroth made 36 saves, and Derek Roy had a goal and two assists for Buffalo in a win over Ottawa.
Red Wings 3, Oilers 0
DETROIT ó Jimmy Howard made 24 saves, and Drew Miller, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula scored in Detroit’s victory against Edmonton.